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Baker's Dozen

Kernow Calling: Mark Jenkin’s Favourite Albums
Sean McGeady , January 18th, 2023 09:12

Cornish bard Mark Jenkin talks Sean McGeady through the soundtracks to his teenage summers, long drives to the hospital, and lonely afternoons hand-processing celluloid, from Junior Wells to Joni Mitchell


The Beatles – The Beatles

My mum and dad lived in Colombia in the late 1960s for a few years, and my sister was born over there. They came back with Beatles records that they’d bought over there, which were slightly different versions. For me the Beatles was Let it Be and Magical Mystery Tour. I thought they were the two classic Beatles records, both of which are completely maligned. I had a specific idea of what the Beatles were. Then this kid I worked with at the café came in with these two CDs and said, “You should buy these”. I listened to this and I was like, “This isn’t the Beatles. This is fuckin’ mental.”

I had the cassette soundtrack to the Lennon documentary Imagine – which was made in the late 1980s – that my mum bought me for Christmas one year. She bought me that and Kick by INXS, the tapes of which I’ve still got. On that Imagine soundtrack it had ‘Julia’, so I knew ‘Julia’ off the White Album. And then I knew the famous stuff – ‘Revolution 1’ was also on that album. But all the rest of it I didn’t know. I listened to this and again, couldn’t find a way into it. It sounded like a collection of outtakes and B-sides. Where’s all the pop stuff? This represents all my love of the Beatles, but this is the one where it’s kind of crazy, post-Sgt. Pepper, where they’d sort of done everything. I think once you’ve done everything, then you can do anything, and this is the album where they did anything they wanted.

This just reminds me of that summer, when I was probably 15, the summer of my fourth year at school. It was the first time we used to drink and stay out. We’d end up camping in somebody’s field in a tent up on the north coast somewhere, because we’d have gone to the pub and, like teenage clichés, drunk two litres of cider and been sick. That was the soundtrack. Foxbase Alpha and the Beatles’ White Album.