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Baker's Dozen

Shields Against The World: Mat Osman's Baker's Dozen
Luke Turner , May 10th, 2023 08:40

From growing up on The Carpenters to reconnecting with music in his "wilderness years" Suede bassist turned novelist Mat Osman takes Luke Turner through his Baker's Dozen of favourite recordings


Prefab Sprout – ‘The Best Jewel Thief In The World’

I heard this when I was writing The Ghost Theatre and there’s this line in it, “the rooftops are for dreamers” that really chimed with the book. They’re intrinsically linked to me, this idea of running loose on the rooftops of London. It's such a fantasy of mine, the city laid out before you and all those kinds of things. It’s just a really joyful song and I think that’s incredibly hard to do. Writing sad music is easier or maybe it just comes more naturally to me. It’s a song about audacity, about taking pleasure in your powers. It does exactly the same thing that ‘Nothing But A Heartache’ does for me, it's like armour. It's about getting away with it and it's very hard for me not to think of my entire career as getting away with it. When my grandfather was still alive I would go and see him down in Brighton. He’d always ask me, ‘so everything's still going well with the music? And they're still paying you for it?’ I could see to his mind that somehow I was scamming this, somehow I'd managed to fool people into paying me, which he would have respected entirely – he loved a good scam. But with this song, the joy of stealing a living, which is what a jewel thief does, appeals to me entirely.