I go to the gym quite a lot these days. Not quite obsessive a lot but certainly more than I used to. Besides being the only truly effective hangover cure exercise gives me a chance to switch off and wallow in my own dark thoughts. The gym is not the planet around which my entire social life orbits and so every minute there is my own – I have no need to flex my muscles and pose and preen and that’s because my muscles aren’t big enough. I am almost certain that no-one cares who I am and I definitely have very little interest in them either. And so, in the gym, I can get lost in music. I can be in a band. And on some days I get very concerned about what music will get played at my funeral, because at least one of the things I’d like to be remembered for is having good taste in music. No, a great taste in music. I don’t like to blow my own trumpet too often but consider that one blown.
When I mention funeral music to ‘the wife’ she nods enthusiastically and says ‘oh yes, that Beach Boys one, what was it called again?’, and so this is what this post is for. I don’t think we’ll discover the secret to immortality anytime soon; I certainly hope not because I can’t think of anything worse than living forever. Well, maybe being spooned by Ed Sheeran and his magic guitar. So I’m saving everyone the bother of picking music they think I’d like when I go up in smoke and writing a list now, just in case. Incidentally I’m in no rush to croak, I have a very nice little life – it’s not everyone that can say they share a house with two of the greatest female creatures in the history of the universe.
In alphabetical order by artist, as selected from my (apparently) ‘retro’ mp3 player. It is not definitive; I shall leave my nearest and dearest to sort that out.
AC/DC – Shot Down In Flames. I don’t this will get selected but it’s worth putting it out there.
Beth Gibbons and Rustin Man – Mysteries. Lovely stuff, though the first line is “God knows how I adore life” which might be sending the wrong message.
Bob Dylan – Not Dark Yet or I Threw It All Away. The first is a bit obvious, a bit ponderous (though no less great for it) and will be a bit late for a funeral. The second doesn’t really work, it’s just a very beautiful song.
Brian Eno – An Ending (Ascent). Mmmmm, very nice, though it might lend the illusion that I consider myself some kind of celestial body. Which I don’t.
Crosby, Stills and Nash – Helplessly Hoping. Proper gorgeous. People may cry. Which I should bloody well hope they will.
Derek and Clive – In The Cubicles. Not music, I realise. Many would find this deeply inappropriate and offensive. Which is why it’s a great choice.
D J Shadow – Blood On The Motorway. Because it starts and finishes so well. Some might not get it.
Emmylou Harris – Goodbye. Gentle and mournful. Not really about dying, but then most of these songs aren’t.
Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings or In Twenty Years Or So. Can’t decide to go for funny or sombre, yet lifting. Will there be time for both?
Fleet Foxes – If You Need To Keep Time On Me. Would lend a certain mood to the proceedings.
Gene Clark – Strength Of Strings. Sums up very neatly what great music should all be about.
George Harrison – Cheer Down. Don’t know why, just seems to work.
Hans Zimmer – Where We’re Going. From the Interstellar soundtrack. It must be a tiny, irrelevant speck drifting in space kind-of-thing.
Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye. Unless I end up a ghost and start haunting stuff.
John Cale – Paris 1919 or maybe (I Keep A) Close Watch. More haunting related fun and an in-joke if my heart gives up on me.
Julia Holter – Silhouette. Makes sense to me somehow.
Led Zeppelin – When The Levee Breaks. To add some proper rattle and bosh.
Manassas – So Begins The Task. Impossibly lovely. Not sure whether ‘the wife’ would think it was the right kind of song.
Max Richter – Spring 0 and Spring 1. Nice to have a bit of classical-ish music in there. So people don’t think I’m a total cultural prat.
Mozart – Ave Verum Corpus. Played to great effect at my grandads funeral. Nice to keep things in the family.
Richard and Linda Thompson – The Calvary Cross. For the love of music, not the love of God.
Sufjan Stevens – No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross. See above.
Talk Talk – Wealth. Stunning.
The Beach Boys. It used to be ‘Surf’s Up’ but on reflection they’ve made so much astoundingly beautiful music that it’s hard to single one thing out. ‘This Whole World’, ‘Baby Blue’, ‘Forever’, ‘ Long Promised Road’, ‘All This Is That’, ‘Time To Get Alone’, ‘The Trader’, ‘A Time To Live In Dreams’ and the list could go on and on and on. Maybe we could just have ‘Honkin Down The Highway’ to lighten the mood. Or stick with ‘Surf’s Up’.
The Horrors – Something To Remember Me By. Mainly for the title. Good effort though.
The Rolling Stones – Monkey Man or Sway. Depending on whether to address the fun or the perils of various poor lifestyle choices. Since they’re my all time favourites the list could be enormous.
Van Morrison – Linden Arden Stole The Highlights. Because it may be his finest song and I’d like the grumpy old bugger to be at my funeral in some capacity.
So there you go, a few songs to think about. Hopefully you won’t be hearing the final choices in the right sequence any time too soon. Hopefully for me, that is.
G B Hewitt. 21.12.2018
Almost forgot – ‘C’est La Vie’ by B*witched. Crap pop nirvana. And better than anything by Nirvana.