Well the A-list is finally in, after many last-minute shenanigans, song switches but more desperately, cutting down of words from 900 to 600. Adam warned me that if I delivered over 650 words that the sub-editors would be in there with a large pair of pruning shears, so to keep control, I had to shave myself, which I do almost every morning anyway.
It was an outstanding topic. You lovely Readers contributed in droves, and with a huge breadth of material. I think there are 350 songs in the Spotify list alone. But the topic was broad and threw up a huge variety of material. Perhaps I can quote :
“Bravery can take many forms – standing up for your beliefs, facing your greatest fear, putting your life on the line for a friend. But in your case it’s definitely that haircut”
Well no one suggested a haircut song, in fact most people took the subject pretty seriously. I wanted to serve the topic and use as many examples of bravery as I could, I also wanted to spread the musical taste as broadly as I could too, but in the end readers, it was all about the song. If I felt the song wasn’t COMPLETELY FANTASTIC then I’m afraid it didn’t make the cut, and some really amazing artists (and subjects sadly) dropped away. But I needed to find the final list Outstanding musically in the first instance. It kind of speaks for itself you’d think, but it’s amazing the circular journeys your mind goes on when you’re the guest guru.
For example, my first list was fairly intellectual in quality, songs that “should” be there because of the subject matter or the person being sung about being totally heroic for obvious reasons. I also included songs from different genres, again in an intellectual attempt at “balance”. Bit of metal, bit of country, bit of folk. But a glance at the Giant Obelisk that is The Marconium will spin any balance attempts on their axis, and I got a little lost in what The Marconium was saying to us about The Guardian and it’s and our taste in music. Were we really recommending Saint Etienne 5 times and Gilbert O’Sullivan none ? Smokey Robinson 3 times and Smog five ?? I had to withdraw and go back to basics because there was little I could do but nominate some more songs to add to this huge collective undertaking.
In the end I went with my feelings. I screwed my courage to the sticking place and elbowed the intellectual approach (gave it the Spanish Archer) – and went with songs that made me feel brave. Songs that empowered the listener. And inevitably – artists that were totally unrepresented in the A-list. This made it easier to whittle the final group of 25 great songs down into 12.
I thank you all for making it such a great weekend, and I hope you enjoy the final list whatever your personal taste.
I would of course, encourage you all to be brave and put your name forward for guest guru. It is a lot of fun.