Jane Austen’s iPod

How about this for a new game? Some time before Christmas, while driving home, I stumbled across a Radio 4 programme called Thomas Hardy’s iPod. Aha, I thought, lots of Smiths songs, and maybe that “It’s a wonderful, wonderful life…” number. Unfortunately the creators of the programme had decided to be all po-faced and historical about it, so all the music was authentic period stuff that Hardy probably did actually listen to, and very dull it was too. I think my idea is much better: suggest songs, from any genre or era, that would suit a particular historical figure, and offer some justification. If this gets any sort of response, someone can then volunteer to suggest a new figure (who doesn’t have to be literary) next week.

Just to kick things off, something suitably ironic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHWrudgCc3Q&feature=related

67 thoughts on “Jane Austen’s iPod

  1. Songs to suit a particular historical figure.

    Some thoughts.
    Gary Numan……….Cars. (Henry Ford)
    Alice Cooper……….Elected (George Washington)
    Beatles………………All You Need is Love (Aphrodite)
    Blondie………………Atomic (Robert Oppenheimer)
    David Gray………….Babylon (Alfred the Great).

    Looking for more. Laters……………

  2. Good idea Aba – except that I can’t think of anything. “Darcy’s” Dad should be nominated though!

    Oh, go on then, how about Mr Bennett?

  3. Or Cassandra Wilson (for the ‘cassandra’ part of her name) with You Don’t Know What Love Is – because Ms. Austen died a spinster

  4. Hmmm, OK, how about these?

    Dante – The Eagles – “Good Day In Hell”
    Julius Caesar – The O’Jays – “Backstabbers”
    Milton – The Who – “Eyesight To The Blind”
    Richard III – Steely Dan – “Rikki, Don’t Lose That Number”
    Marie Stopes – Hall And Oates – “Method Of Modern Love”

  5. Good Morning ! ! !

    Oh WOW ! ! ! This is a great idea ! ! ! !

    I think Jane Austen would like something romantic with handsome guys and something maybe a little dramatic . . . . So she would definitely have some Visual Kei on her iPod ! ! !

    Visual Kei means “visual style” and it is really like a Japanese Glam Rock. Glaclt is the most successful of the Visual Kie singers, he has had a long career both as a solo artist and as a member of several groups.

    He started his career in 1995 in the band Malice Mizer and has been a solo artist or in bands ever since. As a solo artist he holds the record as the male solo artist with the most top ten singles. He is also a very popular actor in films and TV dramas (where he is often a romantic lead character) and also as a voice actor in Anime.

    He is from Okinawa and is distantly related to our old Ryukyu Royal Family, so he is super romantic ! ! !

    Also he is very kind and raised 2.5 million dollars for the Tsunami victims from a concert and event with other artists, musicians and sports people which he organised called “Show Your Heart”

    I am 100% sure Jane Austin would love such romantic and dramatic music and such a handsome and romantic singer ! ! !

    The gamers of you may recognise this as being from Final Fantasy VII.

    Glackt – Redemption

    I hope you like it – I am sure JA would ! ! !

  6. This is the best idea!

    I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I read all her novels annually. My favourite is Persuasion. I am having to restrain myself from posting a huge playlist.

    My favourite piece of JA satire is from her juvenile work, when a young lady visiting another who has a cold and cannot go to The Assemblies that night commiserates “as she practices her Scotch Steps around the room”.

    I also liked that many of her heroines were all too human (just like me!).

    But at the end of the day, it’s all about true love, innit?

    Bet this would be on her iPod.

  7. I considered Blur’s “Country House”, but then I decided that Blur’s predecessors in quinessential Englishness, the Kinks, might suit Jane Austen (a Hampshire lass, I believe) better. I thought about “Sunny Afternoon” – a counterpart to the Blur song, not least because it mentions a stately home – but eventually settled on “The Village Green Preservation Society”. And then I wondered if Jane might prefer Kate Rusby‘s prettier version:

    I think Jane liked pretty things. And I’m certain that she would appreciate the social commentary lurking beneath the wholesomeness.

  8. I love this idea. I also like to think that, if Jane Austen were alive today, her favourite film adaptation of her books would be Clueless.

    I can see her enjoying this… A dissection of contemporary relationship mores, delivered with deadpan irony in a delicious Home Counties accent:

    Black Box Recorder – G.S.O.H. Q.E.D.

    Not on YouTube, sorry. Spotify link:

    • Entirely agree about Clueless; perfectly captures the spirit of the book, rather than covering it over with frocks, carriages and period detail, not to mention Colin Firth (but I have to say that quietly because Mrs Abahachi is a big fan of that wet shirt moment).

      Black Box Recorder is definitely at the darker end of her tastes, I think, but has precisely the tone of razor-sharp, pitiless intelligence behind it. I imagine she’d also be a fan of Pulp for the same reasons – and you can dance to it as well…

  9. Count me among the non-Jane lovers. Don’t like the books anyway, but i do like me a BBC costume drama version. Anyhoo –

    Talking Heads – Girlfriend is Better

    (stop making sense (and sensibility?))

  10. There’s a late, and rather weak, Dead song called Foolish Heart, which is very Jane Austen. These lines could be about Lydia Bennet?
    A foolish heart will call on you to toss your dreams away
    Then turn around and blame you for the way you went astray
    A foolish heart will cost you sleep and often make you curse
    A selfish heart is trouble, but a foolish heart is worse

    But there’s also They Love Each Other, and a pretty good summary of Elizabeth and Darcy’s situation:
    Merry run around
    Sailing up and down
    Looking for a shove in some direction
    Got it from the top
    It’s nothing you can stop
    Lord, you know they made a fine connection

    They love each other
    Lord, you can see it’s true

  11. I think this is a great idea!!

    My favourite Jane Austen is Mansfield Park. There is a pivotal episode in the book where the ‘party’ step out of the manicured ‘Park’ – one ‘designed’ to epitomise nature – 3 trees good, 4 trees bad, etc. – and venture into the ‘woods’. Within the the Park, all is ordered, controlled, polite, social niceties are observed, the ‘right’ people are paired off. In the ‘woods’, everything is chaotic, confused – the couples get re-arranged – and brutal – the characters’ true natures are exposed. Of course, this could all be a load of old bollocks.

    Anyway, my choice would have to be:

    There was an excellent Colosseum 3cd box set out recently covering the late 60’s early 70’s. Stunning musicianship.

      • Hi Ali

        It is all very Shakesperean (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as is the ‘play within a play’ that is also central to the novel. I thoroughly enjoyed Jane Austen when I was introduced to her novels as a callow youth and had to endure some level of ridicule from my stoned flamates as I sat down to read Persuasion or Northanger Abbey. But it was worth it, and I really must sit down once again and re-visit Mansfield Park, if nothing else.

  12. For some reason, the written Youtube link is there, not the picture link. The track is Walking in the Park by Colosseum.

  13. Interesting to note that we’re already #6 in the results of a Google search for “Jane Austen’s iPod”, and #10 in one for “Thomas Hardy’s iPod” – the power of the Spill…

  14. Great idea Aba.

    When I think of Jane Austen I think of funny hats and repressed sexual fantasies…..

    “Every shiny BONNET, makes me think or my back on it….”

    …see what I did there?!

    p.s. I’d never seen that video before, how great is that? My old ‘hood, Shinjuku.

  15. I have avoided Jane Austen’s books ever since being forced to read them at school ( hint for teachers- do not expect teenage boys to read books that contain frequent references to “balls”. I seem to recall the phrase “balls were held there every week” ( or something like that)- collapse of whole class).

    However I understand she was rather fond of romance and all that soppy, girlie stuff and I feel the following, being the epitome of English Romantic Pop, would entice her sensibilities somewhat.

    • I remember seeing some comedy sketch where an upper class couple and a working class couple sung that song and this one and ended up blending them together. I think this one would be more to Jane’s taste – though I could be wrong.

  16. Jane had a highly accomplished brother in Sir Francis ‘William’ Austen, an Admiral of the Fleet and likely the model for the character William Price in Mansfield Park.
    Around home William was plain old Billy.

  17. A family has a loaded conversation around the dinner table. While making not-so-subtle hints that her daughter should be taking an interest in the nice young preacher, the mother relays the news about the local cad – not knowing that the daughter is already involved with him…

    Scene from a Jane Austen novel? Ode to Billy Joe, of course.

    Come to think of it, this would definitely be on Thomas Hardy’s iPod too – rural travails, suicide, papa dying of a virus…

  18. Jane Austen was quite merciless in her descriptions of people’s faults and failings, so she might have liked Blondie’s Rip Her To Shreds

  19. Pairubu’s suggestion of “Come Outside” reminded me of this one for the book “Zen & The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance”

  20. Lovely idea, Aba. I think she might have Siouxsie’s “Into A Swan” on her iPod, because in many of her books the young women have ideas about life and who they are, only to discover something different as they progress, although I can’t think that she’d have approved of Siouxsie in general

  21. As the Iron Lady film is dragging up awful memories………

    Evil Hearted Woman – Lightning Hopkins ( Margaret Thatcher )

      • Well, apparently Mansfield Park has an element of anti slavery to it ( although this seems a touch controversial !) so I’m sure she would have loved to hear LH’s country blues to get an idea of what they were going through.

    • I hope so too – just as long as someone suggests a new person every week, we can take it from there. I don’t think this will demand as much thought and preparation as the old Spill challenge, so don’t think we necessarily need to identify a volunteer in advance – but if you’re offering…

      • Do they have to be dead? And if so, by how long?

        (I do of course mean the subject, not the Spiller. Yes there are a few who could be for all we see of them, but that’s not what I meant. Damn you aba, always so argumentative.


        Oh yes you are

  22. Pingback: Charles Dickens’ iPod « The 'Spill

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