It’s more than a year since I officially became a German Citizen in Berlin. I still feel I never said goodbye to London properly, and never left the note there that it deserves. in an attempt to make up for this, I picked up one of my older wordpress draft and decided to finalize and post it. so hear you go an ode to UK culture in particular music.
Someone speaks over the sound system and tells me that all lines are running without delays, houndreds of high heals tapping around me up and down stairs. the sound is amplified by the narrow hard walls in the claustrophobic tunnel that lead me through the London Underground. i turn a corner and hear Eric Clapton played by a middle age guy wearing a suit from the 80’s. I look at him as someone bumps into me from the front – sorry – we both say.
This is the soundscape of London underground, above ground the scene changes, however not less noisy. London is an endless stream of safety warnings, commercials, machines opening, closing, apologies and offenses.
I moved to London from Stockholm in October 2010. Even though Stockholm is also a capital city, the difference in intensity of the vibe is significant. I made a playlist to accompany me on my walks through the London. I felt that a city like London needed music to really make sense during the transition into the London vibe.
I still have my playlist from back then, and here is a short walkthrough of the tracks and why they were on my HELLO LONDON PLAYLIST.
— Anders Lodberg Theut (@anderstheut) January 17, 2015
I still think it represents some of the nerve and fiber of what London is to me, but today I would have to add a lot of tracks to make it current. What amazes me about London are all the layers and how it embraces a wide range of expressions, which applies to the music scene as well.
My number 1 London tune back then
1. Love will tear us apart, Joy Division
I knew Joy division before I went to London, and found it mostly depressing and a little simplistic, it didnt really stick to me. Truth be told, I didnt really understand punk or the post punk era. That was untill i heard this track on a club in London and everyone whent completely crazy. It seemed like the real natiional anthem had been put on, not just for the generation that was part of the time when Joy Division made cult status, but also for younger generations. Today this track emidiatly brings me back to London. It is a track that through its painfuly structured composition and feeling, makes suffering and pain a sensation that you dont want to leave, and made me cherrish the most depressing moments in London.
From My Childhood
My parents had both these tracks on Vinyl, and I recall how especially Pink Floyd the wall was a hit. It was also the first track I ever played on an instrument, when I had a short encounter with an electric base quitar. The simple baseline still apeals to me, and the track itself bridges the gap between London and Berlin.
1. Carry the weight, The Beatles
2. Another Brick in the Wall, Pink Floyd
From my high school years
Prodigy and Underworld were the first electronic music that I enjoyed and still enjoys. Born Slippy stuck to my musical memory when it featured in the movie Trainspotting. Blur and Oasis….I am not going to get into the discussion about which is better, but they were both big when I went to high school, and Girls and Boys still brings a smile to my lips.
1. Out of Space, Prodigy
2. Born slippy, Underworld
3. Wonderwall, Oasis
4. Girls and Boys, Blur
5. Another Bites the Dust, Queen
My time after Gymnasium
I bought my Techics 1210 in 1998 and was in to Fat boy slim and especially his Mixes from his club (the big beat butique (in Brighton)). It lead to a lot of exploring in the big beat genre, some pretty random ones too, but the tracks below still reminds me why it was so much fun cleaning up the kitchen in Burgerking to the sound of Big Beats.
1. Fat boy Slim / Medicine / Sex Pistols, track on the Dirt chamber sessions, by Prodigy
2. Bang on, Propellor heads
All the other years
Another DJ group from London who i listened to endlessly after graduating and while DJing in Copenhagen was Streetlife DJs. A duo known for putting big partys on, and for mixing all kinds of genres. They gave me a new perspective on the tracks below and made their way into my own sets.
1. Love is a Drug, Roxy Music
2. LIving on the ceiling, Blancmange
3. This Charming man, The Smiths
4. Dirty Harry, Gorillaz
5. Say Say Say, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
6. Jah War, The Bug
7. Paper Planes, M.I.A
8. I Believe, Simion Mobile Disco
9. The Sound of the Crowd, Human Leaugue
10. Ashes to ashes, David Bowie BOWIE BOWIE BOWIE
11. Waterfalls, Stone Roses
And why do brits then make so much good music?
What still impress me is how all of these tracks came out of UK, and how rich a culture for modern pop and music culture UK has. After having lived in London for 3 years, I am not surprised and I think what makes it possible for Uk and London in particular to harness and develop so much talent and culture are. I will always remember London for:
1. The language
English is still the biggest language if you want to reach a global crowd, and the Brits in London master it, in all the different shades and forms it takes depending on the area you live in, or the subculture that you are part of.
2. The diversity and culture
The diversity and tolerance, As a foreigner it is to date the easiest city I have lived in, to integrate in. Much because of the attitude of the people living there.
3. The interest in arts and culture
The mix of cultures that constantly inspires new expressions, you have the world at your fingertips, not just through your smartphone, but when you take the tube go to Tescos or on your way to the pub and at the pub.