|No it’s not. Mine is.
I’ve been really busy, and then I’ve been away on holiday, drinking vast quantities of Estrella and Cruzcampo (and an accidental awful pint of Fosters) which means I missed the publication in the Morning Advertiser of My Pub Jukebox.
I get drawn to this column each week, like an itchy scab. Every week, without fail, sales reps from brewers and pub equipment suppliers, and middle managers from pubcos, choose tracks by Queen, Bryan Adams, Michael Jackson, Chris Rea and Chris de Burgh. I swear someone once even chose a track by the vile, unspeakable M*ka.
And every time I read it a bit of me dies a little inside.
Yes, I’m a music snob. Far more than I’m a beer snob. If I was as snobby about beer as I am about music, you would not be reading this blog. You’d be trying to find my address so you could come round and punch me in the face.
So I abused my position and demanded the chance to do my own pub jukebox. They said yes. Sadly, it’s not a feature that merits inclusion on the MA’s website, so I can’t give a link to it. But if you don’t have a copy of the MA dated 23 September, here’s my selection below.
If you like, you can debate it, and suggest your own track listing. It won’t be as good as mine though. Just live with that.
Pete Brown’s Pub Juke Box
“Long before I was a beer snob I was a music snob: a terrible, obnoxious snob who delighted in stuff other people had never heard of, or found unlistenable. Having said that, at least eight of these ten would liven up a night down the boozer. Just accept that my music collection is better than yours, and we’ll get along fine…
1. New Order – Temptation
The soundtrack to my life – simple as that. It’s been played at every meaningful event I’ve ever experienced; the sound of a band intoxicated by the realization of how good they might – and almost did – become.
2. Roland Alphonso – Phoenix City
I found this by accident on a Trojan Records compilation and it’s been my party starter ever since. Why it’s not a staple cover of every ska band on the planet I’ll never know.
3. The Clash – Straight to Hell
If a pub has a jukebox that doesn’t have at least one Clash CD, I won’t drink in there. It’s a litmus test. Music but no Clash means the landlord doesn’t know what he’s doing, so the beer’s probably going to be rubbish too.
4. Arcade Fire – Wake Up!
“WHOOOOAA-OH! WHOOOOAA-OOH-OOH-OOOOOOOH-OH! WHOOOAAA-OH-OH-OOOOOH-OH! WHOOA-OH-OH-OH-Ooooh.” I think that says it all, really.
5. Orange Juice – Consolation Prize
“I’ll never be man enough for you”. A geek’s rant raised to something noble and majestic by one of the most inspirational men singing today – mainly because it’s a bona fide miracle that he still is – Mr Edwyn Collins.
6. The Blue Nile – Tinseltown in the Rain
Their albums come along less frequently than Halley’s comet, but that’s because perfection takes a long time. Songs of neon, traffic, bitter coffee and rain – the soul of the city, written as epic by the singer’s singer.
7. Godspeed You Black Emperor! – The Dead Flag Blues (intro)
From a genre known as ‘post rock’, the bleakest song ever written. So dark it’s actually funny: “The sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides. And a dark wind blows. The government is corrupt. And we’re so many drunks with the radio on and the curtains drawn.” I’m just showing off now.
8. Guillemots – Sao Paulo
While stuck on a container ship en route to India with a barrel of traditional IPA for my book Hops and Glory, I went a bit mad. This wildly inventive group’s 11-minute caterwauling, multi-dimensional masterpiece was the only thing barmy enough to make me feel a sense of equilibrium with the world.
9. Elbow – One Day Like This
“Throw those curtains wide. One day like this a year would see me right.” Pubs used to play the national anthem at closing time. Now they should play this – by law – for a mass sing-a-long just before last orders. Talking of which…
10. Richard Hawley – Last Orders
From a man who lives in the pub, whose music is the pub, a melancholy piano solo to soundtrack a sleepy walk home after a night well-lived.”
My favourite REAL pub juke box is at the Shakespeare in Stoke Newington, London N16. It’s almost as achingly hip as my selection, and has the added bonus that it exists.
If you want a more crowd-pleasing version, the Beer Widow
has already posted her response.