3. The Fall – ‘Tempo House’

(For numbers 5/6 in John Doran’s top 20 favourite albums please go here)

A lot of the book is about memory. How it defines us and how it fails us. My memory is shot to pieces because of decades of alcohol and drug abuse. I don’t have clear recall. Instead I have piles of 7”s, bags full of cassettes and CD-Rs, iPods, tablets, laptops and phones full of MP3s and WAVs, shelves full of LPs and a wall full of CDs. And all of them are markers I throw down into the void behind me and shore up against the void in front of me. This music, for better or worse, actually is my memory.

“I also had a cassette with me containing tracks taped from the John Peel show. One night I had heard ‘Upside Down’ by the Jesus And Mary Chain and despite the fact it gave me a headache I listened in again the following night in order to tape it. I didn’t hear it but he did play ‘Tempo House’ by The Fall. I used to play this track over and over again, trying to work out what it was. I didn’t understand why the singer’s lyrics were so weird, or why he didn’t sing properly or why all the instruments sounded out of tune. I would play this song to people and tell them it was my band and they would say, “Jesus. Your band is awful.””

4. Cabaret Voltaire – ‘Sensoria’

I really like the idea you can pinpoint the exact moment in your life when everything went wrong. It’s utter nonsense of course. Your life is, for the most part, mapped out for you from the day you’re born by genetics, geography, class, family, friends and society. The rest is just scenery you look at on the journey.

“September 23, 1984: I am sitting in my room and everything is right with the world. I am reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams and listening to The Luxury Gap by Heaven 17 on my Dansette. I love sci fi and I love music from Sheffield – especially by ABC, The Human League, Heaven 17 and Cabaret Voltaire. My Dad shouts up from the bottom of the stairs: “Come down here. There’s something on TV I think you should watch. It’s called Threads.” The next day I tearfully join CND. By the end of the week I am a vibrating nexus of anxiety and I constantly check the horizon for mushroom clouds.”

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