Marathon Man…looking for a soundtrack Pt 2

LTW contributor Andy Johnson is currently in training preparing himself for the forthcoming Greater Manchester Marathon; in a previous LTW piece (Marathon Pt 1) he asked for your suggests as he sought to compile a soundtrack to help him through the physical challenges that running a marathon entails…

Now a further month into his training schedule he provides an update and an insight into the songs that are or on occassion aren’t helping him through.


The Running Bug
Distance 16 miles Time 2 hrs 40 mins

Slow and steady today. I’ve been fighting a bit of a vicious cold, sore throat and chest infection possibly since just after Christmas but it flared up bad on Thursday so I’ve pretty much been resting. I did heal myself (for “heal” read “drugged myself to the eyeballs”) just about enough to do a gig with The Southmartins at Arc in Stockton which went down well. With close to 400 advance tickets gone I couldn’t bring myself to pull it and while, for me, it was a bit of a mess and my voice started going 4 songs in, the crowd enjoyed it and that’s the main thing.

I had planned on just doing 8 miles today although my schedule has me up to 14. I’d been letting it slip a bit lately since I ran the Ann Johnson Absent Friends race a couple of weekends back which really took it out of my legs. I wasn’t entirely confident I even had 8 in me so set off very steady at around 10 minute miles (which looking at my overall time seems to have been the average). At the six mile point I decided to take a detour to add a few miles to the route and to go for the full 14 miles. I calculated the distance out wrong though and heading back it dawned on me I still had a another two miles to get home. I made it though and my legs only really started to wobble over the last half mile. That’s further than I’ve ever run in my life and alone too. It did boost my confidence to actually do this bloody thing as I felt at that pace I could have probably kept going with a bit more fluid and sugar.

Soundtrack – Genius mix

The Smiths – Panic – It didn’t occur to me that there are a lot of running references in this. An unlikely but likeable addition to the final soundtrack I reckon. I also heard a bit of Johnny Marr’s new solo album the other day and it definitely has a very Smithsy feel to the sonic soundscape. Decent.


Everyday Is Like Sunday – Morrissey – And it was Sunday! A bit obvious to follow The Smiths though. Come on Genius!

I Wanna Be Adored – The Stone Roses
– Sensing a bit of Manchester theme developing in this playlist. I am running there though so all good. Actually quite spooky really if you think about it so far.

The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen – My mind started drifting a bit here. Possibly the desired dreamy effect.

A Forest – The Cure – The Cure were always a great pop band. I didn’t go for the whole image at the time but I did like the songs. Even this, sparse and brooding electro piece has enough hooks to make it pop.

She’s Lost Control – Joy Division – I always think of the Control film when I hear this now and the aerosol sound effect.

Changes – David Bowie
– From my favourite Bowie album Hunky Dory. Plenty of other stuff to like of course but this does it for me.

Temptation – New Order – I’ve never been a huge New Order fan although I do like a lot of their siganture tunes. This is one of my favourites. Worked well on the run too as it was an extended version.

Step On – Happy Mondays – Washed over me a bit as I’ve heard it a million times.

Hand In Glove – The Smiths – The Hatful of Hollow version. Started thinking about The Beatles because of the harmonica and when Rob Nicholls from local legends Shrug covered this with me and Maccy for Sharon’s surprise 40th birthday party. It was fantastic.

Disco 2000 – Pulp – Far from my favourite Pulp song or era for that matter (I prefer the earlier Gift recordings and His and Hers but also love the darker post-Different Class “This is Hardcore” which, although far less poppy, has a great deal more soul). Interesting hearing this on the hadphones as I wouldn’t normally choose to listen to it. there’s a lot going on that i didn’t realise in terms of sounds and backing vocals.

Modern Man – Arcade Fire – I do Love Arcade Fire. This has a bit of a wonky beat though, which perfectly fits the idea behind the song but doesn’t help with your stride pattern!

Time For Heroes – The Libertines – Their first album is brilliant but they fell for their own hype (or Pete did at least) and never recovered. I have listened to the second album maybe three times. It sounds exactly the same but less so.

Pretty In Pink – Psychedelic Furs – A pleasant surprise. I didn’t even realise it was on my iPod. A few interesting details in there that I hadn’t noticed before. Good leftfield pop of the time.


Waterfall – Stone Roses – Again, washed over me a bit due to overplaying.

Neighbourhood #3 – Arcade Fire – I hammered this first album every day when I used to walk to work and kept it secret from everybody I knew for 6 months. I didn’t want to share them! Ha ha. They managed to become successful without my help anyway.

Atmosphere – Joy Division – Ponderous, clumsy nonsense. I skipped it. Martin Hannett hugely overrated in my book.

Ask – The Smiths – Sprightly seaside sound.

Starman – David Bowie – Bowie playing up to expectation somewhat with this but what a great pop record. Fantastic production to with super tight yet loose playing, strings and all manner of sparkle.

True Faith – New Order – Another one from Substance. Someone played me some stuff from technique a few years back claiming it was a work of genius. It just sounded very dated to be honest. This is, of course, a classic though.

Common People – Pulp
– Their real breakthrough single. I loved Pulp from the original release of Babies. They were a band with pop ambitions, clearly and you knew, even tough they were, essentially, making the same record again and again that it would click (a bit like The Verve with Bitter Sweet Symphony). From the opening notes and lines of this I knew it was the one and that I would have to give them up to all and sundry. I didn’t like Different Class as an album. It wasn’t cohesive and I felt they were becoming a parody of themselves. A feeling borne out by the fact that they scrapped the songs for the follow up for the same reasons and came back with the wholly different sounds of This Is Hardcore. The most interesting period of the Britpop thing, for me, was this post-honeymoon period when all the key bands tried to smash up their own image and self destruct. Most succeeded. Pulp only made one more album that very few bought. I did, of course.

Olivers Army – Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Bit of a curveball this one. Great song and production though.

Parklife – Blur – Skipped it. Rubbish. Again, give me their post-honeymoon self-titled album anyday. Or Modern Life is Rubbish which this just takes a lengthy piss all over but not in a good way.

Keep The Car Running – Arcade Fire – Anyone got a Playstation 3? When I turn it on I always sing this song because of that opening chord.


The Cutter – Echo & The Bunnymen – Great closer to the mix. They really found their own sound around this time.

I had to resort to using some older mixes as the run grew ever longer but I’ve covered them in previous posts.

Andy is raising money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research – Please donate to this worthy cause at Just Giving – Any ammount you can spare will be greatly appreciated.

Pic – Credit to Marathon Runners

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