Life is like a broken record right now, right? Doing basic things, like brushing your teeth, getting dressed, cooking good food, washing the pots, talking with civility to other people in the house and going out for a walk feel like monumentally difficult tasks. We’re living life in a loop, every day is a repetitive struggle, tensions are mounting, time is simultaneously dragging and moving at great speed. And fuck knows how we’ll feel when we are allowed to return to normal. Will we remember how to behave? How to talk in a large group of people? How to dance in the company of others? How to order a beer at the bar? Will we even want to do that shit? And how did we find the time for all that socialising pre-March 2020?
Lockdown’s getting fucking tedious. The lack of sunshine doesn’t help. The snow was fun though, eh?
Some of us are extremely fortunate, in that we’ve got subscriptions to Netflix and Amazon Prime to keep us occupied. And lots of books. And large music collections. So all that stuff we’ve been promising to watch/read/listen to has filled the hours where otherwise there would have been nothingness.
What the world probably doesn’t need right now is another podcast. Yet, as a project to develop an in-house album listening club failed because nobody was interested in sitting still and exercising their ears for 40+ minutes (I think Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue was the end of the road), we still kept sharing what we were listening to with each other thanks to scrapping over whose device would connect to the bluetooth speaker. We’ve taken our music sharing and attempts to be persuasive over why our respective songs should dominate the sound waves to its logical conclusion, by taking the somewhat extreme next step of recording our chats and making them public. That’s what lockdown makes you do, people.
Sharing music with others in an effort to get them to like it too is nothing new, of course. It’s what the basis for several thousand skips full of discarded mixtapes was all about. Yes, we’d pretend that we’d lovingly put together two sides of a C-90 for someone else but what we were trying to do was influence their listening in order that they comply to our tastes. Or fall in love with us. Or be our friend. Or whatever. But our painstaking selections between pressing record and play said more about us than anyone that might have been the recipient of our ironically labelled TDK tapes.
Still, it seems like a good idea, to record these things. It justifies, in a small way, my purchase of several tonnes of audio equipment from various online retailers. It gives a sense of purpose to the sorting and sifting and categorising I was carrying out on the hard drive where my music mostly lives these days. It’s an excuse to purchase some tracks and albums I don’t own. It’s another reason to listen to music, not that one should need an excuse to indulge in an activity that releases a healthy amount of dopamine and, as my podcast co-host Sarah says, tickles the serotonin, and share one’s love for the tunes that get us going.
A few weeks ago, after I’d gone on for a couple of weeks about how great an idea this was that I’d had, we set up some recording swag, sat down, played each other four tracks each and babbled almost incoherently between the songs, threw the mp3 recording up on Mixcloud, and that was that. We enjoyed it so much we recorded a few more. And we enjoy it so much that we’re going to keep going for a while longer. Quite whether anyone will listen to it consistently or actively isn’t something we consider, unless we say something stupid (often), factually absurd (often) or mispronounce an artist’s name (often). We’d like people to listen to it, of course, but we’d probably be doing something similar even if there wasn’t a microphone in front of us.
I’d Love To Turn You On is a simple format, cribbed from other successful formats like, um, every fucking radio show where people play records and talk about them. The pitch goes along the lines of, “it’s basically Desert Island Discs meets Mr and Mrs. We each pick four tunes we love and try and persuade each other to love them too.” Pitch over. Although sometimes we forget to do the persuading bit, or we both like the song a lot, or we dislike the artist so much that we’re having none of it.
Neither of us, naturally, know what we’re on about. We take solace in the simple fact that music’s not supposed to be talked about. It exists to be listened to, enjoyed, adored, danced to, and to invoke all manner of emotions that in no way can be articulated. To paraphrase the mostly pointless Billy Joel, you can’t get the sound from a couple of music fans jabbering on about the pretty music they love. Still, it’s got some charm, has our podcast. Most of the time we like a tune and, like a lot of people, can’t really explain why we like it beyond repeatedly saying “I like that. I really like it. I like how it makes me feel. I like that funny sound although I don’t know what it is.” Besides, I have to go easy on my co-host because my choices are clearly the best.
The good news is, cos of the way Mixcloud works, you get to hear the songs we choose in their entirety. Which is the most important thing. In the absence of chats down the boozer about what songs/bands/albums/artists you’re listening to at the moment, it might fill a gap between going back to your latest boxset immersion on Netflix/Prime.
Perfectly timed for an early-morning Valentine’s Day spooning your lover/partner/betrothed/husband/wife/ANOther, you can listen to a special treat, from our ears to yours, available tomorrow (Sunday February 14) morning from 8am.
With tracks from Ciccone Youth, Taylor Swift, Damien Rice, Magnet and more, all interspersed with silly conversation and efforts to articulate what we love about music.
New episodes of I’d Love To Turn You On go live every Sunday from 9am and you can listen to all episodes at the link below.