“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” – Dr. Johnson
As the days grow shorter and the weather bleaker, one’s mind begins to turn to the big questions: How long do we have left? What do we do with that time? Should we get a pizza?
Playlist after the jump.
What Happens Next?Simon Jones & Geoffrey McGivern I only just learned that there was a German radio version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so I guess now I have to learn German.
Nobody Can Live ForeverTim Maia Some very definitive answers to the big questions, with a nice big beat behind them.
You’ll Have TimeWilliam Shatner (with Ben Folds) The Shat also seems pretty sure about things. “Live life life you’re gonna die,” he advises. “Because you’re gonna.” He also says that “By the time you hear this, I may well be dead.” But it appears that he is going to live forever, and I for one take comfort in that.
Laugh Till You Cry, Live Till You DieCAN Sync this up if you can. (If you can… get it?)
Cleaning WindowsVan Morrison Van makes a career in glass sanitation sound romantic.
A Splendid Piece of Descriptive WritingThe Goons The eternal question.
Night ShiftBob Marley & the Wailers Bob makes driving a forklift sound righteous.
Up All NightThe Boomtown Rats Want to see Bob Geldof cuddle and sing to a snake? Of course you do.
Living on the CeilingBlancmange Wikipedia says: “Blancmange performed [this] song on Top of the Pops, but for broadcast on the show as well as on BBC Radio, the track was edited to replace the lyric ‘Up the bloody tree’ with ‘Up the cuckoo tree.’ Which would have been perfect for this mix! Well, too bad.
Simon Invents LanguageAlan Arkin & Wallace Shawn From Mashall Brickman’s Simon, finally released on DVD a few years ago, but still one of the great lost classics.
MangalamRavi Shankar “Chants of India was a ‘labor of love’ for [George] Harrison following his participation in the Beatles’ Anthology project…. In Shankar’s recollection, following a playback of some of the tracks, Harrison was so moved that he ‘embraced me with tears in his eyes and simply said, “Thank you, Ravi, for this music.” ’ ” —Wikipedia
Spirit with MeGong An invocation of something or other; hopefully something benign.
Journey of the Sorcerer (Enter the Vortex Mix)The Eagles (with Mark Wing-Davey & Valentine Dyall) For 30-some years I had no idea that the Hitchhiker’s Guide theme song was performed by the Eagles. It’s far from a typical Eagles track, but still, some internal reality adjustment was necessary to account for that fact. This piece mixes the original song with some dialogue from the radio show.
Mighty ManThe Alpha Band This is a T-Bone Burnett joint, and while I don’t always necessarily concur with what T-Bone is saying, I appreciate hearing his viewpoint.
I Don’t Wanna PrayEdward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros “Formed in 2007 by Ima Robot frontman Alex Ebert after a brief period of existential crisis, the cultish ten-piece indie rock outfit Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros draw their inspiration from the communal musical communities that peppered Southern California (specifically Laurel Canyon) with positive vibrations during the ’60s and early ’70s.” —Allmusic
Carpe DiemThe Fugs According to their Wikipedia page, “Some 1969 correspondence found inside an FBI file on the rock group The Doors called The Fugs the ‘most vulgar thing the human mind could possibly conceive.’ ” But this song is nice and pretty, however grim the news it delivers.
EclipseThe Beta Band In which all the questions are answered, wrapped up with a bow and a nice echoing chord at the end.
This is the first proper mixtape I ever made, with a cover and liner notes and everything. The liner notes say 1989, but this was actually a revised version of a tape made a year or two earlier, a little after I transferred from UC Santa Cruz to Berkeley. I think it was the first time I experienced an emotion that could be characterized as “nostalgia,” and so the tape is full of songs I associate with my time in Santa Cruz, as well as field recordings from stony Thursday nights there.
The title comes from the original artwork, now lost, which was a clipping of some flier or newspaper article that I cannot now remember the provenance of. Being both grandiose and vague, it is a most suitable name for a mixtape. And though the sequencing is haphazard and the segues are less than tight, in some ways The Mystery of Consciousness is still my favorite.