Let Me Take You There: LMTYT002 (Paul Simpson)

Episode 2 of ‘Let Me Take You There‘ features the founder of Sound Vault, Paul Simpson.  To illustrate the kind of choices we are looking for (tracks which conjure up a place in your life, or an emotional state of mind they take you to) – and because he probably likes the sound of his own voice (!), Paul has chosen twenty tracks, rather than the usual six.

Paul has had a thirty year career in public relations, ‘yo-yo-ing’ between politics and music entertainment, before spending ten years as a university lecturer.  This included five years at BBC Radio 1, where he became head of PR, and as a freelance consultant, he looked after PR for Kiss FM, music recognition app Shazam, and broadcaster Nicky Campbell.  He has since had to retire early due to a neurological condition called Chiari and resulting nerve damage.

The music choices are not a playlist of his favourite artists – but of music which evokes places, and emotional states of minds along the way in his life.

For example, although it isn’t of that era, “It’s Possible (Impossible Remix)” by the Shout Out Louds reminds him vividly of time spent on the South Downs at university in Sussex, in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

University friends on the Downs at Ditchling.
At university, in the Downs at Falmer, Sussex.

A track called “Typical” by Frazier Chorus pinpoints a precise moment in time in 1989 from when he first got involved in student politics, at the same time as Tim Farron.  He heard it on the radio, at the junction of the M25 and and M1 , played by Emma Freud on GLR.  She was among those who inspired him to want to work in public service broadcasting, eventually for her then boss, eventual Radio 1 Controller, Matthew Bannister; Farron inspired him to get more active in politics, eventually working at the House of Commons, and later in the Civil Service.

Tim Farron (left), Simpson (right) when Paul’s student flat was used as the digs for the young Lib Dems at their Brighton 1989 conference.
Paddy Ashdown chairs a conference fringe meeting with Sara Bedford (then chair of the Young Lib Dems) and Paul Simpson (chair of the Student Lib Dems) before the organisations soon merged.

Paul later spent 18 months or so living on the wild sand dunes of Winterton-on-Sea on the North Norfolk coast, just south of Cromer, and one of the tracks that helps captures the time spent up there with his then dog ‘Sparky’ is ‘Iceblink Luck‘ by the Cocteau Twins.

The dunes at Winterton-on-Sea.

And one of the strongest evocations is for a place called Pagham Harbour, in West Sussex, which has held an extremely significant place in Paul’s heart for many years, because of the spiritual calm it brings him.  For this, he has chosen ‘Wandering Angus‘, by Jolie Holland.

Pagham Harbour, West Sussex.
Paul getting spiritual at Pagham.

And finally, when you hear the Eurythmics track ‘Heaven‘, you’ll understand why it evokes the place in time on the way home at Smashing, which as a club held in a basement called Eve’s on Regent Street, central London, once frequented by Christine Keeler (RIP) in the Sixties.  This photo captures vividly the aftermath of those nights in the early/mid 90s, in his flat off the Old Kent Road.  Look carefully, and you’ll also see a football he won on a competition Kevin Greening was running on his BBC Radio 1 show – in the time before got a sniff at working for the station.

The morning after.

Hear all of Paul choices, and reasons by clicking on the Mixcloud player.  In full, these are:-

Eurythmics: ‘Heaven’; see above;

Malcom McLaren: ‘Double Dutch’; reminds him of life growing up in Yateley, spending most of the time playing in the street;

Julia Jacklin: ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’; reminds him of today, back on the Surrey/Hampshire border which generations of his family have called ‘home’, having moved back to the area after having had to retire early;

Shout Out Louds: ‘It’s Possible (Impossible Remix)’; reminds him of late summer evenings on the South Downs, as a student;

Minnie Ripperton: ‘Les Fleurs’; reminds him of time lecturing in lecture halls at the Elephant and Castle, Greenwich and Kingston in particular, because of the singer’s link to the concept of reputation;

Frazier Chorus: ‘Typical’; see above;

Frankie Goes To Hollywood: ‘Two Tribes’; reminds him of cycling over to Fleet, to queue to buy this as his first 12 inch;

Deacon Blue: ‘Riches’; reminds him of Waterloo train station;

Elbow: ‘The Bones of You’; reminds him of Oaxaca, Mexico;

Matt Monro: ‘We’re Gonna Change Your World’; reminds him of having his heart smashed at the 2010 General Election, and changed his politics for good;

Pop Will Eat Itself: ‘Touched By The Hand of Ciccolina’; reminds him of The Crypt, which was a club at the University of Sussex;

Cocteau Twins: ‘Iceblink Luck’; see above;

Natalie Imbruglia: ‘Torn’; reminds him of Pimlico;

Cashier Number 9: ‘Lost At Sea’; reminds him of Telegraph Hill, in South East London;

Nina Simone: ‘Sign O’ the Times’; is a spiritual significance – how it makes him feel;

Jolie Holland: ‘Wandering Angus’; see above;

Damon Albarn: ‘Mr Tembo’; reminds him of any open, common, free, public space like the South Bank, Telegraph Hill, or Farnham Maltings – vitally important in an ever privatised world;

Kiki Dee: ‘Amoureuse’; reminds him of the Old Radio 1 HQ on Great Portland Street – Yalding House;

Candida: ‘Jingo’; reminds him of school discos back in the 1980s at Yateley School, in Hampshire.

Listen for the full explanation of the significance of each track, and if after listening, you are interested in coming on and doing the same, pull together six tracks and the places they take you to, and email Darren Mooney c/o soundvaulthq@gmail.com and we’ll be in touch.

 

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