Letter #122

03.07.20
Hello,

How are you? I hope you’re ok. It’s July. JULY. WHAT. Time as a concept is well and truly broken. Never mind…

Big thank you to Mils for last week’s beautiful guest letter and incredibly floaty mixtape – it’s one for the ages, and music to slip away into a daydream to.

It also turned out that I needed something to drift away to. I mentioned last week that my nerves have felt a bit frayed, and this week that stretched on a bit, and they’ve frayed a little more. Nothing personally disastrous has happened (don’t panic dad!), but sometimes the peaks and troughs of life can get a bit much. Part of it is being really busy and not sleeping well, part of it is reading some stuff that triggered some other stuff (maybe more on that another time), and part of it is just… Just.

Then a moment of serendipity came, and I got a message from Mark Pinsent (who put the excellent Letter #49 together), who sent me a clip from the latest Nick Cave email (which you should definitely subscribe to). The quote was;

“Love enacts a kind of vigilant perception — whether it is to a partner, a child, a co-worker, a neighbour, a fellow citizen, or any other person one may encounter in this life. Love says softly — I see you. I recognise you. You are human, as am I.”

It’s beautiful, and Mark sent it to me (I’d imagine unknowingly) at the perfect moment for me to read it. Thank you.

I’ve also spent a lot of the last two week’s trying to figure out a new mixtape and letter, one that connects what’s going on at the moment with hope, and optimism. As with everything vaguely creative that I try to do, it’s hard going – I never want to turn in something half done, and so I pour myself into it completely. The positive is that once something is done, it feels like a sort of mad release – a beautiful purge of an idea, and sharing that with you then gives me a massive high. The negative side is that it can be emotionally exhausting, and take a temporary toll on my mental health. I know this sounds maybe a bit over the top, but I think (hope) you’ll be able to empathise. From the tiny kernel of an idea, to hitting send can feel like a huge effort – but the catharsis and response makes it worth while every time. Well, at the moment that huge effort is still building, and I’m behind where I should be…

Then I had a second moment of serendipity; an email from Tom Armstrong.

I’ve known Tom for a few years now. He’s the founder and editor of the London culture bible The Move, and one the most humble-yet-inspiring people I’ve ever met. After reading the first edition of The Move, I invited Tom to join a panel on music culture at work, and I’ve been bugging him ever since. He very kindly wrote a guest letter waaaaay back in December 2017, that’s sadly even more relevant today than it was then. Ninety five newsletters later, and he’s back. And it’s excellent.

In his email to me, Tom talked about writing the letter and putting the mixtape together with a “frustrated energy”, and that’s a feeling that I carry with me constantly. An agitation for change. A desire to make things better. And what draws me to people like Tom is that same energy. I’ve not read much this last week (so no TL;DR Section, sorry!), but I am reading a book on Sun Ra and afrofuturism (this one), and there’s a famous quote in it that I’d forgotten; “If you’re not mad at the world, you don’t have what it takes”.

Tom’s letter and mixtape exude that same energy, but in a much more positive way than I’ve been able to articulate these last few weeks. It’s just the tonic. It’s a classic. And this week – selfishly – it’s been exactly what I needed. Get stuck in.

As ever, please stay safe, and stay in touch xxx

PS. If you’re new then this is how it worksHere’s what you’ve missed so farAnd this is me.

PPS. If you’re wondering why you’re getting Love Will Save The Day so soon again, then it’s because I’ve taken it back to being weekly while we’re on lockdown in the UK – we all need more music, more culture, and more of each other ☺️

PRESS ME TO PLAY (Spotify)
🙋🏻‍♂️ Driving change 🙋🏻‍♂️

  • Platforming; If you are black, a POC, or you’re a person that has been marginalised, and you would like to guest edit an edition of Love Will Save The Day, please get in touch with me. I want to ensure that your voice is heard. Just reply to this email.
  • Mentoring; As a senior white man in a media agency, I hold a very privileged position. If you, or any one that you know, is interested in a career in advertising or media and needs a mentor and/or a leg-up, please contact me / get them to contact me at jed.hallam@initiative.com
📚 The notes 📚
Easy,

Today’s playlist is inspired by epiphanies. Seeing the light. Guidance from above. Some small drop of divine wisdom trickling down from the heavens and hitting like a thunderbolt of pure, uncut clarity.

These moments can be life changing. When we know better, we do better. They give us the strength to realise a dream or the vision to forge a path toward what we know is right. But what struck me is that, in my case, all these flashes of cerebral euphoria were triggered by music. I can’t recall what I could smell or taste, what I said or the intricate details of my surroundings, but I will always remember what song was playing when the stars aligned and brought order to the world.

Some of the tracks on this playlist relate to my own revelatory moments. Others are simply artistic expressions of joy, love and revelation. I’ve realised since writing this letter that quite often, they’re both. This says something to me about the power of music. The first time I stumbled into the NYC Downlow as Luke Howard put the needle on Melba Moore’s ‘You Stepped Into My Life’, I felt my world do a handbrake turn. That split second was to be the beginning of the rest of my life. Clubland, in all its transgressive, Bacchanalian unity, was the home my volatile young spirit needed. I later learned Luke had a similar epiphany to the same track years before. It’s no coincidence the lyrics talk about a sudden moment of clarity.

And on that note, this playlist is dedicated to all the Downlow / Maceos crew who have set the stage for so many of these times over the years. If you want to change the world, change the record. Stay safe and well everyone x

📖  Old notes  📖
Notes on culture
Notes on music

Notes on mental health

📃 The tracklist  📃
  1. Maxwell – Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)
  2. Blaze – Found Love
  3. Marvin Gaye – God Is Love
  4. Kleeer – I Shall Get Over
  5. Eighties Ladies – I Knew That Love
  6. Aquarian Dream – It Ain’t Watcha Say
  7. 4hero – Without Words
  8. N.E.R.D – Things Are Getting Better
  9. Mariah Carey (ft. Snoop Dogg) – Say Somethin’
  10. Reel People (ft. Vanessa Freeman) – The Light
  11. Arnold Davis – Rising Into Joy
  12. Jasper Street Co. – Till I Found U (DJ Spen & Karizma mix)
  13. Magou – More More More
  14. Norman Connors – Once I’ve Been There
  15. Melba Moore – You Stepped Into My Life
  16. Linda Williams – Elevate Our Minds
  17. The Brothers Johnson – Caught Up
  18. Henry Wu – Joint Seventeen
  19. T.Williams – Heartbeat
  20. Bobbi Humphrey – Harlem River Drive
  21. Manzel – Midnight Theme (Dopebrother 7 Inch remix)
  22. Barbara Mason – Don’t I Ever Cross Your Mind
  23. Melba Moore – Love’s Comin’ At Ya
  24. James Vincent – People Of The World
  25. B. Bravo – Midnite
  26. Ashanti – Happy
  27. Barbra Streisand (ft. Barry Gibb) – Guilty
  28. Mayer Hawthorne – Maybe So, Maybe No
  29. Bobbi Humphrey – You Make Me Feel So Good
  30. Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy
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See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

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