Letter #42

Buenos días,

I hope you’ve had a good week! It’s a double bank holiday here in the UK, so it’s an extra long weekend. Where ever you are in the world, I hope this soundtrack lifts you up, makes you dance, and then pops you back down gently again.

There’s a whole load of new people this week, so here’s a quick tour; this bit is the intro, the link to the mixtape is below (big red button), there’s a collection of music and culture stuff that I found interesting this week (TL:DR), and then below that there’s some rambling notes on the letter.

A friend (hi James!) recently joined us and told me that the last three mixtape’s had been really varied, which was nice to hear. I’m always self-conscious people might think it’s becoming a bit ‘colour by numbers’. I hope not. Well, anyway, this week’s mixtape is, I think, different again. Putting it together this week has been more fun than usual (and it’s usually a lot of fun). I’ve found / re-found some brilliant music this week ❤️.

I hope you enjoy it.

🌪 TL;DR section 🌪
Stuff to do: listen to Gabriel (one of us!) be interviewed on Nemone’s Electric Ladylandread about the mastering genius behind some of the world’s greatest albums; watch the brilliant artist behind Aphex Twin’s artwork discuss his work; read a brilliant NPR piece about how Dilla was a modern Miles, or Herbie; read about why Questlove needs to join Love Will Save the Day; and watch an amazing film from RA exploring the links between post-punk and no-wave, and electronica (hopefully demonstrated in last week’s letter).

Bonus: after my introvert / extrovert comments last week, here’s a good piece on why making friends as an adult is terrifying but also brilliant (honestly).

Request: if you’re female and you’d like to write a guest letter – please get in touch!

📚 The notes 📚
Writing this letter each week is a pretty cathartic act. If I’ve had a tough week, I think you can probably hear it (and usually, I’d imagine you can guess it from the letter). A good week, and I think you’ll notice too. This week was a great week 😊. I consider myself incredibly lucky to do something everyday that I really, properly love. My day is spent trying to understand, analyse, and explain culture. Along with my obsession with finding music and sharing it with people I love, this letter acts as a sort of exhaust to everything I do. This week’s letter and mixtape has been shaped by a week of highs, and there are a number of songs that have soundtracked my week.

It’s rare for me to build a playlist around a handful of songs. Usually I’ve got maybe 15-20 must-play songs, I string them together and then as I’m putting them all together I remember other songs that I feel fit right alongside them. This week, there are six stand out songs for me. Each song represents a different part of my week, and each is a brilliant song that I’ve tried to build the mixtape around.

Saturday: listening to The Cure on Huey Morgan’s show on 6 Music with Effie (my daughter).
Monday: watching the sun rise above the sea on the train into work listening to Morcheeba.
Tuesday: walking into a massive client meeting (I work in advertising) on hearing a Gil-Scott Heron track right before I opened the door.
Wednesday: sitting in the back of a cab as I arrive at another big client meeting listening to the amazing Marcus Marr track.
Thursday: thinking about our global agency conference in Edinburgh a few weeks ago and remembering asking someone for a track ID for this Dark Sky track playing behind a mood film 😂.

And finally, listening to Caribou’s Can’t Do Without You as I write this letter. I must’ve heard this song a hundred times, but its impact never lessens. For me, this song represents everything that is brilliant about music. I always get goosebumps, but if I’m being honest, I almost always have a little happy cry. (Like right now.)

As I come to the end of the John Peel book I’m reading, I realise more and more why trying to be ‘cool’ matters so little. I’ve never really been bothered by it (as my friends will attest!), but I’ve always been weary of being too cheesy. I’m now declaring bankruptcy on anything cool. If I want to show the similarities between The Cure and George Michael, I will 😂. Good music is good music (as long as it’s not ‘comedy music’ or country and western 😫).

A lot of what I’m trying to do with this letter is explore different cultures, feelings, and thoughts. That might sound a bit deep, but let me ask you a question: do certain songs give you goosebumps? I’m going to (safely) presume that was a yes. Next question: have you danced with other people before? Again, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to assume a yes. Finally, there is evidence to show that the ‘collective feeling’, or ‘universal vibration’ that people feel on dance floors (usually exemplified by goosebumps) is an actual scientific fact. When we experience something that moves us at the same time, our heartbeats synchronise. David Mancuso was right…

This is all about finding your centre. I found mine on a sweaty dance floor. You might’ve found yours in a moshpit, at a gig, or sat in a concert hall. The most important thing is that you’ve found it. There’s a gentleman called Umair Haque who wrote a lovely article this week on finding your centre. I’d implore you to read it. He believes that;

“The center is the place we that we find it all. Happiness, meaning, purpose, because we are at the center of ourselves. That place, the center, is where we come home, at last. It cost me fifty cents to get there. It took me a lifetime to learn how. That it is only reached with the strength of mercy, the might of gentleness, and the freedom of abandoning all that one never was at all.”

Hopefully this sounds familiar.

On a final note, I’m recording the first Love Will Save the Day show this weekend – I’ll send out a little note when I do, as I’m going to record it live.

As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.

See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

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