If you don’t mind, this is a slightly self indulgent post, so feel free to stop reading at this point if you are not interested.
This week marks a year since I started playing Readers Recommend. Its been a lot of fun, and I wanted to share a few thoughts about it, including revisiting the six A listers that I have had since I began playing.
Several years ago I had stumbled across the RR blog, when I was google searching something about a song, I can’t really remember, but I didn’t really pay much attention. I got whatever I was searching for and moved on without giving it much more thought. In more recent times though, the Guardian had launched their Australian news website, which is largely the UK version with a little bit extra Australian content. So in June 2014, I was on the main page of the website looking at the news of the day, when I saw a link to Readers Recommend, songs about taxis, and decided to follow it and add some thoughts of my own.
The first song I ever nominated was Flagfall $1.80 by You Am I. Although that was, in my mind, an excellent on topic suggestion, the guru had another approach and it didn’t make the A list. But what did strike me was that I was immediately met with a sense of inclusiveness and friendliness from a number of RR regulars. In particular, people like DarceysDad, Beltway Bandit and Tincanman (and maybe others, I forget), took the time to welcome me. DsD even took the time to click on the link and listen to my song, and he provided me with my first ever dond, for a song that he didn’t even know before I suggested it!
I was really struck by this amount of kindness – music fans have a particular reputation for being quite snobbish, and intolerant of others musical tastes, but on RR, there seems to be a lot of mutual respect, and if you don’t like something, you tend to keep that to yourself rather than slag off others nominations…I really like this element of the community, all music tastes are welcome and not judged. And there has been so many examples of genuine care of support over my time here – to name but a few, the kind words directed to Peter Kimption, DsD and sonofwebcore following the loss of loved ones, really shows that this is so much more than just an internet forum.
My first A list would come two weeks after I started playing, for the topic of murder. This was a popular topic, easily making it over 1000 posts, and I thought I had no chance, so I was quite surprised to read Marco’s column and find Paul Kelly’s God Told Me To on the list. It’s the song of a religious fanatic who kills in the name of god. Wonderful stuff.
My second A lister, would come not long after that on the topic of making things. I was supremely confident about this one, as I had read many of the other suggestions and didn’t think they were enough on topic. So I thought my suggestion – Seasick Steve’s Diddley Bo, was going to be a shoo-in. It turned out it was, but this was a very bad lesson to learn, as there is no such thing as a shoo-in in RR land, and there has not been a time since then when my confidence about the merits of my suggestion has equated to getting an A list.
Towards the end of July 2014, still a novice to the game, I decided to take a guru stint, and so I was at the helm for the Jones and Joneses topic. The topic suggestion was all mine, and it was quite interesting to watch some of the regulars reaction to it. Chinny thought it was an odd topic, Maki felt it gave him no opportunities to nominate flamenco music, Beltway was almost ready to nominate pop band Aqua…but nonetheless, there was some great song suggestions, and I produced a column that I was quite happy with.
Fast forward a month, towards the end of August, and A list number three came along, but one I am a little sheepish about. The topic was precious stones, and although some good songs had been mentioned, many of them just mentioned stones in passing. I thought there was a definite opportunity to get an A lister this week. I was searching for lyrics for a song I had nominated, and I came across Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris’s track I Dug Up a Diamond. I listened to it, and I liked what I heard, so I decided to nominate it. I am still a little sheepish about receiving this A lister, as it wasn’t a song that I knew previously, and it is questionable about whether that was truly in the spirit of the game. But I do like the song…so it was a genuine recommendation.
My fourth A lister came in September, and it was Paul Kelly again, this time for the topic of Justice, and From Little Things Big Things Grow. This week was also notable for another reason, as I also got my first B lister – Johnny Cash’s “Jacob Green”. What an interesting pattern – to have four A listers before you got your first B lister.
And so, here I was in September, having only been playing for a three months, I had stats of four A listers, and one B lister. I know that has in the past been a week’s work for some of the champions of this game, but I still thought it was a reasonably respectable effort, especially considering that by the time I am able to get to the game each week (due to time differences), most of the really low hanging fruit has already been nominated.
But then the A list drought started, and I wouldn’t get another A lister until January. I did however, pick up some B listers along the way – five of them in fact, and so my record of having more A listers than B listers disappeared. One of the B listers I am particularly proud of was getting USA for Africa’s “We Are the World” B listed, for the topic of excess. I still think it was a great effort to get a charity song that was made to raise money to fight famine (which is probably the polar opposite of excess) onto the list. This probably remains the single best justification for a song suggestion that I have written so far…and one of my proudest moments when bluepeter’s B list post comments acknowledged me by name saying it was a great justification.
So onto that January A lister – Billy Bragg and Wilco’s Hot Rod Hotel for the topic of hotels. A great tale from the Woody Guthrie lyrics, which tells the story of a disgruntled hotel employee who quits after having to clean up after some particularly disrespectful hotel patrons.
And then, another run of five B listers in a row before I managed to pick up another A lister – and it was trusty Paul Kelly again, for Beautiful Promise. Bluepeter described this song so well in his write up when he stated it was “hauntingly simplistic”. A much better description than the one that I had used in my nomination of it.
During twelve months of joining in, I have also migrated across to the Spill here, and have enjoyed participating in the earworms segment (although I have been a bit slack recently – both from reading and providing links), and then I even found the facebook page, and a further opportunity to interact with all these lovely music lovers from across the world. You never know when you will end up having a conversation about music, children, cricket or even Fosters beer!
So to all of you people, thank you for allowing me to join in with Readers Recommend, on the mothership and also the Spill and the Facebook page. Well not just joining in, but for making me feel so welcome. It really is an honour to be a part of this community. I have spent many a time in the office when I should be working, or at home when I should be sleeping, reading the posts, and trying to come up with that perfect A list suggestion. Or indeed worrying that although I have that perfect suggestion, I don’t have the words to articulately justify why it is the perfect one…
So if you have made it through this post by now, and are still interested, I have included a youtube playlist of my A list songs to date. May there be many more to come.
Deanofromoz – vital statistics (up to RR Building songs – June 4th 2015)
- A Listed songs – Six (2014 = 4, 2015 so far = 2)
- B listed songs – Eleven (2014 = 5, 2015 so far = 6)
- Number of times a multi lister (A and or B) = three times (justice, seduction, itinerants)
- Times as guru – one (Jones and Joneses)
Cheers to Readers Recommend!