In the first of a new regular on the ‘Bubble’, Mr Hodson takes us through his ‘Desert Island Discs’ – songs that have been important at different times in his life. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too pretentious or nauseating… We can but hope.
Childhood: ‘Octopus’s Garden’ – The Beatles
My mother had an old-fashioned record player when my brother and I were small. We used to listen to it after dinner. It was very important to Mum, and she still uses it today. For a brief period of our childhoods it lived in the dining room, and I am suffused by a warm feeling when I recall those evenings of post-prandial animation. Sometimes, late in the evening, I’d come back downstairs if I couldn’t sleep and find Mum listening to the more esoteric end of her record collection: Kate Bush, Keith Jarrett, Prince and the Revolution… But it was the greatest hits of The Beatles we boys always demanded.
You can’t listen to this song and not feel cheery; and it’s nice they found something for Ringo to do, as he wasn’t much of a drummer. For some reason there’s a baby elephant in the video.
School Days: ‘Black Hole Sun’ – Soundgarden
I went to Wymondham College. Some of you will regard it as the randomest architectural hotch-potch in East Anglia, but to me it is a special place. Although sporting and academic success was valued there, the only real capital to be had was being in a band. So in year 8 I begged for – and inevitably received – an electric guitar. I was useless for what felt like a long time, and being at a boarding school for free-minded individuals I was surrounded by older students who could play gain-laden power ballads and guitar riffs that so intoxicated the humble listener he’d melt into an all-encompassing grin worthy of the Cheshire Cat. One such riff I remember hearing a Year 11 in my house play, and loving it, was the opening to this smouldering number. I can play it now!
The video’s a bit weird, but so’s being a teenager, so I guess it fits here.
University: ‘Master Song’ – Leonard Cohen
Being in a band didn’t work out for me so I had to settle for a place at Oxford University (is it statements like that that mean I have no friends?). Oxford is wonderful city and a wonderful university, but university life wasn’t always straightforward. I don’t have regrets looking back because you can’t change who you’ve been; it’s facile to reflect on what you’d ‘have done differently’. At the same time I do wish I’d been a little bit more relaxed!
Leonard Cohen is an extraordinary lyricist; his music means a great lot to many. Listening to a huge amount of his material at any one time is never a good thing though.
Teaching: ‘Zombie’ – Fela Kuti
Not because it was my hero Colin Morgan’s nickname as a young teacher; not as a hackneyed protest against the brainwashing of children in schools, as the title might imply; nor even because I’ve been glancing out of the same classroom window for the last 9 years. The reason behind this choice is in fact trivial: for the best part of a year in 2008-9, rather than telling my year 8 pupils they could leave at the end of a lesson, I’d hit YouTube, get this song up, click on 9minutes 01secs, and let Fela do the rest… And that’s what make me such a funny guy.