We have a small back bedroom which I refer to as the box room. This is on account of my having unceremoniously dumped several boxes of stuff in there shortly after we moved into the house four years ago. They have lain there unopened ever since. The mess in the room has, quite frankly, been driving poor Jen up the wall, so, last weekend, I decided to have a major throw-out.

It took me three hours to go through all the stuff in the boxes. I soon developed a simple but effective filtering rule: Books: keep. Non-books: chuck. I was amazed at how easy it was to chuck so many things that I didn't feel I should chuck four years ago.

I kept a few things which weren't books, of course (including an antique ostrich feather which was a present from Stense—yes, that's right, an ostrich feather), but most of it went straight into the Chuck pile. Then I opened my box of audio tapes:

I haven't listened to an audio tape for years; all my music is on CDs these days, with a bit of stuff you can't get on CD still on vinyl. I hadn't realised how many audio tapes I had amassed over the years—there must have been a few hundred. In the end, I chucked most of them, but there were a few tapes which were too sentimental to part with. Of these, by far the most important was a tape Hitchin did for me when we were at university in 1984.

1984 was the year I finally acquired a taste in music. Before then, I'd had very limited (and, let's be honest, shite) musical tastes. Then I got hooked on The Blues Brothers (still my favourite film), and asked Hitchin if he would do me a bluesy tape. The result was a compilation which I dubbed The Hitchin Connection. It wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but it certainly had bluesy moments—most notably Click Clack by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. More importantly, it was an absolutely cracking compilation. I played it over and over again. Twenty-one years later, and I reckon it has withstood the test of time remarkably well. It was a major influence on my musical tastes for the last two decades. Here, therefore, for posterity (and just in case I ever accidentally declutter the tape), is a track listing:

Side A Side B
Walk on the Wild Side
Lou Reed
Sultans of Swing
Dire Straits
Rock 'n' Roll
Lou Reed
Eastbound Train
Dire Straits
The Killing Moon
Echo & the Bunnymen
London Calling
The Clash
The Cutter
Echo & the Bunnymen
Brand New Cadillac
The Clash
Never Stop
Echo & the Bunnymen
Riders on the Storm
The Doors
White Riot
The Clash
Light My Fire
The Doors
Pretty Vacant
The Sex Pistols
Bring on the Dancing Horses
Echo & the Bunnymen
Let's Lynch the Landlord
Dead Kennedys
Bad Moon Rising
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Click Clack
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
Looking for Lewis and Clark
The Long Ryders
Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
The Old Fart at Play
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band
Frank's Wild Years
Tom Waits

Cool tape or what? (Don't blame Hitchin for the Dire Straits: that was my idea.)

The box room is totally empty now. Empty, that is, apart from the two wardrobes Jen unceremoniously dumped in there shortly after we moved into the house four years ago. Come on, Jen, stop being so bloody untidy will you? It's driving me up the wall!

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. Judging from your photo, I thought you were Chris Moyles using a nom de plume!

  2. Sorry about that! Some people say I look like an over weight Eric Clapton!
    No surprise me.

  3. Creedence Clearwater? you sad muppet! I once got sacked from a band I was in for refusing to sing Bad Moon Rising, Proud Mary, Imagine & Hi Ho Silver Bloody Lining. (Sadly, the last 2 I now sing in the music therapy group that I run in our psychiatric unit....see, music can damage your mind!) Funnily enough the most popular album with our patients is Dark Side of the Moon......

  4. Reminds me of the episode of The Simpsons where Homer is sent to a psychiatric hospital: Marge tries to phone him, but is put on hold The music in the background? Patsy Cline singing Crazy.

  5. By the way, if you ever want to ruin Bad Moon Rising for someone who loves it, sing along, but change the line "There's a bad moon on the rise" to "There's a bathroom on the right".

  6. We had a patient who, during "Streets of London" would sing "let me take you by the hand & lead you upstairs to the bedroom, I'll show you something to make you change your mind".
    It's amazing how many songs there are with references to sanity in the lyrics. Singing "Strawberry Fields" with the patients with the line "nothing to get hung about" can bring odd looks from the participants, especially as so many I have known took that route to their own personal oblivion.

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