Chloe is the fabulously fun owner of Life’s Big Canvas ( Winner of Best Jewellery accolade at Leeds Retail Awards 2011/12) situated in the indie treasure trove that is Bird’s Yard. Here’s her playlist of songs which have had a great reaction in the shop (for one reason or another).
I have a very specific playlist of tracks I play in the shop, even though everyone just thinks I listen to Beastie Boys all day. I’ve picked ten which have a memory attached to them, mostly shop related, but all of them are in a playlist I have on my MP3 player called ‘shop’ to save me having to think too much about what to play.
As I type this, I have The Monkees on, but this list includes The Shamen, Brendan Benson, Supertramp, Jurassic 5, Eric Satie, 2 Many DJs… It’s basically anything which will make working in a shop easier for me, as well as hopefully creating a playful atmosphere for browsing.
1. MARRS – Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)I’m choosing this one as I remember talking about it with Wendy (who runs this site) and how it’s the B side of ‘Pump Up The Volume’. MARRS are made up of Colourbox and AR Kane, and my brother always said, although it not sure if its true, that the AR in MARRS is because of AR Kane.AR Kane are one of the most underrated bands of all time, although I’ve seen them mentioned recently in an interview with Andrew Weatherall, who covered ‘A Love From Outer Space’. Their trippy indie/dance crossover seemed to appeal across the board in the early 90s, and since everyone is wearing the same clothes now, perhaps they’ll have a resurgence.2. Cat Stevens – If You Want to Sing Out, Sing OutMost people know Cat Stevens from ‘Father and Son’ which that there Boyzone covered. We bought his Best Of just for this track, but since then I’ve found it useful background noise in the shop on quiet days.One day, someone came in whilst this was playing, and we had a chat about what a great film Harold and Maude is. I truly hope Cat Stevens will be remembered more for his soundtrack of that cult 70s film about a doomed love affair between a teenager and a pensioner than five Irish singers.3. Beck – Lost Cause‘Sea Change’ by Beck is one of my favourite albums, and one I continually argue with people about. Even though its a break-up album, I don’t think it’s downbeat – I personally find it uplifting, but my husband makes me skip tracks when they come up on shuffle because they are, as he puts it, ‘depressing’.One day this was playing in the shop, and the customer sighed. She turned and said, ‘this is my favourite Beck album, ‘ and we talked about how we must be the only people who hear it and cheer up.4. Whale – Hobo Humpin’ Slobo BabeI don’t remember much about this band except the singer had braces and I used to stomp around dancing to it in Cambridge in the early 90s.When it came up on shuffle, I was chatting to a colleague, and she squeaked, and said she used to love the song – which led into a discussion about how much we missed going clubbing and dancing to indie music, which unfortunately ended up with me trying to console her (without hugging her) because I made her cry with memories.5. Los Campesinos – You! Me! Dancing!This was on a mixtape CD the lovely Sarah sent me, and I spent many happy weeks with it being the only CD in my shop (due to laziness).One day it was playing as a couple browsed. The track had recently been used on a Budweiser advert, so when he turned to her and said, ‘oh this is that band,’ I assumed he meant this. As they continued talking, it turned out he meant it’s the band his cousin is in. He then told me how proud he was of his cousin, and it was so sweet I’ve always remembered that.6. ELO – Diary of Horace WimpI’ve always loved ELO and their ridiculous, pompous orchestral songs. My dad will tell me every year in December that he never saw them play live because it snowed in Spalding so he couldn’t go…. And it never snows in Spalding.I had it on the other week when a twitter friend popped in. She told me she remembered her Dad having it on a tape in the car, and I talked about the gatefold vinyl. Do ELO remind everyone of their dads?7. White Stripes – Your Southern Can is MineI often have days of just listening to White Stripes. Usually people recognise some of them, and complain about the live versions of stuff cause its a racket.One day some girls came in, who were incredibly well turned out, with long, straight hair, skinny jeans, and huge heels.They didn’t seem to be my usual customers, so I didn’t chat too much, thinking they were in the shop for the upstairs boutique. But then this song came on my stereo; it’s the final track on De Stijl, the album they released before White Blood Cells which broke them in this country.Suddenly this very well dressed girl I thought I had little in common with started singing along. I looked up, surprised, and we shared a laugh, and then started talking about how amazing Jack White is, and she admired the tattoo on my hand (which most people don’t even realise is a White Stripes reference). It made me realise I’d judged her on her looks, and I felt ashamed.8. Ween – Push Th’ Little DaisiesThere are a few tracks which come on, and cause the reaction “What The Fuck Is This?”, either in words from a colleague, a disgusted gurn from a customer, or a glance between two people browsing.Of all the songs which are on my shop playlist, this gets that reaction the most. The first time I heard it, I felt the same. Now I can’t hear it without smiling and shrieking in a falsetto voice – even if its on the inside.9. Adam Ant – Apollo 9I listen to this every single day without fail. I dare you not to like it. How can you not enjoy someone singing ‘whoops-en a whoops-en’?I’ve included this here, as even though it has no specific story attached to a customer, it was probably playing on the day a particular customer wandered in. She spent literally an hour looking around, picking up everything, smiling to herself. I asked a few times if she was ok, and she just said, “I’m really enjoying myself thanks.”Finally she came to the counter with a couple of things, I can’t remember what but cheap badges or something. I said something like, “wow you put a lot of thought into that,” to which she replied, “I don’t think I’ve ever had such a lovely time, looking at all these things, and listening to your music. You have very good taste in both.” I sincerely felt like crying.10. The Black Keys – Little Black SubmarinesThis is the most recent song which gets the reaction, “oh, who does this track?” I don’t know if it appears on an advert or a film or something, but I usually find out later it has done and that’s why everyone asks about it.I think part of the problem is The Black Keys have done that contrary musician thing of not calling the track by what they say the most – “a broken heart is blind”. This is something which Ian and I continually argue about, me on the side of the defence. Musicians should call songs by whatever they want, not just so people can find it easily. That’s why it’s a shame record shops are all closing. The amount of times I went in them before leaving home, sung a bit of a song, and then been told what it’s called so I could buy it – I really miss that.
Even better than that – go and visit her in person in her shop at Bird’s Yard, 83 Kirkgate, Leeds LS2 7DJ. Great for picking up fantastic unique gifts for loved ones or yourself, having a lively debate about music and plenty of laughs.