Nick Short – Season 02 / Ep 09
A social force of nature
Where to start with this lovely, brilliant, hilarious hurricane of a man. Nic has only been in my life for the last few years but it feels like we have been friends my whole life. His voice, his experiences, his cultural touchstones, his worldview are all as familiar to me as English ale. And like real ale a few hours spent with the man give me a wonder-ful glow, and a headache (just kidding mate!).
By any objective measure Nic has led a fascinating life. Like any skil-ful raconteur, Nic has the gift of being able to package up its stories and chapters and present them with a full spectrum of emotion; happiness to heartbreak. Listen to this interview to understand what I mean. He got his start in publishing via charm, conversation, insight and smarts. He dreamed up a successful magazine, seemingly on the spur of the mo-ment, made it happen. I loved the story he tells here about how the name came to him and I love how he has lived a rich life alert to opportuni-ty, alive to possibility. And I love the way he has acted on these op-portunities to be a success in his business, a lesson in the ancient art of charm and the blag.
Nic is one of my spacemen who understood the ideas behind Heliosphere immediately, appreciated what it is I’m trying to do and agreed without hesitation to be marooned out past Pluto on Deep Space Station Gideon. I knew immediately that this would be a cracking interview, (with a crack-ing soundtrack!). This was reinforced when I read the eloquent, deeply personal pro forma he returned to me. It reads almost like a letter, frequently using my name to address me directly with his thoughts and emotions.
More than anyone else thus far, the horrible isolation at the very edge of our solar system provoked reactions I often felt guilty to trigger. The tears he cried here were the natural tears of a dedicated husband and father for whom the mere thought of separation from his loved ones was almost too much to bear. Again Nic, I apologise for putting you through this!
Listen then as an eloquent man with a ‘proper’ accent, ‘modern’ sensi-bilities and full access to his emotions goes deep into the adventure that leads him to his life today. But don’t listen if you have a sensi-tivity to fruity language, particularly the ‘F-bomb’.
1) That’ll be the day, Buddy Holly (00:17:23)
Purely because Father Christmas kindly delivered this into my stocking – Christmas 76/77. It needs to be noted that I have remained a massive fan ever since – and this style of music has had a heavy influence and still does. Although I am more than mod than rocker I have a huge soft spot for this genre of music. Perhaps it is the simple vocals and the guitar based sound.
To pick a track is a journey it itself and this process has allowed me to discover the joys of this collection – so I would have to pick the track that for me is the essence of rock n roll – simple structure, a tune that goes in and out and with a guitar solo supported by a double bass structure. Man what a tune with punch lyrics – “You say your going to leave but you know it’s a lie, cause that will be the day when I die”.
2) The power of love, Frankie goes to Hollywood (00:52:39)
Picked purely for the song first – and then the album. For me – the greatest Christmas song ever (apologies Snowman) and I mean ever made, released and bloody well sung – Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s -The Power of Love – I mean FFS – “I’ll protect you from the hooded claw!” – Christmas number 1 in 1984. The emotions evoked just typing this. Actual bloody tears.
And on an album that has Welcome To The Pleasure Dome, Two Tribes, Relax and Ferry Cross the Mersey even. Fuck me son what a belter of an album.
3) Bridge over troubled waters, Elvis Presley (01:19:56)
I have to have in my opinion the greatest male singing voice in this collection – in Elvis Presely. The issue is what bloody song – I mean the geezer sang more songs than any-one else – so I took the angle of live performances as well – and in the album That’s The Way It Is – we have the perfect blend of studio recorded and live recordings – and the live recording of Bridge Over Troubled Waters is truly epic in my mind, my ears and my eyes.
With 12 tracks – 8 studio and 4 live I am provided with the true experience of Elvis.
Sail On Sliver Girl!
But fuck me Chris – I am leaving out American Trilogy here!
4) 515, The Who (01:59:20)
Quadrophenia – in essence Chris this is what I am all about as an individual. I remember seeing the film many moons ago as a young lad (in my top 5 all time film) and the impact that this had and stills has on me is hard to describe. I’m a mod at heart and have really have been all my life (even if I didn’t know it at times). Perhaps one day I will get myself that Scooter I have always wanted.
I could really bang on about the album – and again writing this brings up so many emo-tions – it’s although I am still on the journey of discovery but knowing full well what is at the end. I can’t express properly how much I love this album Chris – I am actually l listening to it as I type.
There are two songs that are neck and neck, Love Reign O’er Me and 5.15 – Daltreys vo-cals on Love, Reign O’er Me are sensational – the rawness alone. But I will have to pick 5.15 – any song that starts with ‘Why should I care, why should I care?’ has my attention. The lyrics have me everytime – “Inside outside leave me alone, Inside Outside no where is home” Inside outside where Have I been? Out of my brain on the 5.15”
What a fucking band, what a fucking album and what a fucking experience.
Why Should I care? indeed Chris.
5) Live forever, Oasis (02:33:25)
This adventure cannot leave Oasis’s Definitely Maybe behind – I wouldn’t forgive myself. I’m sure thousands upon thousands of people have their reasons why this is right up there with the very best – mine are my reasons. Simply I don’t think I have ever been happier with where I was in my life – that care free happiness, the I don’t really give a fuck about anything happiness. Don’t get me wrong I love what I have now, my wife, my daughter and my friends but – when this came out (94 I think) it was a time of bliss and clarity in a strange way. Living in London (Soho) at this time as well only added to the joyfulness. We know the saying – soundtrack of our lives – well this really was the soundtrack of my life at this time. Of which was kick-started by the song of the album for me – Live Forever.
I remember watching the video one Saturday morning after an all night Friday night special in Tulse Hill – seeing Liam sitting in a chair on a wall signing “Maybe I really don’t want to know, how your garden grows cause I just want to fly!” just resonated with me – and still bloody well does.
I believe we could discuss every lyric of this song, and every song on this album until the cows come home – and that in itself is just one reason why this album is safely by side at all times.
6) History, Holy Holy (02:48:05)
Now then – this one has been the hardest of them all, mate I have been choosing and re-turning so many albums but then in a moment of clarity it became an easy decision. The clues where right in front of me – this whole process has been a journey for me personally and a wonderful journey to boot. Throwing up so many memories and so many emotions – a fantastic experience. And so the final choice fitted in perfectly – ties in with everything that has helped make me who I am, where I have been and where I am now – Australian indie rock band Holy Holy.
I was lucky enough to see them play live around 3 years ago at work related conference – and ever since I have been enamored with them – as a live band they are truly something special (I think I have seen them 3 or 4 times now) – Timothy Carrolls soothing vocals al-ways take me somewhere and Oscar Dawson on the guitar is something to be witnessed – the combination is magic. I can’t express how much I fucking love this band. The album would have to be their debut album When The Storms Would Come. I would be happy to have any one of the 10 great tracks on here – but one that just sticks with me a tad more than any of the others would have to be History:
All I want is to hold a little piece
Of HISTORY between my teeth
It’s cold and hard like mother’s grief
I’d risk it all just to feel my burning skin
The water’s cool and closing in
The dark pulls black and let it in
And the crawling tongue of fear
Exactly at your ear
And the only risk you take
Is that all of your mistakes survive
Captain – Hard, isn’t it!
Too bloody right – I mean Chris you have made me leave behind Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Phil Collins’ Face Value, Primal Screams’ Screamadelica, Saint Entienne’s Fox Base Al-pha – no Blur, Neil Diamond, Miles Davis, no room for Stereophonics, Massive Attack, I mean no Beatles – NO BEATLES! The list is endless – but as this exercise has taught me – it really is a personally journey with personal choices – with no right or wrong choices – just my choices.
7) Lucky man, The Verve (03:20:55)
I have really been struggling here – numbers 6 and 7 are the business end of this journey – and perhaps the word ‘journey’ is the key to this choice – as this album has been a con-stant companion of mine wherever and whenever I have travelled, and I couldn’t really think of any other album that I would want to listen to whilst floating around in space – The Verve’s Urban Hymns.
I think as the years have passed by the better this album becomes, from the anthemic Bit-ter Sweet Symphomy to the lighter waving crowd-pleasing songs Sonnet, and Drugs Don’t Work. It’s also pretty hard not to be highly engaged Catching The Butterly, but for me the one song that leaps out at me, wraps its’ arms around me and pulls on those emotional strings that we all have that are triggered by music and lyrics it has to Lucky Man – FFS I mean “But how many corners do I have turn? How many times do I have to learn All the love I have is in my mind?” and “Happiness More or less It’s just a change in me Some-thing in my liberty” – I am indeed a Lucky Man!
Now finally, along with all Douglas Adams’ written works (Google if you’re not familiar with him), please tell me:
Your chosen religious text (if any)
This had me thinking – I’m overtly religious in any way – I do feel that at the end our days here we continue on elsewhere – don’t ask me where. I just find it difficult to believe that at the end there is nothing – I can’t see the point of being here if that is the case – each to their own though. So I could get my hands on a deciphered copy (with images) of The Pyr-amid Texts then this would be my choice – always intrigued me they have!
Your choice of book
I have two – neck and neck so either one would do for me – both of them I could reread – in fact it has been a few years since I read the first – Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – an epic tale! And rather apt I would say for where we are going. The other The Master and Marga-rita by Mikhail Bulgakov – Moscow, two demons, a beautiful naked witch and a huge black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka.
Your luxury item (that may be neither alive nor an aid to escape)
I would have my favourite photo of my Millie – sums her up to this day x.
The one piece of music or album you would choose of your seven if you could have only one
I reckon I would be more than happy for The Whos’ Quadrophenia to be the only piece of music that was available to me. Most of me could stem from here.