get the picture?

When we asked a pal to suggest a tune of the day for us, we didn't expect him to write a post too. But he did, all about his musical journey. Well not all of our posts have to be about comms, right?

by Tom Phillips 

I can’t sing. I can’t really play a note. However, my life is ruled by music.

I’ve been accumulating my collection since I was about 14 (1968 if you’re interested), and the amalgamation that rules a complete room at home is the epitome of “eclectic”.

As I get older, and memory begins to fail, the music is a vital reminder of “time and place”; far more vivid than any diary can ever be. I can recall who, what or where I was when I first heard some songs. Others are maybe the only memory I have of somewhere or someone from a long-ago part of life.

I’d never been particularly analytical about why some pieces were my enduring favourites, until someone challenged me to come up with a personal “Desert Island Discs” set. Initially I said “Easy!” and reeled off eight albums with which I’d be happy to live out my days. “No, you can’t take whole albums, just eight tracks.” Of course.

It was agony, and took me all of 18 months. Somewhere I have the draft of  a half-written book about those eight tracks and the process of selecting them. I’m content I got the choices right first go, too. That seems to be the mark of a good Desert Island Discs selection – you don’t want to alter it even when something new comes along.

Despite what I’ve already said, if all the choices had been related to where I once was, what I was once doing, and so on, I’d actually have been a little disappointed. What I really, really love are songs that play a video in my head. There’s five of those in my eight tracks. You know what I mean? Songs so vivid that you don’t just hear and “feel” them, you see them too.

Until fame, Kirsty Young, or both, come knocking on my door, I’ll keep my Desert Island choices under wraps. Along the way to reaching the magic eight I courted and discarded many others. I have a collection of about 40 of what I call “the best of the rest”. They are the backbone of the collection on my ‘phone, and seldom far from reach. And so many of these create for me a visual kaleidoscope of narrative and emotion whenever I play them. They don’t just entertain, inform or communicate with me. They actually involve me. I’m there, watching, hearing.

So, my taster for you all is this: the classic Richard Thompson song “Vincent 1952 Black Lightning” here performed live by the man himself:

Listen, watch and live it!

After a lifetime in local government, Tom has these days reinvented himself as a freelance photographer and social media trainer, mainly working with voluntary organisations. His web site is

image via Wikipedia Commons

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