Looking for the Dog a bit Harder.
In this section I shall describe why I chose each of the chapter title songs in my book. All those available on Spotify are included on the Spotify playlist sharing its name with the title of my book. I feel all the songs are there on merit and, if you like, by force of nature, from the Beatles to the Super Biton de Segou band of Mali. Do click on the green Spotify link if you'd like to listen while reading this. Looking for Prince Charles’s Dog is the story of my journey to recovery from paranoid schizophrenia with all my royalties not just from the book but eg subsequent film projects etc going to charity. Music is an important part of most people’s lives and I am no exception. It is my hope that those in a position to do so get the various rare songs not currently available up and as soon as I notice they are I can add them. Of course there were quite a few songs which helped etch moments in the journey into my head and also of course helped
keep me going and the joy of the playlist is they can feature too in all their glory alongside the works at the tops of each chapter and a few of these are mentioned below. So here goes.
It’s All Too Much by The Beatles. Originally the Introduction of my book had Live To Tell by Madonna at the top. Though I think she lives in Great Britain when I heard the lesser known George Harrison Beatles song playing in my brother’s garden years after I achieved recovery I thought it sounded decades ahead of its time and on listening in further decided it was perfect to start my story with. I think I had maybe only ever heard it before in the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine film, and felt it needed a new avenue itself. And there’s no doubt the book was to start on a British note (but Madonna is still on the playlist as I explained!).
Seashell by the Flashapjacks. This song actually features in the text as the band, my brother’s band, were playing it live at the mini festival near Bedford at the start of chapter 1. A sort of trippy number to chill out to and set the scene after George Harrison’s exhortations. Has lots of samples so although have agreed to release it may be problematic with getting permission!
Part of the Fire by Caroline Lavelle. This was only a demo cassette Caroline gave me and seemed to work well with the idea of my book as a journey both geographically and through my security service delusions and ruminations. I did ask her if she fancied recording it properly but the song had morphed into a separate song with her band Secret Sky. Nice reggae bass line. The song hints at what really was the terrible secret I learned over my 10 years in and out of NHS asylums and hospitals which is that NHS staff go to work and inject psychiatric patients with torture drugs which drive many to suicide. I also think she may have been thinking about my Great Fire of London charity boat party mentioned in the story when she wrote it.
Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel. This one is easy: I climb Solsbury Hill in its chapter! And “I was feeling part of the scenery, I walked right out of the machinery”! The lyrics say it all really but just to let you know the eagle is the symbol of my home town Bedford.
I’ll Find My Way Home by Jon and Vangelis. This was playing from the stereo we fitted to the ex Army Bedford truck I was travelling from Bedford to Nairobi on as we camped on the beach in Tunis December 1983. I was finding my way home to my tribal homeland my ancestor left, oh I don’t know, 100,000 years ago?
Mana Mani by Salif Keita and the Ambassadeurs. The cassette of the album this was on was playing out of the record shop in Agadez on the southern edge of the Sahara desert when I arrived January 1984. Never knew what he was singing about but it sounded so joyful and musically accomplished it was always going to be at the start of this chapter. Mentions Allah!
Highlanders by Zexsie Manatsa and the Green Arrows. This is a Zimbabwean football fan song. Always just loved this style of music and it fitted well with the game of football my fellow travellers and I played against a team from a Cameroonian agricultural college who did some welding to our truck in return for a game against us!
Blow by 2nd Skin. Hard shoe gaze off the Richter scale and not to be confused with the American goth rockers Second Skin whom they predate. This is all ready to be released on my label, Emotional Clive Records. Don’t know exactly what he is singing about but we all know blow means cannabis and like the music it was also real Richter scale stuff the day I smoked some weed bought from the pygmies at Mt Hoyo Eastern Zaire May 3rd 1984. Not sure how I recovered (if I ever really did).
Alioune Sissòko by Super Biton de Segou. The album with this on was playing somewhere in West Africa and I went into the record shop where they had one vinyl copy of each record, sang it, and they recorded a bootleg cassette off the vinyl which I bought. Sums up the mysterious majesty of West Africa just perfectly “in my book” if not auditing royalty collection. No idea what they are singing about again except have vague recollection it is a funeral song for an African the song is named after who was murdered somewhere in Europe.
Cheduke Chose (the Fish and Chip song) by the Bhundu Boys. Another Zimbabwean number, though I never made it beyond Nairobi. The Bhundus gave such joy to anyone who saw them eg at the Mean Fiddler in London during the short period they were active mid/late 1980s. I had an AIDS panic when I got back from Africa but was given the all clear. Sadly most of the band died of AIDS though. I think the song was written in Great Britain hence the translated title.
Don’t Worship Me by Pele. From The Sport of Kings album which came into my possession by, if you like, divine intervention. Quite a few songs were in competition to get in the chapters describing the wonderful summer of 1994 before I got sectioned for the first time. I wasn’t falling into the trap other patients had done though of thinking they were a religious figure/folk hero, wouldn’t mind shaking hands with the Queen mind you which he sings about in the song. Fat Black Heart, The Word Is, Oh Lord Part 2/The Chosen One and the title track alone from this album went into an impressive holding pattern even back then 25 years ago. Only the former of these is currently up on Spotify but I promise you these all will all go up when available.
Mystery by the Indigo Girls. Again this came into my possession in an unusual way the song turning out to be one about an Irish Republican and a British hard Brexiteer making hay for their respective charities out of the disappearance of Prince Charles’s dog. Yeah right!
Colour-blind by Ringo. Before they became Ringo, Railroad Earth got me going in the music industry before they ran off to record their Call it Home album for the REM manager Jefferson Holt on his record label Dog Gone Records. When I heard this recording it reminded me of the dream I had had to record their album like Lloyd Cole and the Commotion’s Rattlesnakes album. Had to be in my book somehow.
My Suitor by Berntholer. Chose this one for my Brussels trip chapter seeming to recall the band are Belgian along with in the following chapter Lonely Rainbows by Vanessa Paradis on her album I bought in Paris which I drove to from Brussels. The 2 songs together hint at my later secret psychiatric patient peace process missions undercover of perfectly sane insanity.
Standing on my Head by The Seahorses. Another man on a mission number this one. Made me do a headstand in a field up a hill north west of Bedford! Because I could!
The March of the King of Laois by Paul Dooley. Paul Dooley is a master harpist of the old wire strung Irish harp and I found him playing his diddy harp in the street in Galway and bought his cassette on which this was the first number. Reminds me of 2 things: the bliss of using public transport and letting the train take the strain and, again, the way other psychiatric patients would think they were some sort of folk hero, monarch, if not deity!
We Are The Diddy Men by Ken Dodd. Not quite serious for the film soundtrack but I chose it as in that jolly affair of a chapter I did ring Ken Dodd’s doorbell. He wasn’t in. After meeting with diddy men intelligence I am making his Happiness the chapter song in the 2nd edition.
London Loves by Blur. Somewhere in the book I said the Indigo Girls’ Swamp Ophelia and Pele’s The Sport of Kings albums best summed up my summer of 1994. Would probably have said Blur’s Parklife album too but it has greyhound racing on the sleeve which is an unfortunate affair for ex racing dogs. From it this number kind of neatly described where I had got to quite well one night in Menai.
My Best Friend Paranoia by William Orbit. This is from the Plus from Us album recorded by musicians who played on Peter Gabriel’s Us album. It happened to be in my stereo as I drove through Dumfries and Galloway on my way for my first trip to Ulster just prior to the 1994 PIRA ceasefire. All felt a bit mysterious and portentous!
Revolution by the Pretenders. Even as I arrived in Belfast for the first time any voice in my head telling me not to be silly what could I do for peace in Ireland was being drowned out by a snowballing of positivity driven by a little mania my mental state entailed. The lyrics, written by an American, seemed a natural reach out to the Irish Republican side. I have a copy of my book which I have scrawled tunings on for the 2nd edition and note I have decided to swap round this chapter title song with the following chapter’s I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2 which is currently the next song and obviously could not possibly have been left out!
Psychological Warfare by Bolt Thrower. This is a song on the first CD I ever bought or listened to Hardcore Holocaust the Peel Sessions and if my book is not about psychological warfare I don’t know what is.
Complete Control by The Clash. A bit laughable of me to suggest I was in complete control at this point of my book unless you argue I knew exactly what was going on and the chapter proves it. A defiant note from Joe Public as I proceeded into NHS psychiatric care (or, if your prefer, into a secret Soviet reprogramming centre for the proletariat).
Confide in Me by Kylie Minogue. I remember this playing on the ward there, a place I noted Ian Curtis would have been inspired by. The place, the song, and the time had a mysterious air to it and really complemented the previous summer as I began my 10 year creative writing course. As was often the case with all these songs it seemed the artist was singing to me there and then, or maybe even having put the record on in the studio, with no little degree of empathy and exhortation.
Sun Bursts In by Eyeless in Gaza. This one is not contemporaneous with the story in any way. I just wanted a bright optimistic number to comment on waking up after my first night in accommodation on the side of Malvern beacon as I returned to work the sun streaming in to my bedroom. In the 2nd edition I am changing this one to No More I Love You’s by The Eurythmics which was on Top of the Pops one night during the month I was working here. Imagined the result of this would be a tricky question for somebody with Looking for Prince Charles’s Dog as their specialist subject on Mastermind giving Eyeless In Gaza a free bit of promo on the programme!
Turn To Red by Killing Joke. This and the next 2 chapters were no little apocalyptic interlude and this number was a must and with the Indigo Girls’ (I should say the other Indigo Girl’s!) Dead Man’s Hill you could not really get better commercial off the shelf comment on my progress or indeed personal advice as to my way ahead. And it should be said that as I actually wrote the book years later the songs I was picking (or picked themselves) helped me resolve to getting it all down! Wilderness by Joy Division goes with these two as I got through an inspiring sort of SAS/PIRA drugs trip. I actually saw the band perform this song live in retrospect it being a comment/premonition of PIRA prisoner suffering, let alone mine. The song, I feel, shows me reaching out to the other side in the peace process and is, in my book, the point where Francis Hughes, Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O’Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee and Michael Devine get a mention these being the “unknown martyrs” of the song and the very symbol of over 3,000 people who died in the troubles. New Dawn Fades by Joy Division was the working chapter title for the Wilderness chapter.
The Love Cats by The Cure. A sort of Macbeth comic scene number this one where I was arrested and imprisoned at HMP Wandsworth for “stealing a kitten” the only crime that actually took place being the theft of a tin of Sheba cat food by staff in the prison!
Here Comes the Flood by Peter Gabriel. As in the lyrics “I took the old track” walking 10 or 12 miles in the dark down the Bedford to Bletchley railway line, Peter Gabriel having some quiet words in my ear as I did so. “If again the seas are silent, in any still alive, it’ll be those who gave their island [or book royalties] to survive”.
She’s So High by Blur. I was crippled emotionally for a year or two after events in September ’94 and this song might be seen as a comment on that though actually I chose it just to capture the times in general.
We Wait and We Wonder by Phil Collins. This song was playing on BBC Radio 1 as I drove out from the Defence Operational Analysis Establishment (DOAE) at West Byfleet for the last time earlier in the story. It’s the sister song of Phil’s Both Sides of the Story and together they clearly comment on why and how the troubles happen/happened in fact working for both sides I might suggest. Seemed an instruction to me as to my next posting after DOAE. Sounds like English bagpipes as I arrive in Scotland.
Ten Storey Love Song by The Stone Roses. I had a productive time during this chapter. The band did a gig while I was there and this chapter needed a joyous pop ditty to summon the inspiration I found there in Brighton. “I built this thing for you” (if you’d like to buy a copy!”
Step Into My World by Hurricane #1. I never really wanted to be a hurricane more a nice tight little dust devil inviting people to come and have a look. Song reminds me of a pub where it was playing on the Firth of Forth.
Tremble by Crystal Trip. Throughout my journey to a medication for my paranoid schizophrenia I did not mind taking I always felt I had unfinished business in the music industry. Though not being religious myself this “wave-your-arms-about-and-go-home-happy-fraggler” told me God was watching me in the legal sense at least. Out shortly on Emotional Clive Records on Crystal Trip’s 12 song album The Crystal Trip. Recording a good band (this was recorded in 1993) is a very exciting activity and I wasn’t disappointed here but keeping down a day job and my mental health at the same time was too tall an order!
Hope Springs Eternal by The Sandkings. Unsurpassed indie classic talking about finding someone in the lost and found section “this side of a miracle”. Had to be in there to ease the pain of reading these difficult “lost years”. Just hope it appears on Spotify so I can include it.
The Heat In the Room by Bill Nelson. I was so hot I thought I could melt anything if I just kept going for this, I tell you now, was NHS sponsored torture and I’d be a fool not to compare my lot to that of anyone who committed suicide in protest.
Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. I thought, and still do, that Princess Diana could get what she came for with a word. She was a bit radicalised too if you know what I mean and though I thought my file was forgotten in a cabinet somewhere and I was really on my own a little bit of glory was mine if I just kept going.
The Omega Man, by The Basement Five. Being a psychiatric patient under the Mental Health Act and being injected with torture drugs you can’t get out of your system is a great equaliser. Makes you identify with ANYONE in the same boat ie ethnic minorities, LGBTQ community, the PIRA and yes, public school boys! Kind of thought my black brothers joked I was the Omega Man.
Roll With It by Oasis. This chapter is largely set in the Stewards’ Enclosure at Henley Royal Regatta: my favourite place. I wanted to make the Enclosure, and the event as a whole, not just special, but extra cool and modern too. You’d be surprised at some of the songs the military band play in the Enclosure eg One Day Like This by Elbow the other year. And I did indeed take myself away and hide quite pronto that summer: to Newquay. Over a decade after recovery I was sat in the Stewards's Enclosure at Henley Royal Regatta next to the bandstand with great friends. The weather was perfect and the military band were doing One Day Like This as I celebrated my ongoing recovery. "Perfec!"
Waves by Slowdive. I believed completely that MI5 and Comic Relief had faked the death of Princess Diana in this chapter and she’d done stuff like go out undercover with a load of goth Siouxsie make up on, shaved head and scull cap, to be a street beggar for a few months to see if she could eg write a charity book too. We were born close together as well so took me a year or two to start thinking that sadly she probably was dead but I felt her spirit a natural ally. Indie classic.
The Headlight Song by Ringo. I was heartbroken when Railroad Earth went off to record their album without my services but it would be nice to get the last laugh if the song should now appear on Spotify so you can enjoy it here. “I’m only telling you, ‘cos I’ve no way to begin, to believe, in this long lost child coming home, how could you be so cold? Why should you be alone?”
(Waiting for the) Boats by the Brian Jeffels Band. For the writing process Can’t Be Sure by The Sundays was the chapter song here but they got gazumped a bit by this Bedford artist. I hope Newquay, where the chapter is set, like their song! You bet!
Come On by The Verve. Every morning in the Fort Inn, Newquay Urban Hymns was playing as I drank my coffee and smoked my Hamlet. By the time I got up to Edinburgh to be a street beggar for a few months I think some of their swagger had rubbed off on me! I imagined that when I walked into the Inn for the first time that morning autumn '97 and the album was playing The Verve were pacing around like a mixture of Barnes Wallis, the coach in Chariots of Fire, a bloke whose wife is in a difficult labour and maybe some travellers too for good measure.
Forever Young by Rod Stewart. Sat in Emily’s Discovery one day alone I slipped on the If We Fall In Love Tonight album where I found this song. I trust Rod is pleased to be in the soundtrack.
Somewhere by Crystal Trip. In 1992 one of the 2nd Skin boys asked me to interview the singer of Crystal Trip for Siren magazine. The article ended with me talking about somebody having the bollocks to release this track. Didn’t really think it would be me! Am very proud to have it coming out on Emotional Clive Records. Could have been the chapter song where I crash my car or where I left DOAE for the last time.
Runaway by the Corrs. I bought the cassette of Talk on Corners for Emily RIP and they became pretty much her favourite band. Bit of a mystery why this song was on the album since it is from the first album Forgiven no Forgotten. Have been known to imagine I had the only copy with it there. Who wouldn’t after what I went through? Bit of a romantic mental health Bonnie and Clyde Emily and I were!
Strange Meeting II by Nick Drake. He could have called it Princess of the Sands so I called the chapter that instead to make Emily my princess of the sands, in Camber Sussex, where we were on the run together.
Song for Ireland by Dick Gaughan. Actually an English song by Phil and June Colclough this perfectly complements the charity peace process aspect of my book. Not that I had yet found out I am 31% Irish/Scottish!
Never Come Down Again by the Milltown Brothers. I’ll just quote a line: “Here’s to the time that we lived in, here’s to the colour of your skin, here’s to me, here’s to you, here’s to us all!”
Universal by Caroline Lavelle. I imagined the film of my book ending with Sam Riley getting into the Chinook in a field north of Bedford and the ‘copter flying off into the sunset as the credits rolled and the long ending and general message of this song, I thought, perfectly suited this. The original Warner Bros release has an even more gorgeous and longer ending, space for extra credits!
Over the Side by the Departure Lounge. Another post Railroad Earth band of Tim Keegan’s this could be a comment by those signed up to the peace process.