Which songs form the soundtrack to your life? Do let us know
PUBLISHED: 17:18 27 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:18 27 April 2019
The Stone Roses, Kate Bush and Stevie Wonder are on the list of writer and ex-teacher Hayley Long... but which ‘uncool’ record was her first purchase?
We don't get much for a quid these days, do we? About 1.5 Mars Bars from an average supermarket, perhaps (or a fraction of one if we're at some of the dearer petrol stations).
We CAN actually make our £1 stretch further, though, if we know where to look. For a pound we can buy Hayley Long's compact and bijoux new book: nearly 100 pages that form a personal love letter to rock and pop.
“Music to Make Friends By” is a cheerful and funny autobiographical account of the friendships and life-changing moments associated with loving music. Hayley looks back in time: from buying her first record as a nine-year-old to joining forces with a pal to DJ in the clubs and bars of Cardiff.
It actually opens with Hayley aged 46, having a bit of a squabble with Mum. It's Hayley's car, she's driving, and so has control of the stereo. She's listening to folk singer Laura Marling's When Were You Happy? Mum's not impressed. Why doesn't her daughter like that lovely Ed Sheeran, she wonders aloud.
Seeing as she's written about the importance of music, we thought we'd ask Hayley for her favourite tunes of all-time ever, and we'd pick out a few “moments” from the book. But first things first…
So who is Hayley Long?
Born in Ipswich. Grew up in Felixstowe. Studied English at Aberystwyth University.
Did loads of jobs, including selling shoes, folding sweaters, serving pints of beer, cleaning tents, steering visitors through a Tunisian souk, and teaching English in Brussels, London, Cardiff and Norfolk.
And then she became a full-time author. Her first book for teenagers, Lottie Biggs is Not Mad, won an award from the International Youth Library in Munich.
There have been more books. Her tales have been translated into more than 15 languages and Hayley's been shortlisted twice for a Costa book award. She's lived in Norwich for some time with her husband.
Didn't Hayley win an honour recently?
Yes – last year. The Tir na n-Og Award for Children's Literature. The awards honour the best English-language title with an authentic Welsh background. (Tir na n-Og effectively means Land of the Young, apparently – and is drawn from Irish mythology.)
Hayley's The Nearest Faraway Place is a young-adult novel about two boys and their attempts to overcome a tragic accident that changes their lives forever. The story is set in New York and Aberystwyth.
“Music is a mystery, isn't it?” Hayley says. “Something that sounds incredible to one person can sound terrible or totally uninteresting to someone else. It's very personal and it's very powerful too.
“When we hear something we really like, that song often stays with us forever and can instantly trigger off a whole load of memories and strong sensations.
“Whenever I hear the Stone Roses or the Happy Mondays, I can smell the spilled beer in the bar of the Students' Union in 1990. It makes me feel 18 again.”
* Music to Make Friends By is £1 and published by Rily Publications as part of the Quick Reads series. Quick Reads in Wales is co-ordinated by the Welsh Books Council and supported by the Welsh Government.
Six moments from the book (chosen by us)
* Six-year-old Hayley gets a bright orange keyboard for Christmas. “Sadly, my mum and dad forgot to buy any batteries so I spent the whole of Christmas Day playing with my brother's Action Man instead.”
Later, even with batteries, it doesn't work very well…
* Favourite singles in the 1970s: When I Need You by Leo Sayer and Brotherhood of Man's Beautiful Lover. “My mum and I were also big fans of an American girl rocker called Suzi Quatro. Suzi wore a leather catsuit and played an electric guitar. I thought she was the coolest woman in the world.”
* First single bought (from Ipswich Woolworths in 1981): “I wish now that I could say it was something by Blondie or David Bowie or Adam and the Ants.” The truth: This Ole House, by Shakin' Stevens.
You may also want to watch:
* At 11, Hayley and classmate Sarah start a fan club – the Orwell High School branch (Felixstowe) of The Madness Fan Club. The first fanzine they create takes a whole weekend to make. It runs for three or four issues.
* At 25, she decides it's time to take life a bit more seriously. Takes Eurostar train from Brussels to London. Rents cheap room. Flatmates include Graham from Norwich. Bad news: Flat has rats. Good news: Graham plays guitar – The Smiths' songs, too. She likes. Very much. Seven years later, they get married.
* Hayley's teaching in Cardiff. She and colleague Kirsty find they share a passion for music. They become DJs and call themselves The Sellotape Sisters. First gig is at a little place near Cardiff Castle. It goes brilliantly.
10 albums that Hayley loves (in no particular order)
The Beatles – Rubber Soul
Aretha Franklin – Young, Gifted and Black
Belly – Star
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Stevie Wonder – Innervisions
Neneh Cherry – Raw Like Sushi
Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion
Teenage Fanclub – Bandwagonesque
REM – Out of Time
The Smiths – Hatful of Hollow
10 songs that Hayley loves (in any old order)
Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing – Stevie Wonder
Jolene – Dolly Parton
Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
Cannonball – The Breeders
This is the One – The Stone Roses
50 Foot Queenie – PJ Harvey
It Doesn't Matter Anymore – Buddy Holly
Rock Steady – Aretha Franklin
Cloudbusting – Kate Bush
I'm a Believer – The Monkees
Over to you
We'd like to hear about the music that forms the soundtrack of your life. Do send a list of your top six (or so) tunes, with a line or two to explain why each one is important. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send to Steven Russell, Archant, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS
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