Over the last few weeks, I have received some amazing presents from readers. Amanda - all the way from Australia - has sent me This Is Uncool - The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk And Disco. A few years ago, I read The Heart Of Rock And Roll - The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made by Dave Marsh. While I loved it, his choices were too American and completely dismissive of my favourite genre - electropop. "If only I had the willpower," I told myself, "I'd compile a book about the real greatest singles ever made." I don't need to now - Garry Mulholland has done it for me. He's about the same age as me, and our cultural references are almost identical. I checked the index, wondering if my favourite singles were included: "Atomic": check; "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye": check; "Uptown Top Ranking": check; "Coffee + TV": check; "Back For Good": check. And loads I'd forgotten: "Remember Me" by Blueboy; "You Don't Love Me (No No No)".
Mullholland's writing is pretty sharp, too. Here's his description of The Buzzcocks' "Spiral Scratch" EP: "None of the songs are actually about wanking exactly, but, if ever you've tried to masturbate while on a speed comedown and emerged three hours later with nothing but a cramped claw where your hand used to be, then you'll know what Devoto sounds like on this record."
Thank you, Amanda, and please don't take this the wrong way when I say I'm going to keep it in the toilet!