Mark Hollis

Sad news yesterday came with the announcement of the death of Mark Hollis aged 64. As the lead songwriter and singer of Talk Talk he made some of the most interesting and experimental pop of the 1980s and he wrote and recorded songs which I hold in high regard. I know some of you feel the same. He had largely retired from music after 1998’s solo album, deciding that being a touring musician and a parent weren’t compatible, but his music has never gone away, continuing to hold sway beneath the surface. I have loved this song for many years and I will continue to play it and love it for many more to come and while it may be the obvious choice some songs are the obvious choice because they are great songs. Life’s What You Make It is wonderful and sage, lead piano from Mark over a brilliant drumbeat and Mark’s soaring vocals, a song that you can slot onto any mixtape or into any DJ set.

Life’s What You Make It

As an extra Tomorrow Started is from 1984’s It’s My Life, a sidestep away from New Romantic pop and into something else and something new, with producer Tim Friese-Greene at the controls, poetry and avant-pop.

Tomorrow Started

‘Before you play two notes, learn how to play one note And don’t play one note unless you’ve got a reason to play it’
Mark Hollis.

Everything’s Alright

I was given a Talk Talk 12″ single for Christmas. Within a few days it was Mark Hollis’ 64th birthday. It seems remiss of me not to post something to pay tribute to this. The 12″ included this dub mix of Such A Shame from 1983 which is not essential but for some reason I really like. A very 1983 use of technology and the spare time and inches offered by the format.

Such A Shame (Dub Mix)

That led me to digging around in my physical and digital Talk Talk collection and I uncovered this.

Life’s What You Make It (Extended Remix)

Again, not essential maybe- the single version of Life’s What You Make It is one of those songs I will keep listening to for decades to come- but this version stretches it out and offers a different view of the song. And that’s more than enough.

Life’s What You Make It

Back in January 2010 when I was only a few posts into the blogging game I posted this song by Rowland S Howard. He died of liver cancer just a few days earlier, 30th December 2009. Rowland recorded his album Pop Crimes while ill and this song, a cover of Talk Talk’s Life’s What You Make It, has a slightly different perspective when sung by someone who knows their time is up.

Life’s What You Make It

Aged just sixteen Rowland wrote Shivers, recorded by pre-Birthday Party band Boys Next Door. Strange to think that Nick Cave was actually this young once.

Life’s What You Make It

Baby, life’s what you make it
Can’t escape it.

Spirit Of Brooks

Reader Echorich recommends listening to Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden while looking at pictures of 20s It Girl Louise Brooks.

Here’s Talk Talk (video only I’m afraid, I’m using a lot of bandwidth at Boxnet this month posting stuff which people actually want)…

And here are some pictures of Louise Brooks…

It’s one way of passing the time.