In Once In A Lifetime, David Byrne famously states “...and you may ask yourself: How did I get here?”
And in terms of Tim’s Twitter Listening Party - that’s a question I have presented to myself a number of times in the past seven months.
For the uninitiated, the ‘here’ is specifically the 500th of our online events - the premise is simple: People around the world listen to an album at exactly the same time. And we listen all the way through - synchronised in our enjoyment or otherwise. And at the helm at least one, and up to six, of the characters who made that record. No other audio apart from the album itself, no skip, no shuffle, no pause, no rewind.
Listening exactly the way the artist or band intended - and quite often the first listen in full from the actual folks who recorded those songs in a heck of a long time. That’s been one of the main ‘takes’ - the ones who made the record are the least likely to actually take time to listen to it.
I’d been doing listening parties in a quiet corner of Twitter for nine years. Only ever albums I’d recorded. Niche but great fun. Then, something happened on March 23rd 2020 - lockdown. I thought I would do a listening party for The Charlatans’ debut album then maybe one a week until the world returned to normal. But that didn’t happen - Alex Kapranos tweeted that he’d received Some Friendly, the album in question, as a birthday present all those years ago. And in the intervening years, the young Alex K had made rather well known records himself. Would he fancy hosting a listening party?
Yep, he would.
And that lead to a few texts pinging around the world from my phone
Would Bonehead be up for it? Sure.
Dave Rowntree’s view of Parklife? Booked in.
It quickly became a thing.
Run The Jewels, Roisin Murphy, The Libertines, Orange Juice, The Breeders, Michael Kiwanuka.
At this point it would usually say, the list was endless. Not quite true but 7 months after the first we will be holding our 500th.
Quite a feat!
And my favourite part of the whole thing? It’s not so much the array of star names who have stopped by, although it’s fairly mind blowing - but they themselves are in agreement. The most amazing part of all this is that the album as an artform has been the centre piece - not a curated playlist or a cherry picked 15 minutes. Nope, a take a seat, put some time aside, get yourself a drink and sink into the whole LP, track by track - including that one you normally avoid. And that’s only the records people already knew.
It’s not just about the classic albums that are being revisited, people have discovered new artists like Pom Poko, Trampolene, Glass Animals and George Clanton.
So, yeah, come along to the 500th party - hosted by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason celebrating his Saucerful of Secrets project. Who’d have thought it would have come to this way back on March 23rd.
So, to end on the same song that we started, I sometimes look at who is on the upcoming schedule for the listening party and think.
"My God! What have I done?"