Our favourite albums are our most faithful companions. We listen to them over and over, we know them far better than any novel or film. These records don’t just soundtrack our lives – they work their way deep inside us, shaping our outlook and identity, forging our friendships and charting our love affairs. They become part of our story.
In this special event for Intelligence Squared, journalist and music obsessive Tom Gatti – editor of Long Players, a new anthology of writing on albums – was in conversation with two of his contributors, acclaimed novelist David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet) and writer and activist Preti Taneja, author of the prize-winning novel We That Are Young. They discussed the power of certain records to act on us like Proustian madeleines, transporting us back to a particular time and place – Gatti, by his own admission, has listened to Radiohead’s The Bends more times than is strictly necessary; Mitchell’s great formative influence is Joni Mitchell’s Blue; Taneja grew up with Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest. And they explored how music influences their writing – directly in the case of Mitchell’s latest novel, Utopia Avenue, the epic tale of a psychedelic rock band’s rise to stardom in the late sixties.
Speakers subject to change.