• Wala ng Tao sa Sta Filomena by Filipino activist group Patatag - about people displaced by fighting in the Philippines, so-called "strategic hamletting": I was lucky enough to hear it live 

  • Ilham by Souad Massi - Oran, Algeria, rai music; then we turned the Land Rover southwards, and headed to the Sahara desert, with starfilled skys and sweeping dunes - never to be forgotten

  • Piss Factory by Patti Smith - "I'm gonna get on that train, I'm going to New York City, I'm gonna be somebody, I will never return to burn in this piss factory"

  • Woodstock by Joni Mitchell - used to sing the lyrics in the shower at university. Embarrassing, I know.... but how to find that spirit? 

  • A Love Supreme by John Coltrane - uplifting, mysterious, spiritual  

  • Enough is Enough by Chumbawamba - "give the fascist man a gunshot". They may have minted it with Tubthumpin', but their songs are still radical

  • Keys to the City by The Go! Team - don't know what it is about this song, but always makes me happy - it is full of youthful energy

  • Maggie May by Rod Stewart - one song I actually can play on my guitar; a constant when I was younger, and I always liked the way The Faces seemed so care free  

  • Like a Hurricane by Neil Young - someone wrote recently that Neil Young has done some of the best love songs around; surprisingly, this is true!

  • Pajaros de Barro by Manolo Garcia - for all the times I have spent in Spain, and the happiness I feel with Spanish people, wine, tapas, sherry

  • Crazy Man Michael by Fairport Convention - I woke, bleary eyed, at Glastonbury in 1984 and this was rolling up from the Pyramid Stage


Music, poetry, words; these are the soundtrack to our lives, and we can draw inspiration from them. I go through phases, and sometimes don't listen to CDs for weeks; but I always return, to celebrate, to think, to mourn, to remember.

What words and music are important to you, and can you use them now to help you move forward?

PS: mention in despatches for Sugar Sugar by the Archies - the first 45rpm I bought, as a 10-year-old in the Army & Navy store in Bromley - Everlasting Love by The Love Affair, anything from T Rex's "middle period", especially Hot Love and Ride a White Swan, all of the music of Free, especially Be My Friend and Heavy Load, Miles Davis, The Rolling Stones, June Tabor, The Supremes...