Today I’m delighted to feature author and co-founder of music website www.eightalbums.co.uk, Steven Kedie. His debut novel, Suburb, was released in paperback last month and his second Running and Jumping will be published later this year. The latter tells the story of British Olympian Adam Lowe and his rivalry with American athlete Chris Madison. The novel deals with the question: What if you had your greatest ever day and still didn’t win?
Steven lives in Manchester with his wife and two children. He spends far too much time running, writing, talking about albums and watching Manchester United. All of which gets in the way of his television watching habit.
Over to Steven:
Which piece of music/song would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
I co-run a music website called eightalbums.co.uk where we ask people to write about eight albums that have been important to them throughout their lives. So, this question is right up my street but also means I’ve spent a long time thinking about the answers.
Live Forever – Oasis.
Live Forever came into my life at a pivotal moment and remains my favourite song to this day. Oasis were the first band I ever properly loved. Definitely Maybe came out when I was 12 and I can still remember exactly where I was when I first heard it. I was in a friend’s bedroom, playing darts on a board that was mounted onto his bedroom wall. We were listening to a tape an older kid who lived on his road had made for him. The tape had two albums on it: Blur’s Parklife on one side, Definitely Maybe on the other. There was a moment where I thought: ‘This is different.’ Different to me meant not the radio friendly pop (my parents’ tastes) I’d heard in the car. It meant attitude, swagger, Rock n Roll.
Oasis changed what I liked, what I wore, what I thought was cool. Most importantly, they changed the music that I listened to. It sent me back through time to discover all the stuff that inspired Oasis and opened me up to all bands that were around in the ’90s. I grew up on Britpop and still think the music from that period is the best.
You Never Can Tell – Chuck Berry
“It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well.”
We weren’t quite teenagers but this was the song we had our first dance to at our wedding in 2008. We did the John Travolta/ Uma Thurman moves from their famous scene in Pulp Fiction (one of my top 5 films…). To my knowledge there is no video footage of the dance, so you’ll just have to believe me that I was as cool as Travolta for a couple of minutes. (Never before or since though.)
Do I Wanna Know? – Arctic Monkeys
This is the first song my youngest son, Nate, ever heard. His journey home from hospital when he was a few hours old was sound-tracked by AM by Arctic Monkeys. This song is the opening track.
The reason I’ve chosen this song and not Everybody’s on the Run by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (which was the first song my first born, Joel, ever heard) is because I’ve already got a Noel Gallagher written track in this list and it doesn’t feel right to have a soundtrack of my life not have a song written by Alex Turner in there.
Arctic Monkeys are one of the great bands and Alex Turner is a genius, in my humble. He is the first writer of any kind I looked up to despite the fact the was younger than me. His song writing bends and shifts with each album and his lyrics are funny, clever, poetic. Sometimes in the same line.
I once read that Arctic Monkeys only had one plan for “success” and that was to keep pushing themselves and keep getting better. It’s something I remember each time I think about starting writing something new.
Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen
To quote from my own Eight Albums:
Where to start about the importance of Bruce? If I could articulate what it feels like in my mind when I hear “A screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves…”, the opening line of Thunder Road, I’d put every word down here and you’d understand. Unfortunately, my ability to form sentences that explain that feeling of the impact of Bruce’s music on me is nowhere near his ability to write the songs that make me, and others, feel that way.
See You on the Other Side – Brian Fallon
I’m not religious. I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell. But I want this song played at my funeral. It’s a Brian Fallon song from his second solo album (Fallon was the lead singer in The Gaslight Anthem). It’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard and has the following lyrics:
And when we both grow old
And there is nothing left to say
I want you to know
That I loved you all my days
And when we close our eyes on this lifetime
I’ll see you on the other side
Those first four lines are how I’d like my wife and kids to remember me. As I said, I don’t believe in “the other side” but this song is so powerful and moving to me, it needs to be included in this list.
What (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.
Apart from my first answer, and as I’m allowed to take friends and family out of the equation, I’ve tried to think of a perfect day that I’d have if I was totally on my own. What would I do? I’d run, read, watch some sport and drink decent coffee. So…
My asthma inhalers. I wouldn’t just find it hard; they are essential to my existence.
Running trainers. Getting into running changed me. It allowed me to find something that was mine where I can switch off from life. It’s so simple. Whenever we go away, I always try and take my trainers so I can get out and explore. I never really time my runs for speed and it often feels like one of the only things in life that doesn’t involve having a mobile phone close by.
Live Football. To me, one of life’s great things is being in a football ground a few minutes before kick-off. The tense excitement, the nervous energy, that feeling that you might see something special. I don’t go to Manchester United as much as I used to but when I do go, I still get as giddy as I did was ten and I first walked through the turnstile and up the concrete steps to see the pitch revealed in front of me. The thought of not being able to go to a live match (even a non- United one), is not a fun one.
Books. Writing them, reading them, talking about them. Books have been making my life better since I discovered reading for pleasure when I was a teenager. Prior to reading Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, reading was just something school made me do.
Coffee. I’m a parent to two boys, aged 7 and 9. Coffee. Is. Life.
Can you offer a piece of advice for your younger self?
A day when you’ve run is better than a day when you haven’t.
Have the difficult conversation earlier because often things are not as bad as they build up to be.
The simple things are often the most fun.
Black coffee is the best coffee.
Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
At primary school I played a Roman soldier in an assembly. When the assembly was finished and the headmaster was talking to the whole school, I fainted whilst on the stage behind him. I had to be caught by a teacher as I was falling off the stage. Not my best day, but I did get out of a spelling test.
I once was driving a car on a French motorway that was struck by lightning.
I once attended an FA Cup final on a ticket that wasn’t “legitimate” and had to watch the whole match from behind the seat in the very last row of the stadium. Fortunately, the guy and his son in the seats in front of us were more than happy to have me and my mate squatted behind them for the entire game.
When I was 18, I flew home early from a family holiday to spend New Year with my girlfriend, Gemma, who I was missing. We’d only be together 6 months. Some of my mates thought I was daft. Gemma and I are married now, and have two kids. We’ve been together for 21 years.
When I was in New York on honeymoon, I stood in a queue to buy some water behind three women. One of them was poking her friend’s new ear piercing and asking if it hurt. I joked that it would if she kept pushing it. When I left the shop, my wife, who’d waited outside, was very giddy about the conversation she’d seen me have. It turns out I’d be talking to Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Melissa Joan Hart).
Tell us something you’d still like to do or achieve.
Earn my living through writing novels. It’s a lofty goal but one worthy of being top of this list.
Go to New Zealand. When I was a kid, my best friend, Aidan, lived four doors down from me. His family emigrated to New Zealand when we were 13. Although the family have been back a couple of times since, I’ve still not been to visit them. Everything I know about the place makes me think I’ll love it.
Watch live sport in America. We have a dream holiday in the Kedie house: a fly-drive holiday in America where we go to watch numerous live sporting events along the way. High school American football, College basketball, Major and Minor League baseball, NBA, NFL. As much as we can. In fairness to Mrs K, I’m not sure the sport part is her idea of fun but she’s along for the road trip soundtracked by Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift. And the endless refillable coffee…
Have an Eight Albums Launch Event. My friend Matt and I started our music website (eightalbums.co.uk – as mentioned above) during the first lockdown of 2020. We’d had the idea for a couple of years but decided to launch during that strange period of the early days of Covid to give us something positive to focus on. We’ve had over 75 entries on the site this point, and met (online) some fantastic, supportive people but it would be brilliant to get people in a room and celebrate what the site and community has become.
Finish Reading My To Be Read Pile Without Buying More Books. Frankly, unattainable. But a man can dream.
Thanks for joining us today Steven, you are in good company here with a love of football and books! Some great music choices and I can see the appeal of Brain Fallon, without being morbid I might pinch that one for my funeral too (though hopefully not for a long while yet). Your Roman soldier story sounds like the sort of tale your parents probably delighted regaling later girlfriends with, unless they had even more embarrassing ones? Though as Gemma was clearly ‘the’ one it wouldn’t have put her off. Sincerely hope you get to tick off the items on your ‘to do’ list and good luck with finishing your TBR pile, if you manage that you best come back and tell us how.
(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)
Tom Fray is desperate to put on a rucksack and live a life of adventure and freedom. To do so, he returns home – to a semi-detached house stuck in the middle of cul-de-sac – to earn some money.
Tom finds all the people he left behind living lives he doesn’t want for himself. His parents are trapped on life’s treadmill and his fifteen-year-old brother is causing them problems. Tom’s ex-girlfriend is seeing someone else, but would rather be with him.
And then there’s Kate, a married neighbour, who Tom shares a connection with. When the two start an affair, Tom’s simple plan to escape becomes a lot more complicated.