HIDDEN tracks

Music was Pete Paphides' first love. And at this rate, it will be his last.

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Arctic Monkeys

It might seem strange to suggest that we should feel sorry for Arctic Monkeys”




Given that there probably isn’t a guitar-wielding teenager who wouldn’t swap with them right now, it might seem strange to suggest that we should feel sorry for Arctic Monkeys. Nonetheless, how would you feel if you had just lived a 2005 like theirs? Carried from the bedroom to number one on a nationwide wave of web-trawling adulation. An upswell so huge that even if the press and radio…

Amadou & Mariam

There are some things I remember more than others. Such as what? Well, the stars.”




A few trade secrets for stalkers. Visiting R&B stars invariably favour the Landmark in Marylebone (with the exception of Mariah, who stays at the Sanderson). Since the 80s, indie bands have favoured the Columbia Hotel in West London. Often, singer-songwriters go for the Kensington Garden Hilton in Knightsbridge – handy for those muse-stoking walks in Hyde Park. And this year’s most celeb…

Nick Drake
The Making of Bryter Layter

A mutual accommodation between structure and serendipity”




Between leaving Cambridge and moving into his own flat in leafy Belsize Park, Nick Drake briefly lived in Notting Hill Gate, with a girl whose name no one seems to remember, and her pet monkey. Robert Kirby, a frequent visitor to the Notting Hill flat, recalled Nick asking him what he’d like to listen to: ‘Put on the monkey,’ he’d say: ‘[The monkey] didn’t need any goading, because as soon…

Sandi Thom

For the first time ever, I found that I actually wanted to hear the new record by Sandi Thom”




I have an admission to make. Even though I (mostly) make a living out of having opinions about music, I’ve somehow managed to get to this point without having heard more than a handful of songs by Sandi Thom. In fact, to be honest, I know for sure that I’ve heard her 2006 single, I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair) – and I dimly recall playing a few well-crafted, rootsy,…

Remembering Live Aid

I may have failed at history, but soon I was going to be part of it.”




Actually, there was snow in Africa that Christmastime – but it was on the snowy peaks of Kilimanjaro and Tanzania – inaccessible to all but the hardiest of explorers. And, of course, the only bells that ring there are not the clanging chimes of doom. You’ve also got the Ghanaian Kangogi and the Grello – a castanet-like finger bell. But as Do They Know It’s Christmas swiftly became the…

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