Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away” – Hilary Cooper

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana – Grunge to me was the most wonderful music genre ever. I wanted to move to Seattle and hang out drinking coffee listening to Sub Pop bands all day. To this day I still know every word of the movie Singles – I’m not sure that’s something to be proud of. Despite being seriously overplayed Smells Like Teen Spirit has never lost any of its full throttle power – even at 34 it makes me want to jump up and down on my couch and rock out. 16 years (eek!) later I still want to be one of the hot Anarchy cheerleaders in that video. It also reminds me of where I was the day I heard Kurt Cobain had killed himself – in a bar called the Rising Sun, a bar my grandfather used to frequent when he worked at Reading Railway Station, that’s since been turned into a weird bar with a rhino’s head coming out of the wall.

[Click on song title to play video]

2. Soul to Squeeze by Red Hot Chili Peppers – There are two bands in this world that I have been obsessed with – The Smiths and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The latter so much so I nearly got the Chili Pepper symbol tattooed on my wrist – lucky escape there. This song contains one of the most beautiful bass lines I’ve ever heard – Flea is probably one of the best bassists of our time. Over all though this ballad reminds me of when in my late twenties I went through a nervous breakdown, so rather bitter sweet like the song.

3. Time To Move On by Tom Petty – This song gave me the strength to move from London to Los Angeles. I pretty much wrote an entire post about it here.

4. Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi – I really wish I’d been in Los Angeles during the big hair band era – oh the glamour and craziness of it all, and oh so funny. Probably just as well as I don’t think I could pull off spandex. Another reason I chose this song is Bon Jovi lyrics never cease to crack me up and this Jon at his (pretentious) best. It also reminds me of going to the Smog Cutter – a karaoke bar in Los Angeles run by some over zealous but kind Thai ladies. What a bar! We had some good times – hugs from Sunshine – one of the bar staff who were all incapable of talking under 30 decibels, we’d yum up buffets and sing on a Monday when no one was there, chat to the old men parked at the bar, spend rowdy weekends fighting over the mic with the non-regulars. And then it got ugly.. too much vodka, drunken rows with friends over the pool table, written notices for turning up late at work, and taking karaoke waaaaay too seriously.. it had to stop. Although I don’t visit any more, I loved the Smog Cutter and it will always have a special place in my heart.

5. Save All Your Kisses For Me by Brotherhood of Man – Two of my earliest memories is of my father sat in a dark green velvet chair in our then living room listening to the Beatles and the other is him singing this song to me. It’s worth watching the video for the dance they do – so hot, I’m such a 70s child!

6. La Valse d’Amélie by Yann Tiersen – This song is the soundtrack to my favourite movie of all time Amelie. No matter how I feel this song can cheer me up, brighten my day and most importantly renew my faith in human kind.

7. In This River by Black Label Society – Zakk Wylde wrote the song prior to the murder of his friend Dimebag Darrell but has since dedicated to him. It’s a sad song but whenever I hear it I can’t help but think of my boyfriend. When we first started dating we went to see Black Label Society in concert, and joked that it was our song – it was meant to be taking the piss, but somehow it stuck and actually has become our song.

8. Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson – This reminds me of when I first came out to Los Angeles and my friend would sing this each time we’d drive past somewhere really LA like Rodeo Drive or the Sunset Strip. I think he’s an interesting guy – a little creepy for the sake of it perhaps. It also reminds me of one of the funniest articles on The Onion ever.

9. Big Mouth Strikes Again by The Smiths – I think I got into The Smiths about 2 weeks before they broke up – talk about sod’s law. This is probably not my favourite Smiths song right now but it’s the one I have the strongest memories of. I was a happy Smiths fan – I would sit in my room for hours listening to my Smiths records, I never found the lyrics depressing or morbid, it was always tongue in cheek for me as I am sure Morrissey intended them.

10. Every Day Is Like Sunday by Morrissey Funny that both Stacy and I have this in our mixes. Like Stacy, discovering The Smiths and Morrissey was a reminder that it was okay to be different. This song reminds me of so many things – Carry On movies, salty British sea side towns in the dead of winter, but mostly of my friend Teresa and her sister Patsy and I getting dressed up in our finest shoe gazing outfits to go to the Majestic on Sunday nights where I had my first ‘French kiss’ with a guy called Lucian. Spookily enough I saw Morrissey when I first got to Los Angeles in a English pub called The Cat and Fiddle – I was too terrified to go talk to him, even look at him really. Next week I am going to see him play live at the Hollywood Palladium – it will be a first for me, but a last for a while for the Palladium – they are closing it down to renovate it.

Not Goth, 34, Redondo Beach