I don't think there's anything particularly morbid about celebrating life through death. The Mexican Day of The Dead seems to get it right in that respect. I'd be stoked to think that some chuffer was yammin' down a sugar skull with my name on it after I'd kicked the bucket.
I'm also aware that there are a lot of 'un-famous' people who've lost their lives this year through no fault of their own, often in tragic or heroic circumstances, and that maybe a tribute to famous folk who 'sung a few songs' or 'made a few films' might seem a bit short-sighted, but I think it's just as easy to overlook the important contributions of people working in the creative industry, and a bit of shared public grief for a celebrity that many of us can relate to can often be a positive and inspiring force.
I was truly gutted when I heard about the passing of Don Van Vliet the other day. I sent a text to my Mum and Dad to see if they'd heard.. and they had. They were at home listening to his records. When I was a kid I saw something on TV about how everyone back int' day was into either The Beatles or The Stones. I asked my Dad which one of the groups he fell into and he said "Beefheart".
Anyway, after a bit of reshuffling, Don was sadly added to the picture that I'd started and I put together a playlist to go with the whole thing. I had most of the songs on record, but I don't have the means to digitally record the little 'disco mixes' I muck about with on my decks, so I ended up doing a bit of Christmas shopping on iTunes and threw together a bit of a mixtape type thing and burnt it to some CDs. I printed up the illustration as covers and I'll be giving out the little gifts over Christmas to who ever I bump into. I'm back up North for the Chrimbo season so, if I saw you out in Sheffield last night I probably already gave you one of 'em, and if you're about in Chesterfield on Christmas Eve and you're a good buddy of mine, you'll probably be getting one n' all.
There're 45 copies of the compilation and I've got about 20-summat left after a bit of pissed-up distribution. For everyone else here's the playlist that you can click on the songs to have a listen to (or the closest thing I could find) on YouTube. You can also click on the person's name to have a read-up on Wikipedia about them.
(FOR FRANK FRAZETTA)
(FOR ARI UP)
(FOR DENNIS HOPPER)
(FOR MALCOLM MCLAREN)
(FOR FRANK SIDEBOTTOM)
(FOR CAPTAIN BEEFHEART)
..Happy New Year n' all that too and I'll see you in 2011.