About a year ago, Barb MacLean started a fun FinTech playlist where, each week, she picks out the top FinTech comments of the week and adds a music track to the column. If you’re not aware of it, subscribe here.
It made me think, whilst out for a walk the other day, about creating a FinTech Island Discs. You may have heard of Desert Island Discs, but if you have not, it’s been around since 1942. The idea is to get a celeb to come into the BBC and share their favourite recordings with eight tracks that shaped their life – usually music – and a book and luxury item.
So, whilst I was out walking, I thought of eight tracks that shaped my life. These are not necessarily my favourite musical tracks, and I probably have 10,000 more that are favourites, but these are markers of how my life moved.
First has to be Lou Reed’s Perfect Day. I’m a huge fan of David Bowie, who produced The Transformer which was Reed’s second solo album, along with Mick Ronson, another amazingly gifted star. The album itself, for me, is perfect. I could go on but, if you’ve never heard it, listen to the album in its entirety, end-to-end. It tells a story of gender and love that has never been captured so well since.
Second is Donna Summer’s I feel love. I was never a big fan of soul or disco music, but this track changed my mind. The beat is what makes it. Created by Georgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte on a Moog synthesiser, the track has stood the test of time. Funnily enough, the track was written as something that was futuristic and, almost half a century later, it still rocks and I love it.
My third track would be We are the robots by Kraftwerk. As a techie, automating things is my job. In fact, so much of my life has been shaped by robotics from Metropolis to The Terminator, and Kraftwerk caught the mood of this change brilliantly. I remember seeing them live once. When I say live, their first appearance was on stage for ten minutes as robots. Brilliant band.
Moving on to track number four, I was moved by Coldplay’s music from their first ever album Parachutes, and have followed them ever since. Like U2, they’ve been produced by another hero of mine for years, Brian Eno. But when they released Fix you in 2005, it was almost like a band had created a prayer. Seeing them live, you can see the crowd transfixed with every word, and singing along as though it were a prayer. I’m sure you all know that the song was written by Chris Martin when Gwyneth Paltrow, his ex-wife’s dad died. If you didn’t, you know now.
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face, and I will fix you
As mentioned, I’m a huge fan of David Bowie. I switched onto Bowie before most of you were born, when Ziggy Stardust came out, and have lots of memorabilia and memories of his performances and life. Strangely, my favourite track is Wild is the wind. I say strangely as Bowie didn’t write it. It’s a rare cover that he did of a 1957 song made famous by Nina Simone. Nevertheless, I think Bowie’s take on it, and the tone and heart of how he delivers it, shows that it’s one of his favourite songs too. RIP David.
When I met a certain lady, I fell in love. At the same time, Adele’s cover of Bob Dylan’s song Make you feel my love was released. Great timing. The fact is that Adele is great for anyone who is in love or miserable. Her writing, delivery and tone of voice is second to none. That’s why she’s one of the biggest stars in the world. Sure, she cancelled concerts in Vegas, but she’s back and will never go away.
As I put this list together, I felt it important to share my passion for opera and musicals too. So, my last two selections are from this genre for that reason. The first is E lucevan le stelle from Tosca by Puccini. I’ve seen most operas now, and know that my passion is for the great Italian operas by Puccini and Verdi. Sure, I like Wagner and others too – in fact, I have a very funny story about attending Wagner’s Bayreuth festival – but, when it comes to the bottom-line, Puccini is the man.
This particular aria hit my heart when I saw Placido Domingo conducting the opera in Vienna, and it made me cry. If you are not familiar, it is the lament of the leading man, Mario, who is in love with Tosca. I won’t give much more away, as you should go and see this opera, but you can find out more here if you are happy with a spoiler.
Finally, I’ve seen and am a fan of musicals. I’ve seen them all, near enough. My recent favourite is Moulin Rouge, but my favourite classics are Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. How do you choose? When the beating of your heart is like the beating of a drum stays with me forever. But, if I had to choose one, I’d probably choose All I ask of you from Phantom. Why? Because Andrew Lloyd-Webber was head over heels in love at that time with Sarah Brightman, and this song represents true love. It is an anthem for all lovers worldwide. Peace and love. That’s all I ask of you.
Then we come to the book and luxury item. My book would be The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Some might prefer Lord of the Rings, but I found the latter too long. The Hobbit was, for me, a fantastic story and just the right length to read. Specifically, the battle between Bilbo and Gollum hooked me. Ever since, I’ve been looking for My Perfect, and now I think I’ve found it. It’s my two wee boys, Eddie and Freddie, so I found My Perfects!
Finally, a luxury item? It would have to be a laptop with WiFi that works. How can one live otherwise?
Anyways, this is a little self-centric. What would your desert island disc selection be?
Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...