The Courier's Musical Memories

Our music writers pen their Courier memories and share some of the songs that remind them of our paper.

multiple writers
25th June 2020
Images: Instagram (@cinematic_orchestra, @jamesblunt, @alphabeat, @liamgallagher, @radiohead)
It's the end of The Courier's year and that unfortunately means it's also the end of some of our writers' journeys with our wonderful paper. For people on the outside this might seem like nothing but for us it's everything. Writers and editors alike give their blood, sweat and tears to see their words and spreads displayed on the crisp white paper each week. However, while some have sung their big finale number, others are working on their Courier debuts. So, we asked our writers and editors to give us a song that reminds them of their Courier memories.

'500 Miles'- Peter, Paul and Mary

This 1960s trio is relatively little-known today, but in their early days they worked with country legend John Denver, and helped boost the career of Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan. 500 miles is a sad, sweet song, that I’ve always loved, but it gained a special significance for me this year.

I went through some traumatic experiences this year, that caused a lot of problems. One which really hit me, in the strangest of ways, was not being able to listen to a few of my favourite songs, including the ones I used to listen to when I worked. So, I started listening to some different stuff, including this.

Around this time, I started writing for The Courier. It gave me a wonderful break from my own head, being able to listen to music which didn’t bring back bad memories, and focusing on articles that were quick and easy to write.

I will always associate this song with the writing those articles, and starting to recover. Those were the first, brief moments I started to feel better. I owe so much to The Courier, for helping me move forwards towards new horizons and finding enjoyment after a long while. I’ve got so much out of it, and this song reminds me of that.

Alex Walker

'Fascination'- Alphabeat and a collection of James Blunt songs...

After living in the Courier office for two years, there’s been a vast array of songs blasting out of the speakers to soundtrack our editing. Whilst we’ve heard some truly obscure stuff, there’s a couple of things that stick clearly in my mind.

In my second year, if I didn’t hear 'Fascination' by Alphabeat at least once a week there was something wrong. Played at the request of one of the other sub-editors religiously every week, it just reminds me so much of the office. 'Fascination' is easily one of the most annoying songs I’ve ever heard, but after last year I listen back to it with fondness and memories of editing the sports pages at stupid o’clock on a Friday night with a pint by my side.

If I’m going for a pick in my third year, it’s something by James Blunt, I don’t know the song because they all just merge into one depressing blob. A favourite of our Editor-in-chief, Grace Dean, there was once a day when all that played was James Blunt in the office, and I’m not sure a lot of us have truly recovered from it. However, I can guarantee that whenever this year’s editorial team hear James Blunt, they’ll be reminded of the office.

Rebecca Johnson

'Now That I've Found You'- Liam Gallagher

The song that most reminds me of my time writing for The Courier over the last academic year is probably Liam Gallagher’s ‘Now That I’ve Found You’.

This is perhaps an embarrassing or cliche choice for me, but nevertheless the album ‘Why Me? Why Not.’ from which this song hails was the first music release that I reviewed for The Courier, and it throws me back to seeing my name printed on the pages for the first time. It is hard for me to listen to this tune without thinking back to my beginnings in music journalism that it prompted.

At the time, Liam had just performed in Hull for MTV Unplugged, and the full recording of this set was finally released as an LP last week, which just topped the UK’s album charts - somehow, he remains as relevant as ever. This version of the song is quite possibly the most potent, as I wrote in my initial review back in October - the rawness of the youngest Gallagher’s voice against a purely acoustic backing proves that he doesn’t solely rely on volume to get his emotions across. It is certainly noticeable that he is forced to sing in a lower key than the recorded version, but his vocals are still better than they have been in at least a decade, even if they will never be able to recapture their 90s magic.

As the song is about making connections with new people and how that can help you attain a state of inner peace, I thought it was an apt choice to reflect upon a year of writing for the paper and the friendships that have flourished from said experience. I hope many students still have the opportunity to join next year and can enjoy writing as much as I have.

Finlay Holden

'High Hopes'- Panic! At The Disco

Released in summer 2018, this song always take me back to the Courier office when I was a News Editor in 2018/19. Though the current team may be embarrassed to admit it, this song was played on NSR a lot over that year, and was resultantly broadcast in the Courier office. It's a brilliant song that never fails to brighten my spirits and make me sing along. Though I have really grown to appreciate this song for what it is, listening to it still casts me back to the Courier office, where it often provided the musical backdrop to article editing and stressing over InDesign. And if anyone mentions NSR to me, it's the first song that comes to mind.

James Blunt - 'You're Beautiful'

Anyone who has spent time in the Courier office this year will know that I am a James Blunt fan, to the point where I was actually told off for playing him on repeat in the office. Growing up my mum had always blasted his music in the kitchen, and so listening to him just reminds me of home comforts and my mum's cooking, but something over the past year reignited my love for his music. I felt embarrassed to admit it at first, but in the end I embraced my love for James Blunt, and was surprised to find that a few of my fellow editors felt the same. Though I have been mocked incessantly in the office for playing his songs on repeat (they're not on repeat, they just all sound the same), they were the ones laughing when I got free tickets to review his gig at the Utilita Arena, with seats impressively close to the front. 'You're Beautiful' is the one James Blunt song that everyone knows, and the one that I got mocked for the most, and perhaps the one I will be remembered for my this year's team of sub-editors.

Mariah Carey & My Chemical Romance - 'Welcome to the Christmas Parade'

A strange choice, but hear me out. I was browsing my Facebook in the office one day (I promise I do actually do work sometimes) when I stumbled across this gem. This came shortly after My Chemical Romance's reunion announcement, and I discovered that a few other sub-editors had actually been MCR fans too back in the day. It was fortunate that I discovered this song in December, but even if I hadn't I would have still blasted it in the Courier office, because it's great. This obviously isn't a real song; this is a mash-up by someone with way too much time but evidently seamless editing skills. I'm not usually a fan of mash-ups, but this one excels. I would never have put these two songs together but they really really work. After listening to this, my YouTube recommended became plagued with a variety of mash-ups which I made my way through, but the only other one that impressed me is a mix of Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black' and MCR's 'Famous Last Words'.

Mika - 'Love Today'

I'm still not sure entirely how it happened, but one night in the Courier office, very late at night, a sleep-deprived Editor-in-Chief stuck up a notice on her desk declaring that "today is Mika day". That notice stayed there for days, if not weeks, though Mika's voice regrettably did not grace the Courier office every day of the sign's duration. Regardless of the origins of this notice, this provoked much Mika-related discussion, perhaps inspired by an NSR show by The Courier's two Culture Editors which showcased his work. Of all of his brilliant works, this is perhaps one of the best purely because of it's happy-go-lucky feel. My main memories of the Courier office are of happiness, and this song epitomises that.

All by Grace Dean

'To Build A Home'- The Cinematic Orchestra

‘To Build A Home’ by The Cinematic Orchestra represents so many of my memories writing for The Courier for two academic years. On the surface, the mellow tempo depicts sadness, but underneath lies a deeper meaning. It emphasises a profound beauty in every moment we encounter.

This is a place where I don't feel alone
This is a place where I feel at home

I started off in university as an introverted individual. Being in a new environment, 200 miles away from my hometown, I was anxious to make friends. However, I persevered to build strong connections from my flatmates, societies and eventually The Courier. This is where I found my second home. I felt like I really belonged here. The physical space in the office was indeed relaxing and comforting. The aroma of tea, coffee and Shijo in the morning was warm and inviting. This has helped me become productive when editing articles and actually has become conversation starters between colleagues. Simple questions from “Would you like some coffee or tea?” to “What did you get from Shijo?” has helped to establish strong relationships I never knew would flourish. It is amazing how simple senses can stimulate deep and meaningful interactions.

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree as old as me
Branches were sewn by the color of green
Ground had arose and passed it's knees

However, it was friendship that has made my experience very special. I was surrounded with abundant support from editors and fellow writers. Someone is always available to listen to ideas and is willing to give constructive feedback. We openly embraced laughter in our work culture, as it relieved stress levels. Shared laughter created a positive atmosphere; I was able to remain professional, whilst still showing a humorous side of my personality. In this sense, I was open to express who I am, and share my thoughts without judgement.

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me

With amazing achievements such as SPANC awards, we celebrated successes. Yet, such achievements are not faced with hardships. When one faced difficulty in life, we listened and showed compassion to them. We really do care about each other.

Until it disappeared
From me
From you

Things will come and go inevitably with time but there will always be memories we can hold onto. Changes are always scary, but they are necessary. It hurts me to leave as I graduate, but I realise there is another exciting journey ahead. Whatever route it might be, The Courier has given me immense experience from various facets of life that I will treasure forever.

And now, it's time to leave and turn to dust

Carl Smith Valdez

'Everything In Its Right Place'- Radiohead

I'm a pretty sensitive, sentimental person- though I don't let it show much- so as I'm sat here reading everyone's picks ready to edit them my eyes are welling up with tears and my heart is feeling warm and fuzzy. My Courier journey started with an article on my all-time favourite album, Radiohead's Kid A, turning 18 years old. So it's only right that I pick the opener from that album 'Everything In Its Right Place' as my song. It just so happens it fits perfectly.

For the majority of my life and especially before coming to university I have struggled with bouts of loneliness and have never really felt as though I "fit in" anywhere. I didn't have an abundance of close friends who I felt comfortable with and felt accepted by.

However, throughout my time at The Courier- and especially my time as an editor this year- the office has been a safe haven for me. I was surrounded by a group of people who I finally felt accepted me and genuinely liked me as a person for maybe the first time in my life- even if they all think I look like Chris Martin from Coldplay. The time I have spent in there this year has provided me with memories I will treasure for the rest of my life, be it a hilarious quote from our office quoteboard or finding one of my fellow editors asleep on the office sofa after what I can only presume was a messy evening.

The Courier has been such an important part of my university experience so far. I've met some of my best friends through the paper and even found my passion which I hope to pursue as a career. I've had so many memories with this paper so far and I hope to make even more next year.

So, as I'm sat here editing this article with tears streaming down my face, I'm reminded of the office and my friends where everything really feels as if it's in its right place...

Dominic Lee

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