Candice Pires 

Six Songs of Me: David Nicholls

The One Day novelist picks the songs that mean the most to him as part of our Six Songs of Me project
  
  

What was the first song you ever bought?

Shipbuilding - Robert Wyatt
I heard it on the John Peel Show, which I used to listen to slightly nervously as it seemed very hard and punky. I was 15 and knew I wasn't going to hear it again easily so went and bought it in Woolworths. It was a response to the Falklands War, which was something I was quite loud-mouthed about.

What song always gets you dancing?

All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
Even though it's a dance track it has this sense of ennui. It's ostensibly upbeat with a terrific atmosphere of morning-after regret. I can't remember the last time I danced; it was probably the millennium. I never get out of it what you're meant to. But I listen to a lot of dance music.

What song takes you back to your childhood?

I Say a Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin
Music from variety shows written by people like Burt Bacharach and Hal David takes me back to Saturday nights sitting in my pyjamas watching terrible television. As a child, we had a record player but it was covered in ornaments and we were never allowed to take the lid off, so much of my pop music education came from television.

What is your perfect love song?

Re: Stacks - Bon Iver
I have played this song more than any other in recent years, especially when I was writing One Day; it had the right mood. It's about loss and regret. The lyrics are very elusive and obscure. It's melancholy but not in an obvious way. Any list of my favourite songs is mostly made up of sad love songs.

What song would you want at your funeral?

Who Knows Where the Times Goes? - Fairport Convention
It's a great love song – simultaneously joyful and regretful about lost time and the past. If you're going to have a song at your funeral, you have to go for it and be heart breaking.

Time for the encore. One last song that makes you, you.

These Days – Nico
Often I hear a song and I think, 'that's a quality I want to capture in my writing.' I like the mixture of romance and cynicism. It's strange to hear this very feminine pop song with this weary, East Berlin cynicism. Often when I'm writing I'll listen to a piece of music to summon up a mood and this is the piece I've listened to the most.

• Listen to David Nicholls's six songs and join in the project by telling us what music means to most to you at sixsongsof.me

 

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