Narrowboat songs

Frank Cottrell Boyce’s playlist for spring boating

Frank Cottrell Boyce’s new book ‘The Astounding Broccoli Boy’ tells the story of a boy emerging somewhat altered from a lake. Here he selects some songs and an audio book for spring boating, as we reprint a piece the ‘Millions’ author wrote for fantastic nature and culture website Caught By The River about his real-life boating holiday along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

“One of the things I loved about travelling by canal,” he says, “was seeing a familiar place from a different angle. With that in mind I’d like to take a few familiar songs in unfamiliar versions. For instance Hannah Peel’s gorgeous rendition of ‘Tainted Love’ with her and a music box.”

Or the Henry Girls’ fabulous version of ‘Watching the Detectives'

Daniel Barenboim’s version of Carlos Gardel’s ‘Mi Buenos Aires Querida’

When we were going through the ruins of industrialisation around Wigan, I’d have ‘Banks of Green Willow’ by Vaughan Williams to remind me of the countryside.

Going through the countryside I’d have ‘And I Will Kiss’ by Underworld to remind me that the canal is a liquid machine.

Hannah Peel - Silk Road from KARBORN on Vimeo.

For the buzz of going somewhere unknown – more Hannah Peel this time ‘Silk Road’

For the buzz of arriving somewhere familiar - ‘The Boys are Back in Town’ by Thin Lizzy.

“For the audio book – ‘True Tilda’ by Arthur Quiller Couch. No one reads it now but it’s great – a chase story set on the canals of England when they were the arteries of our economy.”

Read the original three-part series on Caught By The River here, here and here.

Interview: Emma Warren

Last date edited: 26 March 2015

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