CMU Playlists

Playlist: Tim Key

By | Published on Saturday 6 November 2010

Having begun his career as a member of Cambridge Footlights in 2001 (having tricked the organisers of the Cambridge University revue into believing he was a student), Tim Key has gone on to build a successful solo comedy career – including TV and radio work with the likes of Mark Watson, Charlie Brooker and Alex Horne – while also performing with the rather fine sketch comedy group Cowards.

He also co-stars alongside Steve Coogan in the new online comedy show, ‘Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters’, which launched today.

His comedic poetry has seen him win the prestigious Edinburgh Comedy Award, and become resident poet on Charlie Brooker’s ‘Screenwipe’ and ‘Newswipe’, and Mark Watson’s Radio 4 show. And next week he releases his first poetry album, ‘Tim Key. With A String Quartet. On A Boat’, which will be available in a limited edition run of 1000 copies on vinyl. He officially launches it with a free performance at Rough Trade East in London on 9 Nov.

Of the album Tim says: “I just got the sense that it was the right point in history to make a poetry album and produce it on vinyl but in quite a limited edition way. For one thing I had loads of long poems kicking about collecting dust and what’s more I also had my management set-up in my ear, increasingly using phrases like ‘I think you should make a poetry album with a string quartet providing musical accompaniment'”.

To celebrate the arrival of the new album, we asked Tim to jump into the world of Spotify to put together a Powers Of Ten playlist for us.

Once he’d done that, we asked him to explain his thinking behind how he’d put the playlist together. He said: “I mainly listen to Russian music. I like Leningrad, Lube and some Mummy Troll. I also enjoy classical music but noticed that a lot of the previous Powers Of Ten playlists tend to avoid Russian rock and classical. So let’s just take it as read that I like listening to Haydn’s ‘The Clock’ and get on with it. I mainly listen to music when I’m running or putting together a makeshift CD of merry tunes for an audience to listen to before I come on and do my poetry at a gig. The thinking goes, even if they think I’m a load of old horseshit at least they’ll have listened to some uplifting girlband from the sixties, so the evening wasn’t a complete write-off”.

Click here to listen to Tim’s playlist in Spotify, and then read on to find out more about his selections.

01 The Shangri-Las – Give Him A Great Big Kiss
I like songs where people talk in them. The Shangri-La’s are never shy of having a chat half way through. It’s a slightly rawer but equally intoxicating take on the sort of stuff I imagine happens in the film ‘Grease’. Cute.

02 The Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow

I fell in love with this cheeky piece of baroque pop the moment I first heard it and still listen to it at all times. From the beautifully simple first eight little piano notes, through to the other guys joining in on their shakers and violins and the man singing about a girl, this song is drenched in magic.

03 Freddie Stevenson – Easy Now

“JK Rowling’s been following me around”. Witty, left-field lyrics, matched up with passionate warbling and a cool beard and hat. Stevenson’s stuff is tight, tuneful and I love it.

04 Ishtar – O Julissi Na Julini

I found myself watching the semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest two years ago. Bit of a low, social-life-wise. This turned my night around. I open my stageshow with it now and it makes me feel unrealistically happy. It’s the Belgian entrant and didn’t get through to the final.

05 Eminem – Lose Yourself

Love Eminem. Love ‘8 Mile’. Essential on my playlist for when I do running and useful in this list to break up the more camp offerings and make me appeal to real men.

06 Ennio Morricone – Meti Una Sera A Cena

Morricone writes the coolest, breeziest soundtracks. He’s the dude who did all the spaghetti westerns back in the day and made up that whistly one from ‘The Good, The Bad And The Ugly’. This one’s less famous and chilled to the point of sleep-inducing.

07 Blondie – Denis
Blondie just reiterates again and again that she’s in love with this Denis fella (presumably French). She’s relentlessly positive and her tribute is gloriously catchy. In other news I, in turn, am in love with Blondie.

08 Regina Spektor – Apres Moi

Epic. Regina Spektor’s my favourite. She just sits in her crazy bubble and does A-grade singing. In this one she also says “ugh!” quite a lot and yet it still sounds beautiful. I once shook her hand. It was as meek and electrifying a handshake as you’d imagine.

09 The Divine Comedy – Sweden

When I first moved to London I bought a bad version of an iPod and couldn’t make it work so I only had one album on it – ‘Fin De Siecle’. Pretty happy with it, though. This song’s stupid but comfortably makes my top ten.

10 The Streets – Dry Your Eyes

I was really inspired by The Streets. I heard this when I was writing a play about a little man in a difficult friendship group and it knocked me backwards. By turns seriously funny and incredibly poignant. And with brilliant music smeared all over it.