I’ll think of it as a mixtape, shall I?

Younger readers are, of course, excused for not knowing what the old bat’s on about this time.  Thing is, I do have one particular clear memory from nearly 40 years ago, of sitting in the garden of a hotel somewhere in Wales with pen and paper, absolutely labouring over the order in which I was going to record the various songs I was currently obsessed with onto a C60 cassette when the holiday was over. I gave all my compilation tapes titles, and drew cover illustrations for them, and all sorts.


It’s on my mind a bit just now as I am similarly labouring, and obsessed, about the order in which to place the stories in the Who Thrilled Cock Robin anthology. I have eight fabulous stories, all inspired by or based on different folk songs.  (Well, to be brutally honest, I have seven and a half as I have not finished my own – or at least my Other Self’s – contribution yet). They are gloriously diverse in theme, pairings and tone and I am desperately trying to get the order just right, like any band struggling over the tracklisting of their latest album. Even though I am fairly well aware that many a reader will look at the contents page and and decide to read the contribution of his/her favourite author first, no matter whereabouts it comes in the sequence. I’m trying not to find that prospect as infuriating as I suspect bands do when their sweated-over sequence is randomly overruled by the shuffle function on someone’s iPod. I am now on about the 40th arrangement of story titles and therefore not fully responsible for my actions.

Actually, perhaps the way to make the final selection is to play all the songs the authors picked, and structure the contents page as though it were the cardboard sleeve of a mixtape…

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