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Travel with the songs of Jane Sanderson’s Mix Tape

  • Submitted: 22nd March 2020

Mix Tape songs by Jane Sanderson

Chatting to an author anytime is good, but when one has music infused into her novel….even better! Particularly apt for these troubling times.

There’s not many books which have their own soundtrack is there? Mix Tape does however and it’s a good one! Plenty of songs to go down memory lane. So depending on your age, plug in your headphones, dial up your ipod or click on spotify and reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelax…

BookTrail the locations in Mix Tape

Travel across the world with a Mix Tape and Jane Sanderson


BookTrail the locations in Mix Tape

(c) Jane Sanderson

(c) Jane Sanderson

What about the songs! Oh, the songs!

I think we all have a soundtrack of our lives, even those among us who claim not to be ‘interested in music.’ But it’s true that some of us set more store by it than others, and I have always found songs to have a stronger hold on my memory than, say, names or faces. Below, are a hastily-assembled ten of songs that for me immediately summon a place or a time. The complete soundtrack of my life would be far longer than this, but this is a good start.

Travel with the songs of Jane Sanderson's Mix Tape

Guilty, by the Pearls

A classy little number, and, I’m proud to say, the first single I ever bought. This is because my best friend when I was eleven had an eighteen-year-old brother who was into Northern Soul (if you’ve read Mix Tape you’ll know he’s in the book) and for a short while, he took on our musical education, probably trying to wean us off the Bay City Rollers. This track makes me think of being in my friend’s front room, trying to dance with the same Wigan Casino flair as her brother.

Concrete and the Clay, by Unit 4+2

I heard this at half time, at the only Barnsley FC match I’ve ever attended. It was 1973, I was with my sister and her friend on the terraces at Oakwell, and I was bored and frozen. Then this song came blasting out of the sound system and everything seemed much better. I can’t remember a thing about the football, but I’ve never forgotten the song.

BookTrail the locations in Mix Tape

Travel with the songs of Jane Sanderson's Mix Tape

Pump it Up by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

It’s the first track on Dan and Ali’s playlist in Mix Tape for a very good reason. I was at that party, where Alison danced barefoot, lost in music. Or I should say, I was at a party like it. Necking Cinzano straight from the bottle and dancing in a dark room to songs with lyrics I didn’t really understand, but which seemed to promise something thrilling and sinful in the adult world, which was still just out of reach for me in 1978.

Rumours, by Fleetwood Mac

The whole album; don’t make me choose. Any one of these takes me back to Kirk Balk sixth form in Hoyland, painting a mural on one wall of the common room – a rainbow and a rabbit: very trippy.

Travel with the songs of Jane Sanderson's Mix Tape

Road to Nowhere, by Talking Heads

I’d never heard this band, when Road to Nowhere came on at a student house party, in my second year at Leicester University. It was the end of the night – the early hours of the morning. I was sitting on the carpet with a few other survivors, my back to a sofa, contemplating cycling home but not really wanting to. Then Talking Heads came on and they seeped right into my soul and kept me pinned to the floor; so original, a whole new musical vocabulary, radical somehow, and kind of revolutionary.

Travel with the songs of Jane Sanderson's Mix Tape

And It Stoned Me, by Van Morrison

Oh, I know where I am when I hear this track, but I’m afraid I can’t share it online! But what a song, what an artist, and I’ll be forever grateful to the unsuitable boyfriend who introduced me to him.

Into the Mystic, by Van Morrison

Van the Man loomed large once I’d found him, and this track reminds me of an extraordinary trip to Zimbabwe, as a producer with Radio 4. Driving through Harare. Jacaranda trees. Dusty roads. Epic rainfall. Big skies.

BookTrail the locations in Mix Tape

Travel with the songs of Jane Sanderson's Mix Tape

Son of a Preacher Man, by Dusty Springfield

My desert island disc, the one record I’d keep when the other seven get washed away. It’s familiar – very – to my husband and children, because it’s my party piece, my go-to choice at the kind of social occasion that ends in an uninhibited sing-song (and I don’t need much encouragement).

The Boy with the Arab Strap, by Belle and Sebastian

My middle child, Joe, introduced me to this wonderful Scottish band (and to so many others from his indie rock playlists) and it always takes me back to the school run into Hereford, my three kids –  Elly, Joe and Jake – all in the car, but Joe usually in control of the music. I’d often say, ‘This is nice, who is it?’ and Joe would say, ‘Belle and Sebastian!’ and roll his eyes, because I hadn’t recognised them yet again.

California Dreaming, by the Mamas and the Papas

My youngest child Jake and I used to sing this together, when he was little enough to absolutely love singing with his mum. He had a lovely voice – still has, but it’s tenor now, not alto! – and he’d take the Mama Cass part, while I was Denny Doherty. How I wish we’d recorded it, just once, for posterity; it would make me so happy to hear those harmonies again, and recall our very serious mutual commitment to getting it bang on.


This is a good way to while away a few hours listening to all these songs and reading the book! What a perfect way to spend your time whether you are self-isolating or not. A book which mixes music and memories.

Perfect! Thanks Jane!



BookTrail Boarding Pass:  Mix Tape

Authors on location: Travel across the world with a Mix Tape and Jane Sanderson

Twitter:   @sandersonjane web: janesanderson.com/

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