Diverted Pathways


Nikita and I once had the same music taste. This was in the summer of 1996. After that…okay wait, no. Let’s actually go into the summer of 1996 and introduce just a few songs that will remind me (and you) of this really great time.

It was a time WAY before the advent of MP3s and there was no way of discovering music unless you listened to a lot of radio especially after 22:00 every weekday as Barney Simon played the greatest selection of music in the world ever. I stand by this last line because this truly the last golden era of music. Some may say that the last few years have produced some of the most important pieces of music of all time but we can discuss that at some other junction. They technically are correct but right now, I am right and you’re not. So, I am sticking with the, “the 90s were awesome so shush,” philosophy.

The year 1996 will dig up suppressed memories of the Spice Girls and the Impulse Spice Deodorant you or your sister once owned. You will also remember that cinnamon based scent which was actually pretty great and still lingers in your mind till today. I obviously don’t remember this scent at all. Obviously.

It was also the year of “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” which made you love music all over again. It also had that “Spaceman,” “Born Slippy,” and we saw Keith Flint’s hair in all it’s spiked glory! There was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with many songs from ‘Jagged Little Pill,’  and The Fugees, and us singing, “Because you’re gorgeous, I’d do anything for you,” and “Insomnia,” and “And I miss you, like the deserts miss the rain…” Gosh, do you remember how powerful it felt when you listened to Jewel asking, “Who will save your soul?” And then there was Bone Thugs and Harmony with a touch of Alisha’s Attic thrown in before “God save the King of New Orleans.” And “Rotterdam,” and the best albums by The Smashing Pumpkins and Beck (this album should have won him that Grammy.)


A greater part of 1996 was that South Africa lagged with music. I don’t know if you remember the 5fm charts up till around 2005 where you would get a song entering at #40 that had already been on the Official UK Singles Chart for 12 weeks. This meant that all this music was new for the entire year. That doesn’t make much sense nowadays but it meant this beautiful era of songs lingered on for months as we digested and fell in love with them.

Back to Nikita and I, these two songs from 1996 still reverberate with me and make me remember those good times in the pool and the beach in that exquisite summer of 1996. The first is from a now defunct band named Lush who were a shoegazing band (whatever that is – okay, I know what it is) but slowly drifted into Britpop (yay) especially with this great track called “Lady Killers.”

The second is by a Britpop band. They did something weird in 2009 by releasing one single every two weeks totalling 26 singles in the calendar year. I still think “Oh Yeah” is one of the best songs of the era and definitely the bands best single.

Which sets an important precedent – just like Ash, I shall be writing a fortnightly column. My musical journey has been an amazing one. I’ve grown with lots of music and felt music in ways that many others haven’t. Yes, I am quite snobbish too (I mean, look at the column’s name!) but this trip is bound to be enjoyable.

So what should you look forward to reading? To be honest, I don’t actually know. All my other attempts at writing have spun me in directions I never knew would be possible. But that’s the beauty of it all. Music works just like that. You could be sitting in William Nicol traffic and a gem of a tune from 1989 would come onto the radio and literally change you entire world.

Other than that, this column is going to be filled with insanity, trivia, more insanity, highly judgemental calls and a taste in music which has since diverged from Nikita’s. Regular features will include lists, chart analysis, and a lot of songs which I proclaim are the best song in the world. And no, I don’t have a favourite song of all time but I do have a Top 100 which is made up of way more than 100 songs.

Also hope to push Nikita’s musical buttons and make her pull out her hair too. So that is it – I hope you will be entertained, enjoy the collated playlists, and learn a lot about music (and the music that goes on in my head) as we embark on this magical musical journey.

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Shahil Juggernath

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