Support 100 years of independent journalism.

How does a music writer grieve? With playlists, of course

On sudden loss, big tunes and the unexpected joy of “griephoria”.

Music writer Pete Paphides has turned to songwriters and musicians, from Abba to the Undertones, to make sense of all the big moments in his life. So when he got the call he was dreading, to say that his father was dying, it was music that saw him through shock, denial and loss. 

In this moving audio essay, read by the author, Paphides explores both the unpredictability of grief and the way his playlists gained fresh meaning – particularly the traditional songs his Greek-Cypriot father listened to, which remind him of home and wet weekends above the family fish-and-chip shop in Birmingham. 

“This is the gift that grief gives you,” says Paphides. “When a loved one leaves this world, they take with them the invisible membrane that stood between your senses and the songs they receive.” For months, he had been looking forward to the premiere of the Abba Voyage hologram show; now, it falls on the eve of his father’s funeral. When he attends the show, how will it affect him?

This article was originally published on 11 June 2022. You can read the text version (with playlist) here.

Music quoted in this piece:

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Freetime” by Trashcan Sinatras

Content from our partners
The green transition can unlock 40,000 new businesses and £175bn
Building the business case for growth
“On supporting farmers, McDonald’s sets a high standard”

Giorgio by Moroder” by Daft Punk

Maddox Table” by 10,000 Maniacs

Ena omorfo amaxi me dio aloga” (One Cart with Two Horses) by Grigoris Bithikotsis

Six Words” by Elbow

How to listen to Audio Long Reads

1. In podcast apps

Audio Long Reads is available to listen on all major podcast players, including Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsYouTube and more.

Either click the links above to open in your preferred player, or open the podcast app on your device and search for “Audio Long Reads”.

Follow or subscribe in your podcast app to receive new episodes as soon as they publish.

2. On the New Statesman website

The podcast is also available to listen right here on the New Statesman website. Bookmark https://www.newstatesman.com/podcasts/audio-long-reads, where we will publish new episodes every Saturday morning.

3. On your smart speaker

If you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or Apple HomePod, ask it to “play the latest episode of Audio Long Reads from the New Statesman”.

The command will also work on other smart devices equipped with Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri.

Topics in this article :