1. Deacon Blue | Orphans
This reminds me of being a child in Devon in the late 1980s. The album version of this track, which I first heard when I was ten or eleven, was a definite Ah ha moment for me. I think it was when I realised that Music was most valuable, for me, when it was most emotional. I was a child caught between divorcing parents, and tracks like this helped me give voice to some turbulent emotions I was experiencing. They’re an easy band to sneer at, especially if you only go by their more popular songs (like Real Gone Kid). I guess it's the Prefab Sprout dilemma - being known for a song that is different in approach than almost anything else in the repertoire. But there's a wealth of material on the album tracks and B-sides that is so much richer and more unusual than their hits, and those tracks are one of the reasons why I've loved Deacon Blue intensely since I was a kid. And I've continued to listen to them throughout the years, first as a kind of guilty pleasure, and more recently, a little more vocally - especially since they're experiencing a kind of late-career creative high, with three new albums since 2012. It's funny how things have a habit of slipping in and out of being credible... I don't think Deacon Blue are quite there yet, but I don't really care. But this song, it's not a million miles away from Shoegaze, actually – especially the live version. It’s a good example of the kind of hidden gems you find on their albums.

2. Brian Eno - David Byrne | The Jezebel Spirit
This reminds me of a record store in my home town. It was called Fat Tones, in the West Exe part of Tiverton, Devon. I always thought it was a funny name for a shop because the guy that ran it was called Tony, and he was really fat, hahaha. When I was a teenager, I used to make money by doing a Saturday paper round, and I also used to walk old ladies’ dogs for money, so I had like a tenner a week that I could spend on Music, which felt like a fortune when I was 14. Fat Tones was all second-hand stuff anyway, so with that amount of money I could buy two CDs, or three tapes a week if I wanted to. And you know how important Music is to you at that age - you just soak it all up. The wonderful thing was that Tony seemed to know exactly what kind of stuff I was into, and as I was one of the regulars, he'd sort of push my taste in various directions, and buy in things in for me. So, he saw that I was into Talking Heads around Christmas 1995, and started buying in related things like My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, because he figured I'd want it some time. In fact, thinking about it, it was probably him that got me into Brian Eno, via this record. He was a lovely guy, one of those people who had a big impact on my life without ever really knowing it, and I often wonder what he’s up to now. What a legend.

3. Passengers | Beach Sequence (Beyond The Clouds Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
One of the better cuts from the ill-fated collaborative album between Brian Eno and U2 in 1995. This is a record I really loved when I was a teenager - another one of the weird things I was bringing into School to when everyone my age was into Britpop! - and I learned a lot about Record Production and Mixing from this song. There's a whole landscape of strange blurred sounds in the centre of the Stereo image - maybe a treatment on the other instruments - but everything else is clear and pushed to the edges. It's so Eno - it has the most distinctive sense of Sonic Space in it and really evokes the environment suggested by the title. It reminds me a lot of being a teenager and spending time on the North Somerset Coast - my family had a holiday place there, and it was really remote and isolated, and I used to love taking walks alone on the rocky, windswept beach – listening to things like this on my cassette Walkman. Good times!

4. Bryan Ferry | The Name Of The Game
He's having a late-career renaissance, isn't he? But there was a time, like in the mid-1990s, when Ferry and Roxy Music were so unfashionable. This reminds me of being about 15 or 16 in Devon, and a different kind of beach experience – in this case, the endless, tedious trips to beaches on the South Coast of Devon, with my family. These were touristy, popular, sandy beaches, typical British seaside stuff, as opposed to the glorious isolation of the place on the North coast where we had a holiday home... Ugh, I just wasn't a beach person then, and I used to get so bored. The only consolation was that I was young and gay, and used to enjoy seeing so many hot shirtless guys around, hahaha. But anyway, often I'd amuse myself by walking off into town and checking out the second-hand record stores. It's amazing how many there used to be - back in the mid-1990s even small seaside towns in Devon had two or three second-hand record stores, and because vinyl records were deeply, deeply unfashionable at that time, I'd be able to buy classic albums - like this one - for a pound or two. That did wonders for my Music tastes because I could take a chance on things, it wasn't like buying a new CD which might be a tenner or something. So this reminds me a lot of those summer Sunday afternoons in the mid-1990s, when I’d spend many a happy hour working my way through stacks of second-hand vinyl records.

5. Cocteau Twins | Lazy Calm
I first heard this track in a Dublin hotel room, looking out over the city, in early 1998. I was 17, and I was there on a Literature trip organised by my College's English department, with a load of my fellow students, seeing different productions in the theatre every evening. I guess it was my first major trip away from home, without my family, and I was so enthralled to the Cocteau Twins at the time. Except that I got into them in almost exactly the wrong way; the first record of theirs that I heard was their last one, Milk & Kisses, and I thought it was so gorgeous - but then the next record I bought was Garlands, their earliest and spikiest record, and I was like What the fuck is this? This is dreadful! (I should say that now I appreciate all their records). So, I really felt like I was taking a chance when I spent some of my very limited spending money on their Victorialand album. But when I first popped this into my portable CD player - remember them? - and heard this song, especially the bit where it kicks in with Elizabeth Fraser's voice, I knew I had made the right decision. They remain, nearly twenty years later, my favourite band of all time, and the absolute centre of my Musical influences - it's a sad day where I don't get to play at least one of their songs on my iPod or whatever.

6. Harold Budd | Boy About 10
This piece reminds me of a very beautiful time in my life. I was 18 and had just left home for the first time, I'd finished my A Levels and was preparing to leave Devon, to move to Manchester, for University. Except that my dear friend Elly and I decided to have one last year in Devon, and moved in together. We had a lovely place - an annex at the back of a cottage just on the outskirts of our small town in Devon, surrounded by evergreen trees, dark and cosy inside. I was really busy and fulfilled, studying Art at College, doing work for an LGBT charity, and I had a regular gig playing Budd-esque piano at the Rainbow CafĂ© in Exeter. It was a lovely time, and it was all down to Elly, really - we cooked for each other, looked after each other, lived a very cultural life, and supported each other's creative endeavours. I was recovering from a pretty severe bout of Depression, and in retrospect, I really needed that year with her to kind of build myself up, and prepare for moving away. Harold Budd was a bit of an obsession at the time, but Elly didn't really like a lot of his stuff. But when I brought this album home, we both fell in Love with it – I think it’s the viola in it, it’s so wistful and evocative. It always reminds me of that time - the two of us quietly sipping wine, reading books, and kind of listening to this record in the background. It was a very lovely time in my life.

7. Slowdive | Ballad Of Sister Sue
I cannot listen to this record without flashing back to the summer of 2001. It was my first summer in Manchester, I was living with some great friends, going out all the time (and taking way too much ecstasy) and working loads - but it was one of the most glorious times of my life. I'd been massively into the Cocteau Twins for three years or so at this point, and had gotten to a level of ridiculous geekery, collecting live recordings and so on, and was determined to do something similar myself, musically, but couldn't quite figure it out. Discovering Slowdive was a lightning bold moment - it showed me how you could sort of pack that kind of guitar sound into a more conventional song format, with a male voice. And I completely overdosed on this record, that year - so much so that I haven't really listened to it much in the intervening years. But when I put the record on a few months ago, I wasn't surprised to find that every intimate detail of the record is still there, in my head.

8. The Blue Nile | The Downtown Lights
I had read about this band long before I heard their Music, and I was dying to hear what they sounded like. This was in about 2002, 2003, something like that, and it wasn't as easy as it is now to find Music online - there was no YouTube, barely any sites selling mp3s and so on, and anyway, I was a student and didn't have a broadband connection until a couple of years later. Anyway, one Saturday I was in the middle of a big weekend, myself and a group of friends were doing loads of speed and going around the bars drinking, and I suddenly got the idea that I absolutely had to buy this record, right now! And so, I did. I left the bar and went to the HMV in Market Street and Manchester, where they had it. And I listened to it loads over the next couple of days, when I was coming down, and thought it was one of the best records I'd heard in my life. Almost every song by The Blue Nile is like an Edward Hopper painting, and there's something about their Music that suggests a sense of Stillness in a busy city, of quiet moments in dark bars, of late night city streets, or the romance of tall buildings. It reminds me a lot of my first few years in Manchester.

9. Beach House | The Traveller
This song reminds me of how I felt when I moved to London in 2012. I had split up my old band, and left Manchester after living there for 12 years, said goodbye to all my old friends. I was nervous and excited in equal measure. And then I moved to London and very quickly had a new life and a new circle of friends - Beach House's Bloom was the first new record that I heard at that time, and I absolutely fell in Love with it. I can never separate that album from the feelings I was having at the time. This song is from a later album, but it’s as good as anything else they’ve done. They're a band that seem to divide people, but I can't get enough of what they do. People say that their records sound similar, but that's sort of the point, for me - they've developed their own sound-world, and I'm quite happy if they just stay in that one place forever. I suppose they're a bit like the Cocteau Twins in that sense - no bad thing.

10. Talk Talk | Living In Another World
It was November 2012, and I’d been in London for about six weeks. I woke up late, didn't have anything to do, and was already on my way into central London to kill some time, when I suddenly thought, I've never been to Brighton, why not go now?... And so, I did. It was a lovely afternoon, really grey, and the sea was dramatic and beautiful. I had this album on my iPod but I hadn't listened to it yet... I’d paid lip service to Talk Talk for many years, but that day, when I was walking around Brighton on my own, listening to this, something finally clicked, and I finally understood their genius. It was a lovely, solitary day, and this album always reminds me of that.

+11. Blonde Redhead | Oslo
I met my partner shortly after I moved to London, and this album reminds me of moving in with him a couple of years later, to a house in Sutton, on the outskirts of the London. That was a lovely time, living in a part of town I’d never been to before, exploring the area and commuting back and forth to work. This is one of the albums I was listening to at the time. I managed to totally miss it when it came out, and I'm still not sure why. But when I finally got around to listening to it I realised what a dumbass I'd been. It's great - I was only patchily a fan of their work before, a couple of songs here and there, but I loved this album through and through, and I've listened to it loads over the last few years.