Music from Mayflies, a trip into 80s alternative music

If, like me, you're a big fan of alternative 80s music, here are a couple of playlists you'll love. They are both inspired by the new show, Mayflies, that premiered on BBC One on December 28, 2022. If you haven't heard of the show, What to Watch provides this description:

Mayflies is an adaptation of the famous novel of the same name by Andrew O'Hagan. Like the book, this two-part BBC drama introduces us to James (Line of Duty's Martin Compston) and Tully (Ray Donovan star Tony Curran), two lifelong pals from Scotland who have been best friends ever since leaving school back in the summer of 1986.

Thirty years on from a wild weekend with their mates in Manchester, Tully reaches back out to James to tell him he's been diagnosed with terminal cancer and only has months to live. What's more, Tully asks James to help him take his own life. Alongside the contemporary drama, we'll also see what happened in the summer of 1986, when the duo's friendship was born. 

Here's the first playlist, featuring 12 songs compiled by Clash Music, which provides some further context about the show and the novel it's based on:

Partly a coming of age tale set against the shadow of the Miner's strike, Thatcher's reign, and the impact of widespread unemployment, it traces two characters from the Scottish town of Irvine. Featuring a road trip to Manchester's Transmission festival, its replete with references to The Fall, The Smiths, and beyond.

A new BBC adaptation has hit iPlayer, starring Martin Compston and Tony Curran as the central friends. A layered, powerfully emotive experience, it also features a stellar soundtrack, using music to illustrate key moments in the show's development. An engrossing two-parter, Mayflies blends these alternative 80s cuts with specially commissioned work from Scottish born composer Lorne Balfe.

And here's the second playlist, which was compiled by the original book's author, Andrew O'Hagan, upon the book's release in 2020. This one has 49 songs and includes lots of my favorites by The Specials, OMD, Aztec Camera, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, Echo and the Bunnymen, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Happy Mondays, The Jam, Bauhaus, Squeeze, The Stone Roses, Killing Joke, The Beat, The Fall, and more.

If you haven't yet seen the show and don't have BBC One, What to Watch provides some handy instructions about how to get access. In the meantime, enjoy the music!