Tag Archive: Ship


The other day I organised a “Crossing The Line” ceremony for the cadets onboard. A celebration for crossing the equator, the transition from Pollywog to Shellback.

From my experience in recent years it has dropped off in it’s usage. Nobody really makes an effort or cares anymore. It’s a shame, because as proved this week, it’s a great crew morale builder. Especially when usually if you are on a run between ports that includes an Equator crossing it will generally involve a considerable amount of time in open water – this time for us it has been 26 days between ports.

Obviously it’s not quite the same without beer now that dry ships are becoming more & more prevalent, but you can still have a good time with it. Mine was a beer fuelled, fish stinking, paint & foodwaste extravaganza.

You can still cover the Pollywogs in food, a bit of sludge, make the hair sacrifice, throw them in the swimming pool, feed them their suspect food & drink, let them kiss the fish then kneel before Neptune & kiss his ring. Before joining the fraternity that is the Shellbacks.

It sounds bad I know, but there is no malice, & we’ve all done it & been there, I was covered in paint & food waste (A whole liver was produced from somewhere!). It probably Could be counted as hazing, but as with all things, there’s hazing and there’s hazing. Know boundaries, respect people & always use the threat of doing things much worse than you actually do. I used flour, eggs, water, bit of sludge on the face, swimming pool, the drink was mainly fish sauce with vinegar & Tabasco (about 2 thimbles of the mix to drink) & food, prawn paste onions & ginger. All smells worse than it tastes.

Afterwards all the cadets came & told me how much fun they had & how it was great & now they felt like they were part of the club.

No malice is the key ingredient. As soon as one person stops having fun, it stops being fun for all. Creative controlled carnage.

Also in this day & age where less & less Bris are deep sea & more & more are just in the Offshore Industry or Ferries, crossing the line for a young British seafarer is a rare thing. I plan to keep it going as long as I can for cadets I sail with.

It helps crew morale
It helps break the trip up
It gives this childish 2nd engineer an excuse to do silly stuff & dress up.

So please don’t stop us having fun at sea, the Crossing of The Line is an important ritual of the Deep Sea, sea passage. Just let us be, just let us have our fun. For once.


2nd Engineer
Sheriff of the High Seas



Get Them Whilst You Can

So, following a brief exchange of tweets the other morning, the old age question came up about how to make life at sea more attractive to young people.

I’m not talking about the Royal Navy, as I’m sure most young people are aware of the Grey Funnel Line.

I’m talking about my type of going to sea, the Merchant Navy. The type that many of you wouldn’t have heard about if it wasn’t for me forcing it down your throats every other sentence, about what I do.

If it was me I wouldn’t get 80 year old ex seafarers who have been retired for for the last 20 years talking to them about how great life at sea is, & how you spend your life with your back teeth awash, a girl in every port & a week in every port, as it’s lies nowadays.

Don’t tell them you’ll get to see the world, as if you end up on a deep sea ship you’d more than likely end up seeing various container ports from around the world. Or if you are on a tanker, odds are a lump of concrete miles out to sea & load oil from there.

Concentrate on what in reality they, as cadets will get, ONCE THEY ARE QUALIFIED.

You’ll get a tax free income if you work deep sea or overseas, you’ll have at least a 4 months on 2 months off leave ratio, more commonly a 3:2 ratio, increasing to possible 1:1 as a senior officer (or damn near it).

If you work in the offshore industry don’t bank on getting a tax free income.

You will meet fantastic characters, you’ll see some amazing sites (maybe not Panama ashore at night *shudders*).

You will turn into a geek of the job, you’ll be swinging the lamp, & pulling pistons when home.

You’ll change nearly everything about you, from how you speak & walk, to how you organise your room & life.

You’ll grow up, you’ll learn a trade, you’ll do something with your life, you’ll do something others have no idea about, you’ll do something different & almost magic.

You will occasionally get a chance to be lost & drunk in a ridiculously foreign country, which, quite honestly is fantastic.

Most importantly

You’ll be a seafarer.

You’ll be one of us.

And may God help you.


So then.

I have started my new job with my new company.

I’ll be honest it was a bit of a leap of faith for me, It’s been 7 nearly 8 years since I last worked on anything similar to these sort of ships, & even then it was as a cadet. These ships run differently from what I’ve really ever been used to in the past.

I don’t get nervous anymore joining a new ship like I used to, I used to though, I wasn’t good with meeting a bunch of strangers who had already been in their own little clique for quite sometime.

Now though, after cruiseships & being a transient within my last company I have got over this.

So joining this new ship wasn’t a “social nightmare” that it used to be.

The first impression of the ship was….well the actual physical size of ships doesn’t amaze me much these days, but it’s the individual things on the ship, the size of those things that amaze me.

Within 6 hours of being on the ship I had crawled round the Main Engine crankcase, which I was able to stand upright in the sump my head not even level with the centre of the main shaft & changed a fuel injector that was the size of my lower leg, but weighed twice as much.

Everything about the main engine on here is BIG. & I mean BIG. 8 Cylinder 96 cm Bore Monstrosity of an internal combustion 2 stroke engine.

The engineroom it self is massive as well, there are 4 generators spread over three rooms, these are my main responsibility & we have quite a bit of work coming up on these, some 1500, 3000 & 24000 hr overhauls on them, luckily the 24k one is such big enough that a team from shoreside is coming inboard to assist.

The heat is intense – its been a while since I experienced the working blast furnace of an engineroom in the the tropics, & also I’m now very aware of how unfit I am. Running round a large multi deck engineroom, in humid hot conditions sure makes me appreciate just how unhealthy I’ve been for the last 7/8 years.

So you never know besides being a good thing career wise, this should be good for me physically as well.

I have really enjoyed the 1st couple of days, & feel that I am being a proper engineer again. I am a “little” nervous about the upcoming overhauls but I do have an experienced Engineer Cadet with me who seems to be quite good to assist who has done some of the work before, so that should help me along the way!

The 2nd engineer is keen to help me learn the system well & the computer program’s that will help me in becoming a 2nd Engineer with the New Company. So that’s jolly useful. No one yet has also said “Why the hell did you join this company?” which is usually one of the first things people say when I join a new company. So this already has made life a bit easier.

Now the next challenge is to not break anything. But unless you’ve broken it how can you fix it?

But overall I am enjoying the new job & all the challenges it’s present to date, I am really excited about being the Chief Crankcase diver when we pull a piston out of the main engine in a week or so time. This will be the 1st time that I will have been responsible for doing this.

The weathers been great, the anti-piracy measures are in place, & we are heading to India! We shall be there tomorrow. I hope to find a half an hour at some point for a bronze every now & then. However my cabin is a nice cooling break from the pit so we shall see!


Cheers & Ta


So, 3 weeks into a 7 week stint, 4 to go.

I have had an epiphany over the last few weeks about contact and correspondence I have with the real world. Now bare with me as this blog is a bit higgledy piggledy

It was a strange old couple of weeks before I came away this time, I’m not going into detail over them, but I had prepped some stuff to take away with me to do some correspondence when I went away with someone. With one thing and other that didn’t happen but I still had the writing materials with me.

I had also been reading a few blogs and that (mainly this excellent blog http://themodstolemyboyfriend.wordpress.com )

Now I’m not going to put myself into quite the same bracket as the Guys and girls of HM Armed forces, but I do spend a considerable time away from home still (just over 50% of the year in my current company) at sea for at least a month at a time. I used to spend 8-10 months a year away up to 5 months at a time. And even though I spend this amount of time away from home, I’ve never in all honesty been a big one for keeping major contact at home, I’ve sent 4 postcards in the last 10 years, 3 of which were on holiday this March. B

When I first went to sea, I was 17 (18th Birthday during my first trip away from home, 3 months on a banana boat working the Pacific Circle then to Europe across the Atlantic), and I had to pay 50 US cents an email sent from the Captains email account – he was the only one with outside email access. The ships sat phone varied in price depending on what Time/day/month/religious celebration was going on, and it varied form £1.50 a minute up to £5 a minute, so as a cadet I certainly didn’t use that. I would phone in port if I could get hold of a phone card from the Seaman’s mission came on-board. And would use maybe a 1/4 of it on a phone call home. I never really got home sick on board the ship, I did when I was at college a bit but never really on the ship. I have a great time when I’m on ships and do genuinely enjoy it.

But I never really wrote home, not postcards and certainly not letters. I’d send the occasional email home but that was it.

I should point out that I come from a happy, unbroken home. My parents are together, we all love each other, there’s no real problems at home that I’m running away from. It’s just one of those things, when I go to sea I am able to disassociate my mind from family, I mean I still love and care about them, but I turn the “missing them” part of my brain off. I have no idea how I do it, and it probably sounds cold and callous to an outsider, but if it was an easy thing to do I wouldn’t need to try to explain myself.

When I qualified and became a full blown Qualified “Competent” officer and got a job on cruise ships I would go weeks and weeks without emailing home, maybe a quick phone call in which ever port I felt like it or suddenly realised I hadn’t spoken to home in a while in but that was it.

I’ve worked worldwide and it would have been a great record for me to have kept with sending letters home in every port and country. I wish I had now. I wish I had that tangible connection with my worldwide workings. But this can’t be helped, what’s gone is gone, there is not a lot I can change about this.

I tell everyone I become involved with on one level or another that contact is great at sea, we have free internet access on our ships and the Sat C-band phone is cheap (which it is now, its cheaper than a pay as you go phone). I can in an emergency phone home on the old style satellite phone, which is expensive but is pretty much 100% coverage. Yet still even with all this, I find it hard to keep an ongoing stream of conversation and contact going. I don’t use the Sat phone, In 10 years I’ve spent about 1/2 hour on the sat phone in total I think. I email regularly enough sure, but it’s just not the same, and with the amount of emails that go bouncing around back and forth, I have one line conversations with my father via email, he types in red, I in purple, its like a really low tech chat room.

So this trip to my surprise I actually sat down and did something I’ve never really done before, I sat down and hand wrote on 4 separate pieces of paper, 4 different things to 4 different people. 2 were cards, 2 were letters (the mystical blueys as they are called in the MOD)

I wish I had done it earlier. I actually did enjoy it, if that makes sense. It wasn’t the drag on my mind I thought it would be. It wasn’t the pain in the arse I usually get with having to handwrite technical reports.

It is definitely something I could do more often, and I believe I’m correct in saying this, they mean a bit more than an email.

I wish I’d had the motivation to write home, or to write to various important people in my life I’ve had come and go over the last few years. I didn’t back then. I do now.

Maybe my minds not as fuzzed up as it used to be, or this is one of those things that they call maturing, but one way or another its something I’m going to try to embrace.

So if one of you could send me a good quality address book it would be appreciated



The Call

I just got the call

From tomorrow I will be on 24 hour notice call out to join the ship.

The bags that have been up in the loft for the last 2 months are down and packed.

I’ve already got a job list in my head about what needs to be done on board, I have mentally left already.

I know for a fact I am several shades of annoying right now, I’m am remarkably more cheerful than I have been for the last week. But I couldn’t care less, because besides the fact I don’t really have anything keeping me home, I love going to sea.

I am going back to sea, going back to do the one thing I know that I can do and have some form of control over.

I can feel my pulse has increased, and I’ve a bounce in my step, I’m going back to the slightly dirtier world where I belong.

I can’t adequately explain how much getting back out there means to me at the moment. I’ve been laid up sick for over 2 months, and this is the day I’ve been looking forward to for the last 8 weeks 5 days.

I’ve a 7 week trip this time (my choosing) but it’s to get me on a different shift. I will be thoroughly fed up and tired by the end of it, and still have secretly enjoyed it. Though I’d never tell any of the crew.

I’m going back to work, and I bloody love the feeling!

The Sea and Me

I’ve been off sick now for over 2 months. This is the longest I’ve had off a ship or away from the marine environment for a decade.

I need to go back. I’m getting bored with not working.
I’m getting bored with watching the same TV programmes,
I’m missing the banter,
I’m missing the offensive terminology we have for everything and everywhere and everyone.

I miss aching to get into port,
I miss racing to get back to the ship to leave
I miss the dirty beers as soon as you get in
I miss slagging the job off, but loving it at the same time.

I miss prating about in the engine room, cursing who ever designed it.
I miss making things and solving the problems.

My shins have heeled,
My knees aren’t hurting,
My shoulders don’t ache,
My body is pretty much mended.

I’ve not got a single callous, and my feet aren’t 2 balls of hard skin from badly fitting work boots.
I’m not swaying to keep in time with the ships movements,
I’m not eating at set times anymore,

I’m not having steak every Saturday,
Chicken Pie every Sunday,
Spag Bol every Monday,
Beef Stew every Tuesday,
Haggis Every Wednesday,
Curry every Thursday,
Pizza every Friday.

I havent had to say good-bye in ages to anyone,
I’ve not been stuck in the same room as someone I detest for weeks on end, in ages.
I havent had to crawl into a dark oily space just to prove something everyone knew already.
I havent had to simulate my house burning down on a weekly basis. Or a helicopter crashing into it.
I’ve not worn a day-glo baby-grow in months

I’ve not done the majority of my communication via email,
I’ve spoken to people I want to speak to when I feel like it.
I’ve not had to speak majority of my words in pidgin English.

I no longer read a newspaper that is 2 weeks out of date,
I can sleep when I want, regardless of the weather,
I can control the temperature in my room as to how I like it, not to how 14 other people want it.
I get to sleep in a bed that’s not 4 inches to short and 6 inches to narrow.

I’ve not been woken up by a loose cable on an alarm board
I’ve not been woken up to see my entire room contents sliding around the floor
I’ve not had to hold on for dear life in the shower
I’ve not had experienced zero G whilst going up stairs in weeks.

Despite everything I’ve written here, I miss it all. Deeply, and as much as I love leaving it all behind to come home, and the break has done me good – its been commented on – I can’t wait to get back and start slagging it off, complaining about it, being offensive and injuring myself for a month solid, and do it all again.

And again

And again

And again


Life as a cadet

I was a cadet for 3 years, and I’ve sailed with enough of them in the near 7 years since I’ve been qualified to think I know what I’m talking about.

If you want to get by as a cadet, at sea, especially as a 1st tripper, you could do a sight worse than read these words.

Bring a sense of humour and a bit of humility.

Accept the fact you are the lowest ranking most junior thing on the ship.Your experiance regardless of what it is, unless it’s actually on a ship, wont count for much if anything, I’ll be honest. You’re degree in aeronautical science doesn’t mean shit if you don’t know port from starboard, and left loosey, righty tighty. You are coming into our world, respect that.

I don’t like it but in the 30 or 40 cadets I’ve sailed with since qualified, the easiest to teach and most eager to learn were not the degree cadets, they were the 16/17 year old children who came away and were shocked into learning. Degree cadets I’ve found on the whole, when they come to sea, are arrogant and won’t listen to anything a fully trained officer who is younger than them, has to say. I’ve had degree cadets say to me, “I know that I know it, what do you know? You’ve only a HND”. I’ve had it said twice to me before, and twice I’ve had the cadets in question confused with work within 10 minutes and had them re-write the technical reports they had to do for their NVQ as they were hopelessly shit. Respect the fact we are more experienced than you. Despite our age.

You’ll be referred to as “The Cadet” in conversation, you probably won’t be praised an amazing amount if you are in earshot as well. No one likes an arrogant cadet, and no one certainly likes a cadet who is cocky. To engineers, like myself, there’s nothing in the world worse than a cocksure, arrogant smug deck cadet. I’ve never ever praised a deck cadet for the work they have done. I rarely praise engineer cadets to be honest either. But I’ll explain later.

You will be given jobs that seem pointless, but remember we all were given these jobs. You will be expected to make cups of tea, organise the flag shelves, help with the mundane painting/chipping, cut gaskets, wipe down tanks. You will be expected to get stuck in, especially the shit jobs. You’ll garner more respect off us if you offer up to do the shitty jobs, I myself even though I’m now a senior engineer still enjoy washing down sewage tanks and inspecting sludge tanks. nothing makes me happier on a ship if after a job my boiler suit is so minty I have to bin it straight away rather than wash it. if you off to do the shitty jobs you are more likely to be offered the nicer jobs. If you only try hard at the plum jobs we will make sure you end up cleaning the grease trap, or find a pointless repetitive task that needs doing for no reason. We are experts at finding these things.

You will be given crappy jobs that we don’t want to do, but remember if you weren’t there we would have had to do them, and it’s not like we don’t know how to do any of the jobs we give you. Yes we will give you the smelly, vomit inducing, jobs. But think, in 2.5 years time, when you are final trip cadet, or qualified you probably won’t have to do them again!

remember it’s not all G&T’s at high noon on the bridge wings. In fact it rarely is ever these days. You are joining as a cadet, you will not be expected to have mastered the ins and outs of spherical trigonometry or how to change the cross head bearings. You will be expected to have a certain amount of common sense and if someone tells you to learn something, learn it. We don’t tell you these things for our own good, we tell them because YOU WILL be asked them at college, and YOU WILL be required to know them. Some of us may not come across as the smartest cookies in the jar, but we have had to pass the same exams you guys have had to, in some cases we’ve had the same teachers as you have.

If you are lucky enough to be able to drink onboard or ashore, do so, I did, and I had a fucking brilliant time, but I always turned up on time. Theres nothing worse than a pissed up cadet. Especially when you’ve just got them trained up enough for them to have a smidggen of responsibility. I like to get cadets to do the morning readings and stuff in the engine room. If you are pissed out your skull, 2 hours late, and turn up whingeing that you are hung over, you and I will fall out quickly. It will involve you opening up a grease trap, or tracing an untraceable system, or bilge cleaning. Something that will only help me, not your learning.

Now the reason I rarely heap praise on cadets is because unless they are doing an extra-ordinary, off their own back, job on the ship they are just doing what they are being told to do. For example if I told a cadet – “have a look at number 2 purifier” and they came back and said, “Its fucked, its shitting oil into the tank and the sealing waters arse” he wouldn’t get thanks for telling me whats wrong. If they came back and said they’d shut it down and started the standby one, and got the kit ready to strip the other one down and cleaned up then they would get thanks, as it proves they are starting to think alone.

The reason why I never praise deck cadets is that they get enough back slapping and well dones for the tiniest of things they do. Its nothing personal against them, it’s the fact that everything that gets done on time and good, on a ship is apparently due to the deck department and everything wrong is the engineers fault. Engine blows up due to the Captain going to fast for too long against our advice its out fault. Ships gets to port on time thanks to the engineers blood sweat and swearing, the captains a bally bloody hero. But that’s oil and water for you, we never truly mix well.

Sea is a great place to work, I love it, I wouldn’t have devoted the last decade of my life to it otherwise & I do genuinely believe that if you are willing to learn and can have a laugh and show just a bit of respect, you will go far. Those are the 3 basic principles of working at sea. In importance I’d say,

1) Have a laugh,
2) Respect,
3) Willing to learn,

You’ll be walking into an environment of an entirely new language and atmosphere. You’ll learn to find that table salt is in fact “fucking salt” and the Engineroom is “That fucking shit hole”, and deck “The fucking deck”

You’ll love it really….. promise*

*promise nul and void after reading this blog

cheers and ta

2nd engineer


Somebody the other day said something very interesting about people who work at sea.

This person said “has realised that everyone who works at Sea is either running away from something or hiding something”

It pissed me off. It really really pissed me off.

Not only because I happen to think its utter crap. But for other reasons. Some of which I’ll try and explain below.

1st part “running away”

Not all of us are running away. Some of us happen to enjoy the job. I for one know that I probably couldn’t do a lot else than what I currently do. I made 100% the correct decision in coming to sea. It is what I do, it has created who I am today. If anything, if I left sea it would be the thing I was running from. Whilst i do enjoy my time away and do enjoy coming home as well.

Something happened nearly 5 years ago that would have been an ideal reason for me to run away from sea but I still didn’t.

People who work at sea are of a particular mindset admittedly. We may not all be the most sanest/sensible/ordinary people you’ve ever met. But we all on the whole made a concious decision to work away.

I however don’t include ferry workers in the category – working week on week off never out of sight of land unless its foggy,always got phone signal, isn’t the same as sitting in a force 10 for a week trying to get cargo somewhere.

Now I realise that some people might be running away from something & the people who are generally don’t last long. They will end up driving themselves crazy after realising that working at sea isn’t all its cracked up to be. But that’s their decision. Not everyone was born to be a seafarer. Its sure isn’t the best place to be if you have any doubts in your career choice either as they will just escalate into a massive head fart of madness.

We aren’t ALL running away from something. I hate it when when we all get tarred with the same brush. Somebody once said to me that seafarers don’t care about their families as they quite happily spend over 50% of their working lives away from them. This person quickly got a lesson to say otherwise. This person never came back to that pub again.

“hiding something”

You name one profession where people don’t try to hide something?

I’m a particularly open guy but there are only a couple of things I don’t share. I presume you do as well. Has it ever occurred to you that going on a ship full of strangers would be the easiest way to cope with that?

Its not trust me.

Hiding things from other people is human nature. Not everyone has a desire to let people know everyone of their sordid little secrets, or their darkest fears or problems.

I may be hiding things, I may not be running away from things at home. It still doesn’t make me any less of a seafarer.

Cheers and Ta


Burial At Sea

I did something last night symbolic (and slightly illegal I guess). I had the 2 teddies my ex girlfriend gave me when we were going out with me on board the ship. One in-particular (Robster) was with me when I was on the QM2.She has been across the Atlantic a few times and to Norway and some-other places. She had been a main stay in my seagoing career since June/July 2009.

I can’t look at them without getting gloomy, pissed off, angry and generally not nice to be around. So last night as I was sorting through stuff in my sea bags, out they came and the familiar feeling of dread came over me. My ex had installed a button inside her which when pressed said “I love you” in her voice. I just couldn’t bare (no pun) to be in the same room as “Robster”. So last night I made a symbolic gesture and sacrifice to the deep blue yonder. I gave Robster a burial at sea. I dropped her over the side, she landed face up and I watched her go. Seeing her face in the water was actually a pretty heart breaking thing. She had a good send off, the weather was nice, stunning sunset and the sea state must have been only 3 or 4 on the Beaufort scale.

I regretted it straight away though, but it was the right thing to do, I’ve spent too much of my life moping around after ex-girlfriends, keeping stuff of theirs just in case they come running back admitting they were wrong to do what they did. I was keeping myself available in all eventualities, for all eventualities.

Giving Robster a burial at sea was a way of me cutting myself from my ex, another little bit of her removed from my life, another part of her gone allowing me to move on a bit further. I would like to think that Robster will wash up on some beach somewhere with all the other teddy-bears that have served their purpose in life, or she will get dragged up in a fisherman’s net and become the ships mascot of who ever pulls her up.

I doubt it though as she sank on the first wave.

Making a playlist for someone carries the same rules as making a mix tape for someone (you remember mix tapes don’t you? If not I pity you).

For those un initiated in the wonder that is a mix tape, I shall attempt to describe to you what one is/means. A collection of songs recorded one by one for someone else.

A mix tape is a wonderful thing because someone (if they have done it properly and not just recorded the top 40 without the in-between bits) is a true reflection of how someone thinks of you. Someone has sat down and over the course of an evening or 2, (I’ve been known to take a couple of weeks perfecting some) and gone through their record collection and picked out songs that mean something about you to them. They have sat down and devoted a few hours thinking not only about you but about what you will like, not like. Trying to gauge your reaction about a song. Working out the best way to present the songs they want you to hear and so on.

Plus they have sat down and recorded each one individually in a certain order. A lot more work goes into making a mix tape than ever could go into making a Spotify list or iTunes. With these you can fine tune them up to the final second you present them to someone, whilst a tape has a certain finality about it.

But there are rules about doing these things, remember you are using someone elses words and feelings to say what you want to say. Theres no point in putting a song in about heavy drug use and death in a mix tape you’ve made for a 1st date or similar (Johnny Cash – Hurt no matter how brilliant a song is NOT a 1st date song).

You also are taking someone on a musical journey, so the songs have to blend together slightly, no point going from Jason Mraz to Goldie, to No Doubt in 3 steps. It just doesn’t work.

So here are some rules (that I use) to make a semi decent mix tape/playlist.

No Duplicates of Artists – Unless the whole thing is going to be done in Pairs.

No Duplicates of songs – This includes remixes, covers and so ons.

The recipients favourite song can’t be at the beginning of the tap/list – otherwise all they will do is listen to that track and miss out on the other 14 or 15 songs you’ve specially chosen, and that would be a waste of work wouldn’t it?

The 1st song has to be one of the better songs of the tape/list – You want an attention grabber, something that’s gonna grab them and make them want more, but the next track can’t be better otherwise you’ll be running out of great music so bring it back a gear. Then slowly build up again to a great song then BANgdrop in the best “favourite” song.

Use good quality music – No one wants to hear a song you’ve recorded off of LW radio, it ruins the whole feel of the thing. Same goes with when recording, don’t use a worn out cassette if you are doing it on tape.

Avoid songs over 8 minutes 57 seconds long – Anything over this and they will start skipping the tracks and when they start doing that the temptation to skip lots will be to great to over come. That time is chosen as it’s the length of Guns and Roses – November Rain. One of the few songs over 8 Minutes I can listen to repeatedly.

Include a track listing if it’s on CD/Tape – Especially if you are putting in songs that are off an album and not singles. you’re suing your music “collection” to produce this tape/list. You want them to know every song you have chosen, and also if they refer back to it they can quote songs, and not resort to humming it to you.

Dont be obvious with your choices – If the recipient has mentioned she likes Kings of Leon don’t make a tape with the main song choice being Sex on Fire, see if you can find a really good B side, something they may not have heard before, and don’t be afraid to go back in time with your choices either. Dylan and Springsteen are still good choices, if you find the right track that says what you want to.

Dont use old playlists – every time you make a list/tape for someone make sure its a brand new one, not a rehash of one you made for someone else. It’s just not fair if you are going to make an emotional statement of a mix tape for someone to give it to someone else, you wouldn’t photocopy a love letter to send to 2 or more people would you?

Anyway these are what I consider all the time when making playlists up.

If you think that you have any rules that should be added please leave a comment below.