Well, the truth is out. We now know what the all-time best-selling albums in the UK are. It's a depressing trawl through the mediocrity and safeness of British taste, but that's what we've come to expect, isn't it? More to the fact, it's what we really yearn for, luxuriating in our sense of aesthetic superiority over the drooling tossers who prefer Robbie Williams (six albums!!??) or Robson & Jerome to, plucking a few names, Bowie, Prince and the Smiths.
But there is something interesting about the Top 10. Despite having been smitten by popular music since I was about 13, I've only ever owned three of those albums in any format. And yet each of them provokes a specific reaction, a Proustian babble of memories. They've become so tangled up in our popular culture that we develop responses to them without really ever knowing them.
The chart-topper, Queen's Greatest Hits, is all about summers; specifically lounging by the pool of my friend D's house when I was 15 or 16, flirting ineptly with the cute French and Italian students who brought a sorely-needed air of the cosmopolitan to semi-rural Hampshire in the mid-1980s. "Of course Freddie's gay," I said, a declaration that was met with a snort of derision from D, who now apparently lives with a gentleman friend in Switzerland. I'd always wondered why he never availed himself of the wiggly Eurobabes on offer. The Queen album was little more than background noise, but it's earwormed its way into my DNA, without ever persuading me to buy a copy.
Brothers In Arms, meanwhile, sums up my first term at university. Having endured so many years of philistine conformity, I was eager to plunge into a pool of creative insanity - a collision of Brideshead and Paris 1968 was what I had in mind, or something like it. I found myself in a house with 11 other wide-eyed newbies, every single one of whom owned a copy of Brothers In Arms, and thought it was dead good, especially the guitar solos. Most of them liked Phil Collins as well. This was going to be tougher than I thought...
Anyway, this spawns your task for the weekend. I crave your responses to a creative artefact that you only really know by reputation. Something you've never owned, never properly read, heard or seen, but provokes a specific memory or reaction whenever it pops up on the radar. Conceptual prizes await for the best ones.