I’m not a natural blogger, but envy those who seem to come up with interesting posts at the drop of a hat. So I’ve been thinking all week of what to write this weekend (I’ve decided to make Sunday evening my blog night). The general to and fro of daily life can throw up some amusing moments but not, I decided, enough to warrant discussion. No tonight I’m going to talk about music.
Like my writing colleague Nicky Wells, I’m incredibly influenced by music when I write. I have quite a wide taste but melodic rock is a particular favourite. I have a huge collection of downloaded tracks on my PC which are played as I write. I’ve even sorted out playlists for the books I’ve written so far. This worked out especially well for the Behind Blue Eyes trilogy. Some of the action takes place at a club called The Mill, owned by Matt’s father Tad Benedict, a retired fifties singer turned entrepreneur who owns clubs and hotels. I based this on the Keel Club in Bathampton (an old mill on the river just east of Bath) which was very big in the sixties and at its height in popularity had a waiting list for membership. It was one of the ‘in’ places with a mixture of live bands and DJs. A man called Keith Johnson was the mastermind behind this; someone ahead of his time who seemed instinctively to know what sort of entertainment young people wanted. Writing the trilogy pulled me right back into that time and, of course, the clothes and the music. The opening number which kicks off every evening at The Mill is The Kinks ‘End of the Day’ which I felt was a track which fitted perfectly as the opening lines are ‘Baby I feel good, from the moment I arrive. Feel good from morning to the end of the day.’
There are references in the trilogy to Motown, the Small Faces, the Moody Blues (I was a huge fan of theirs and absolute adored the gorgeous Justin Hayward) and many of the other big names of that period. When I got to book three which ended in 1973, one track, the Ghost of You and Me, which I discovered on a BBMak album from the ’90s became not only a key piece of music, it also ended up as the title.
My current book Between Today and Yesterday has seen a move away from written references to music tracks, with the exception of Phil Collins’ Against All Odds which was a very essential song. However, there was still a need to put together a huge playlist to get me into the mood for writing the many different scenes.
I’m now in the process of writing book 5, The Other Side of Morning. This title is a twist on the Scottish Band Del Amitri’s track This Side of the Morning. Again, in this book I’ve moved away from direct references to music tracks. And the music on my playlistsnow comes from ’80s rock bands such as Asia, Bad English and Dare (the latter’s influences are more melodic and Celtic and the singer Darren Wharton’s voice amazing).
It’s a personal thing of course, unique to the way I write but I’m glad that my long-term love of music has been able to become part of the creative writing process.
As I’m unable to post videos on this blog, I’m downloading to Facebook instead – just a taster!
Catch you next week!