Sunday

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!

6 thoughts on “Sunday

  1. Hi, I was the membership secretary at the Keel Club Bathampton 1967-69. It was an evening job and was the most fantastic place to work. Everything was fairly chaotic, but Keith and his wife Mary, were lovely people. They lived above the Club with their children and I would often babysit after working. Keith always made sure I got home safely after the end of a very late evening. At the time he drove an E-Type! It was the most wonderful place. On the day I met my husband-to-be, in August 1968, (he was playing cricket against Lansdowne) I took him and friends to the Keel that evening. I remember too, in 1967 I think, the most awful floods. I had been working at the Club and had to get home to my flat near the RUHospital. I was waiting for the bus at Bathampton and It was really scary as the water was high, but some kind person got me home. I have lots of fantastic memories of the Keel – typical of the 60s. I remember particularly a female singer called Sam Browne, (who played I think every Wednesday – Jazz Night) and she always sang ‘The Look of Love”. I believe she was from Bristol. The Chef, who was Keith’s brother-in-law, was renowned for his Omelettes! In fact he taught me how to make one- and I still do it his way to this day! Your writing about The Keel has brought back many fabulous memories. Bath was a great place to live and when not at the Keel a lot of us used to congregate at The Salamander just off Milsom Street or one of the Clubs near the Assembly Rooms. I will look up your books now. I too loved the Moody Blues and ‘Go Now’ was a favourite. I have this on record from a series of films called ‘Sounds of the Sixties’ on Yesterday. Thanks for the memories!

    1. Hi Jenny, Love your comments on Jo’s book, which I must read, regarding the Keel Club. I spent most of my free time and money there and aslo did the same bars before hand. In the end Keith said I was an honary member – which may have slipped through your books!! Ity would be good to catch up with all the old crowd – Marcel, Alan, Liz & Anne etc. Thin Lizzy were good there.

      1. Hi Andrew, my husband was part of a crowd from Bath who regularly visited. I never went as I didn’t live locally at the time. He tells me there was a dress code which specified no jeans. He and his friends would go drinking in Bath and then sometimes decided to visit The Keel Club, If anyone in their group was wearing the banned garment one of them would simply go into the Gents take off their trousers and hand them out of the window, swapping with whoever was wearing jeans. It was so dark in the club no one ever noticed.

      2. Hi Jo, There was a dress code and it was trendy!! As for the trouser swopping I can only say it was late 60’s. I still have my old clothes and quite a few memories. I will try and get hold fo your Behind Blue Eyes book.

  2. Thanks for your memories Jenny. I’m not originally from Bath but my husband is and it was his stories about the Keel Club which made me decide to feature a similar club in my trilogy.
    I only got to meet Keith Johnson after his Keel Club days. By then he was running a hotel at the bottom of Bathford Hill and the company I worked for at the time wanted to book rooms there for visitors. I was invited to come for coffee and take a look around – such a lovely gesture as he could have quiet easily taken the booking over the phone.

  3. Ah yes, I remember it well! It was the early seventies when I started going to the Keel Club and it was a big step up from the alcohol free Apollo which was the disco that I’d “cut my teeth on.” At the Keel there was a meal included in the price of the entrance fee which I remember was a choice of curry or chicken supreme. I used to love dancing on the raised dance floor.

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