Last night I went to the They Might Be Giants gig at the Forum so I could lose my proverbial and dance around like a demented beatific uncoordinated rhythm maniac. At the risk of sounding like a tween, TMBG are my ALL TIME FAVOURITE #1 BEST ROB-IN-HIGH-FIDELITY-LEVEL-OBSESSED BAND IN THE WORLD EVER EVAAAA!!!!!!!! Dr Worm was my gateway in 1998 and I have been enigmatically trying to dance to them ever since. In many ways they have been one of the driving forces behind my writing, particularly the weirder stuff such as the time I tried to write something channelling Henry Lawson, Dogberry from Much Ado About Nothing and Allen Ginsberg, but set in Australia during the time of the bona fide travellers drinking laws. (Did not work. Will not publish. One for the bonfire. Burn, wretched writing, burn.)
I create playlists whenever I’m writing, particularly for the longer pieces. They help me get back into the mood and headspace I was in during the previous day’s writing, and help me recall the flavours and vision I want the piece to have. The songs conjure up how I want the work to feel and particular songs resonate with particular characters. Sometimes a song will capture perfectly how a character might think or feel or the energy they have. It helps me flesh out their backstory and motivations. Other times the song helps me know how I want my readers to feel after finishing a chapter or the whole piece.
The Bit In Between included:
- They Might Be Giants’ Don’t Lets Start and First Kiss
- Pete Townshend’s Let My Love Open the Door
- Go West’s King of Wishful Thinking
- Machine Gun Fellatio’s My Ex Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
- Plenty of Dusty
- And lots of Solomon Islands music, including Onetox, Sharzy, DMP and Isabel band Saba who were fronted by my wonderful friend Rolley who passed away recently.
Book two thus far includes:
- Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova Sleeping (on repeat before each writing session)
- They Might Be Giants’ Can’t Keep Johnny Down, Let Your Hair Hang Down and Hey Mr DJ I Thought You Said We Had a Deal
- David Bowie’s Life on Mars
And anytime I want to write a sad scene I listen to either Queen’s Save Me or have Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks album mourning in the background.
Do you use music to get you in the writing mood? What do you listen to when you’re writing?