The music of type…

“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” ~ Bram Stoker

Music has always been a big part of my creative life, despite my utter inability to play any of the many guitars I own, or carry a tune in a bucket, for despite my lack of musical talent I have always had a great appreciation of it as an art form. It also, importantly, plays a huge part in my own art… If the random scratchings of my pen nib can be called art.

I have always written to music, even way back in the late 80’s when I would sit at my dads ancient old typewriter in the dinning room of the family home, typing horrendously puerile fantasy ‘epic’s’, while playing an ecliptic collection of albums on the huge old fashioned stereo.

Unsurprisingly much of my taste in music grew out of chance and randomness. Back in 1985, at the tender age of 15 I spent all the money I had saved up form my paper round to buy a ticket to see Bruce Springsteen at Roundhay park play My Home Town, in my home town. The boss was the biggest name in rock and roll in 1985, it was the year of the Born in the USA album. I as you might imagine knew almost nothing about him or his music at the time. He was just the big name doing a huge outdoor gig in Leeds. As gigs go, Springsteen in 1985 defined the word epic, I was spell bound. Before the summer was over I owned his whole back catalogue, except, oddly enough ‘Born in the USA’ which I didn’t buy for another twenty years.

Springsteen to my fellow teenagers in the mid 80’s was so huge he was by default uncool. Typically I didn’t give a damn. I also spent a lot of time writing ‘badly’ to ‘The River’ and ‘Nebraska’. And through Springsteen I started listening to Gary US Bonds, John Cougar Mellencamp, Little Steven and other Americana. Mellencamp in particular influenced my writing life in later years, the opening chapter of Passing Place was inspired in no small way by his track Minutes to memories off the Scarecrow album.

It was another piece of randomness the following summer, after I left school at 16 that led me down another path musically. A band called The Mission had a song in the charts called Wasteland that my mate Scottish John used to put on the jukebox about once an hour in The Barleycorn pub lower Armley, where me John, and several other unconvincing idiots managed to get served while being clearly underage, as long as we stuck to the snug and kept our heads down. Which we did, right up until John started his obsession with The Mission. At which point the Landlord started to get irritated as every other song that got played in the Barleycorn was from another decade…

John convinced me to get tickets, and that he would pay me back, Somewhere between buying the tickets and the gig, John gave up on music because he gained a girlfriend… This left me with two tickets for a band I knew nothing about, and as is the way of these things I went to the gig alone.

Thus began my love affair with Goth music, as the mission came out to the theme from dam busters, with huge flans blowing fog banks of dry ice out across the gig, and thunderous cords rang out. This was the Gods Own Medicine tour, the next day I bought their entire back catalogue, and everything by The Sisters of Mercy, from which they sprang…

The support from that gig were a little known local band called All About Eve… Who are still one of my favourite bands to write to, The Mission themselves not so much as its hard to write and dance at the same time…

This little tour down memory lane aside, music and writing are indelibly linked in my mind. Different artists have influenced my writing and some have been constant companions, I still write to the acoustic Springsteen albums, Nebraska and The ghost of Tom Joad in particular. Occasionally if I can stop the urge to dance The Mission and The Sisters, and plenty of others. But my mainstay for writing has almost always been female artists, or lead singers and of a certain type. Quirky, a little left field and on occasion a little odd, folky… For some reason these female voices are the muse I need to write.

All About Eve, that support band from the Mission gig in 1986 for example, with the mellow passionate tones of Julianne Regan at their heart. Susanne Vega, Alanis Morrissett, Fiona Apple, Tracy Chapman, Amanda Palmer, Dresden Dolls, Suzie Sue, to name some of the mainstays, though their are plenty of others.

Perhaps it because I know so many of these artists music intimately, though the same could be said for a lot of male artists, but they are the sound track to the tapping of the keyboard, just as much as back in the dim dark past I was writing to Bowie and Springsteen. But unlike Bowie and Springsteen and other male artists when I listen to female artists the writing flows more. Don’t ask me to explain it, I am not sure I can, but I doubt there is a single chapter in Maybe, for example, that wasn’t edited, rewritten, and proof read at some point in the process while Julianne Regan sang Scarlett… Hannibal for some reason requires Amanda Palmer singing the ukulele song before he is prepared to leap out on the page. Short stories need either Susanne Vega or increasingly Fiona Apple, in order to get a workable first draft.

The point of this wondering diversion, if it has a point and I’m not sure it does, is I recently was introduced, by Steven C Davis to Unwoman, an America artist who had escaped my ear until I listened to Steven’s Hopeless Maine based pod cast on GASP (Gothic Alternative Steampunk and Progressive radio show) . And I was taken with Unwoman’s voice, and the music. It struck me that it was perfect writing music, and a writer always needs a new muse.

I then of course forgot about it entirely, as I am utterly useless, until I was remined of it in a twitter post from steampunk explorer earlier today. Work being quiet though I bought the wonderfully titled album ‘Of My Own Space and Time I Am Queen’ off bandcamp and gave it a listen…

Thus began my rabbit hole afternoon, listening to music while I ‘worked’ and seeking out Unwoman on YouTube once I had listen to the album a couple of times… Which led me to this utter utter gem of a cover of NIN’s Hurt…

Your welcome…

This entry was posted in amreading, amwriting, Goth, indie, indie novels, indie writers, rites and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The music of type…

  1. Nimue Brown says:

    Hey now, hey now now….

    Liked by 2 people

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