It’s been one of those days. The outside world was calling – fresh air, sunshine, forest. In other words – that four letter word distraction was singing its siren song. So I needed to drown it out.
I’m all for getting outside. But with the paying job on hold today, it was an opportunity to do some necessary book editing. Hence the music to keep me tapping along.
But is music a good idea? If I cast my mind back through the mists of time to the prehistoric age when I was revising for school exams, I doubt the late great John Peel‘s contribution helped at all. (Helped me be more human perhaps, but not to remember chemical formulae.)
And does a desire for musical accompaniment suggest that my book is insufficient in itself to hold my attention? Anyone’s attention? Aargh, I’m doomed. Though, to be fair, I have read it a few times. And I tend to multitask anyway – lots going on at once.
But if music be the food of editing – what tunes?
It can’t be something that’s going to lift me out of my chair, capering about the room, singing along – nor some ballad of historical wrongs – nor something too sad – nor something too interesting.
Maybe what I should be aiming for is how Belle and Sebastian were described in High Fidelity (the film anyway, haven’t read the book). Something along the lines of something you can play and then ignore. (Problem. I like Belle and Sebastian. So they’re out.)
I tried Gwyneth Herbert‘s album Between Me and the Wardrobe. (Since deleted from my iTunes account on the grounds of tedium.)
Morcheeba worked for a while, until I became conscious of how good they are.
Finally took inspiration from the book itself. And that’s got to be a good thing surely? Our hero, Jolly Macken, finds himself sitting with a nun listening to Mendelssohn‘s Violin Concerto in E Minor. It works for them. And it worked for me.
Progress was made today.
What do you listen to while you write?
Jackie Leven‘s songs and stories? (Wonderful) Fearne Cotton on Radio One? (I’ve been getting into that lately.) A baby wailing? The washing machine rocking? The bailiff at the door? The headboard of the bed next door banging. (They’re at it again.) The voice inside whispering give up. The kettle calling out to be refilled again and turned on?
If it’s none of the above – what is it for you?
(And by the way – Blackwatertown is not all about cops and nuns sitting around listening to classical music – in fact hardly at all – there’ s treachery, intrigue, romance, mystery, scenery, sexuality, politics, religion, dollaghan and a fair bit of shooty shooty bang bang. So not all Mendelssohn.)