Scary Monsters and Super Creeps

I can’t speak for any other writer as to how their creative minds operate, but mine is VERY particular when it comes to inspiration. As should be abundantly apparent by all these #Blogmas posts, music is an indivisible part of existence. How that manifests has altered significantly in my 50 plus years on the planet, and is worth examining in more detail.

The first song I remember as a kid was this one, part of a cassette tape that got played until it broke… Disney songs, words to which I knew before being able to either read or write. My grandfather gave me a Glenn Miller cassette. I found a Simon and Garfunkel album and my father never asked to have it back. Then, he offered a copy of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John and my journey into music began in earnest.

When Punk happened in the 70’s, I listened to Ultravox and Duran Duran as a New Romantic, but loved Madness and the Specials as Ska. Anarchy frightened me, but The Damned’s New Rose remains one of my all-time favourites from that era… and so the exploration continued, taking in Indy, Jazz, Classical and Electronic along the way. I’ll listen to anything once. For it to stick? There needs to be something special.

Emerging from the very depths of depression, this song has huge significance: originally used to advertise a certain computer game, it was the first time that my brain and music engaged in a collaboration which has now become indispensable during the creative process. From music, pictures spring forth that never previously existed, and these visual aids then send me back to the page to record them.

It has now become a case of learning how to transcribe these visual clues onto the page. If I’m honest, that’s taken nearly two decades to perfect, but now we have utterly cracked it, there is no holding the creativity back. If a plot falters or won’t move forward, finding the right tune to fit action before and after is often a great way of easing the transition. Music isn’t just for writing however, it can also unfreeze my consciousness.

Music and exercise have become an indivisible and potent combination.

We’ll tackle that on Wednesday.

Rain

Today is the first of four general history posts. I could begin with some words on my love of Madge (up until 1992 when it all went a bit introverted, with a brief Ray of Light back in 1998) or perhaps it would be better focusing on an interest in Japanese culture this video gives a nod to. However, reason why this song starts our sequence has everything to do with the piece of writing it inspired and nothing at all to do with anything else.

This happens an awful lot in my life, and if there’s to be a proper history of what got me to this point, then music must be acknowledged for its part within that process.

It is 1983. I’m part of the ABC Fan club, and get invited to be an extra in Mantrap, a film that involves the band and that woman who starred in the video for Poison Arrow. A love of cinema and TV had secured me a place at college reading Media Studies and English, and to be an extra in what was basically a glorified music video was, let’s be honest, the pinnacle of a New Romantic lifestyle. However, it was music that mattered most of all.

That entire period of my life had been peppered with odd musical experiences: growing up with heavy metal, AoR, folk, jazz, big bands and comedy records. If I’m honest it was the comedy which had the most lasting affect, but everything else fell together into a massive, varied backdrop to my existence. Music ties itself to old boyfriends, significant milestones, even the worst parts of my life. For everything, there was a soundtrack, recalled in far greater detail than anything else.

This song, for instance, played in a car on the way to a wedding. I don’t remember who it was getting hitched, or why I was in the car with the person for whom this song is now forever associated, but they are and it still is. The smell of the rapeseed outside the car, the car itself (Blue Peugeot 205 with a Lemming graphic on the back) and the fact that someone independently confirmed I could sing. Literally everything else is lost to time.

If you claim to know me, you will grasp the significance of music in my life. Lyrics are remembered long after names and places have been forgotten. How that shapes my writing is a complex and often amazing process, which we’ll talk about further down the line. For now, understand and appreciate the significance all forms of the craft have in my life, from Classical to Thrash Metal and back again.

Music is almost as much a part of me as blood and bones.

Pictures at an Exhibition: Three

Having pinned up my plans for October, it is time to go into a little more detail.

Symphony

The idea is simple: tell a story using haiku, pictures and with a musical background. It is a love story, because of the running joke that this is all I’m really good at. The #Soundtracking2018 Playlist will be the music that daily accompanies each haiku and picture selection. I’m still debating how to pull the #Narrating2018 selection into this, but there’s an idea… and so next week will be when all the disparate threads are stitched together. It helps that there’s almost 2000 pictures in my Flickr account to use as a basis, but that’s only half the plan.

October is when there will be new pictures too.

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I’ve missed setting a challenge for myself that involves more outdoor work. That’s what this is about, pushing comfort boundaries and putting my various skills to better use. Once I have the final details sorted, it will be time to pick suitable ‘locations’ for my pictures, and the format they’ll take. To mix things up a bit there’ll be composites like the graphic above, separate photos and haiku, and… well, I learnt a lot of good lessons from last year. Plenty of audio and visual media can be utilised for storytelling.

sellers

I’m genuinely excited for October. There’s also other stuff to do, plus a couple of deadlines which need consideration, but there’s enough everything can all be fitted in.

Time to crack on with organisation

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