But I guess the main reason Paul suggested I might like to write a guest blog about music is because of The Best Days of My Life, which he and Luca Veste felt merited inclusion in the recent True Brit Grit charity anthology. The story appears in the e-book version of Blurred Girl too. It’s about a guy who suffers a mental disorder after an accident. He then regresses to his youth (and gets involved in a series of unfortunate incidents) whenever he hears songs that mean something to him. He says: “You might have an inkling of what I mean as music takes us all back.”
Facebook friends might have noticed that I appear to spend more time posting videos of songs than anything else. Music has always been a big influence. I find it hard to separate it from the art of writing. In fact, I started off penning lyrics and songs for local bands in my teens: Some Fine Noise, Pepsi Kola Addict and Slug, to name a few (there you go, names up in lights after all these years, lads). One time my parents found a jotter full of Morrissey-inspired morbid musings and sat me down to make sure I didn’t need my head examined.
I eventually left those stardust dreams and the group dynamic behind and turned to poetry and prose writing. Blurred Girl and Other Suggestive Stories includes plenty musical references. The title story is a diary inspired by a John Foxx song. Above all, it’s the disturbing ambience of that electronic classic that I tried to transmit to the page.
The first two stories in that collection also have references to Springsteen. Blurred Girl Diaries has two characters discussing the merits of Nebraska , while Boxing Day in Muros has the protagonist thinking back on ‘Glory Days‘ in his local boozer. That kind of nostalgic element particularly interests me. Days that weren’t really glorious at all; yet the music can still convince us otherwise.
There’s a story called Dusty Springfield, which you can see me reading on YouTube, and another has a couple of references to Mark E Smith and The Fall. Of course, many writers have been getting into the groove. Perverted by Language is a whole book of short fiction inspired by The Fall. There’s also the Off The Record anthology (38 short stories based on song titles), Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity and 31 Songs, Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, and so on.
Other books I’ve written, like the novel Countries of the World and the travel memoir The Iberian Horseshoe, have plenty of reference points for the song spotter too – particularly in the chapter or section titles.