Do you listen to music when you write?
I only ask because, as some of you will already know, I’m knee-deep into writing my first novel which is set in Northampton, 1992 and to help picture what it was like back then (almost twenty years ago, gulp) I’ve been listening to music from that period. I’ve compiled a soundtrack of stuff to act as a sensory kick-start for when I sit down to write or to be used as a general mood setter. The tricky bit is picking stuff that was around then, it’s amazing how wrong your own memory can be sometimes.
Don’t rely on Wikipedia entries as these can often be far from accurate, do check the bands website or if you have them the original albums, although this can take some time and you can find yourself just playing the little buggers and drifting off…..whoops.
Bands I’m listening to at the moment to help me travel back in time are; Primal Scream, The House of Love, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays, Radiohead (the first two EPs,) Ride, Nirvana, The Manic Street Preachers, The Wedding Present and so on. However, this wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of the times without including all the dross that was around then also, bands such as; Snap, Gloria Estefan, Genesis, Whitless Houston, Bon Jovi, Dr Alban, Jimmy Nail and I’m going to stop there before my ears fill with blood but you get the idea.
My novel isn’t full of music, it isn’t even about music but the characters in the novel have a love of music and socialise upon the fringe of small town society so this stuff is important to them and needs to be delved into even if it does mean listening to Kriss Kross singing ‘Jump.’
So, in no particular order here are my top mood songs for 1992 at the moment:
Reverence by The Jesus and Mary Chain
Leave them all behind by Ride
Disappointed by Electronic
This Charming Man by The Smiths (It was re-released in 1992)
It’s my life by Dr Alban (bloody awful)
Erotica by Madge
Would I lie to you? by Charles & Eddy (Whitewashed soul)
Heal the world by Michael Jackson (bollocks)
People Everyday by Arrested Development
Blue Room by The Orb
Rhythm is a dancer by Snap (worst lyric ever)
I drove all night by Roy Orbison
Come play with me by The Wedding Present
Thinking about you by Radiohead
A lot of this list wont make sense unless you were fortunate (or very unfortunate in some cases) enough to have your ears turned on in 1992 in the UK. This list is by no means definitive, it’s just something that helps me to immerse myself in the time I’m writing about. If there’s anything I’ve left out that you think should be in there then please let me know.
Finally if you think this is a load of nonsense, especially the part about checking through your old records, then think on. In the few minutes it’s taken me to write this blog I’ve discovered that Radiohead’s Drill EP (which I still own) is worth anything from £80-£250! So, even if you don’t get a decent story, from of sifting through your memories, you might get a few quid.