Thursday, March 13, 2014

Music Memory #1: Anji by Davey Graham





MEMORY SONGS #1 ANJI by DAVEY GRAHAM
I first heard this song on Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence. It was my Mum’s record. She also had Beatles for Sale, Bulla Fiji and at least one Elvis. (And the soundtrack for Jonathan Livingstone Seagull which I used to use for ‘meditations’ when I was a teenager.) When I was fourteen I had a guitar lessons, but I was only okay at it. My fingers were too small - that was my excuse. Guitar teacher Keith would say, ‘That girl from the Bangles can do it, you can do it.” I think I just didn’t practice enough. It is a frustrating thing to love music but not be able to play it. I wanted to be in a band, but I had no talent and punk was dead and grunge wasn’t even a glimmer. If I had been able to play the guitar, Anji would have been the first song I’d have wanted to play. It’s sad and it has mystery. It makes me think of a small flat somewhere like London - and the streets may be crazed with people but in this space, high up, it’s peaceful. It’s a room from a dream or from someone else’s memory. It has a single bed with a pale blue cotton sheet and there’s a scuffed wooden table and an empty wine bottle with a half-burned down candle in it and there’s maybe one place you can sit where you get the morning light. 

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(One of the things that made writing Girl Defective so fun was the music, choosing the songs that would comprise Sky's soundtrack.  I suppose that music references can be shortcuts to character, just as  a nerd might have glasses and a bad girl a cigarette, but hopefully only in first draft. I love the way you can put personalities to characters through their musical taste. Some readers find it alienating when a character has an obsession they can't relate to - that's fine, they can pick up something else. I doubt I'll write another book with music all through it so I thought I'd try and write about all the songs that ever meant anything to me here.)

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