Thursday, March 13, 2014

Music Memory #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. 

(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.)

No comments:

Post a Comment