Monday, April 23, 2007

Music - the Food of Words?

I have been writing a lot of late, in fact, so much I don't really know what to do with all the pieces of paper.

You see folks, for every centimetre the bouncing baby grows I gain pounds in weight and lose stones of creativity, and apart from 'to do' lists and letters to various companies, I haven't been able to write a thing. Until the last few weeks, that is - when I haven't been able to stop penning weird poetry and song lyrics.

Lyrics are a 'comfortable' thing for me to do. Once upon a time, writing them was a full time 'job' whilst co-composing for TV, Theatre and Film, and so the last few weeks have been like visiting a really wonderful, long-lost friend. Once I start 'pallying up' with them, I can't stop. Once I get a theme in my head I have to get the words down double quick otherwise I risk being driven insane by hooks, bridges and 'wrong' lyrics battering my already crowded brain. Then I lie awake going over the same verses again and again, praying it doesn't sound like a Stock, Aitken & Waterman cover version (I have never written anything like that in my life but there could always be The One that slips through my grey matter, so I have to be sure).

Staying with music - something I have noticed recently is what the baby moves a lot to. The Kaiser Chiefs' "Love's Not A Competition", Turin Brakes' "Painkiller", Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars", Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" and particular favourites, Nirvana's "Come As You Are", Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" Queens of the Stone Age's "No-one Knows" & "First It Giveth" and most tracks from the "American Beauty" soundtrack. Quite an eclectic mix for a "minus year old".

Funnily enough they, plus a few other tracks, form one of the i-pod playlists I played at quite a few decibels every morning whilst commuting from the Glenster's parents' house. Sitting in the nose to tail traffic over the M25 at junction 18, I would always be looking foward to picking my way across the remnants of my house and snapping orders at builders all day. It was inevitably a decibel or so louder on the way back after a day of fun and games.

Music has always been a huge influence in my life, having been brought up in the industry and most of my family still involved in varying degrees. When I write non-musical matter, I always have to have a 'theme tune' to work to; in fact, sometimes, along with an olfactory trigger that's all that influences the conception of a whole darn new world. Is that normal?

So, try as I may, I have listened to so many musical influences over the last few months, hoping that one of them would propel me towards my laptop, screenplay ideas gushing from every orifice - OK, maybe just the one good idea would do. Actually, ideas I have loads of - it's just doing it and formulating it that's the problem at the moment as I have a concentration span about as long as a flea's dick. Perhaps after the baby is born I will whack on a playlist, go smell the roses in the garden and see what happens...

So what do you need to write? Without what, would you be stymied? Do you need to work in total silence or do you write more in public places? What influences you to start over and hit the white space with Courier?


  1. I often use music as a warm up--singing and playing piano. I don't write songs.

    Well I have written two, but they're both silly. I like to play other people's songs. Especially Tom Waits. His songs usually have a strong story, even if not a plot.

    i just wrote a couple of song parodies for a sketch show. That's easy.

  2. Ah, yes, Tom Waits - he's a good one too. It always depends on whether I need to be 'up' or 'down' when writing a particular scene/piece.

    I tend to have various selections of music that become my '[insert title] screenplay playlist' which are wholly dependant on my emotional requirements throughout...

    Is that weird?