On charity and The Who

General Geekiness

The Who just finished their first tour of Australia in 40 years; fans have used this occasion to raise money for people in Victoria whose lives have been affected by the recent bush fires.

One member of the fan club made the quilt (by hand!) and got in touch with a few other members, and then Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Pete and Roger agreed to autograph the quilt, which is being sold on eBay.

All proceeds go to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.

I probably won’t post other things like this, but I felt that more people should know about this. It is a wonderful example of people working together to make a difference.

I listened and I heard music in a word, and words when you played your guitar

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Pretty much, Pete Townshend is a lyrical god.

That said, a lot of inspiration can be pulled from music. Inspiration for writing and visual arts, and other music as well.

One of my biggest inspirations is the album Quadrophenia. This was a major influence (along with All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes) on my first novel. I found the ideas expressed on the album weaving their ways through my writing. In the case of the latter, it could have been because I had that album on perpetual repeat during the drafting process.

Quadrophenia in particular provided a lot of ideas because what the main character in the album, Jimmy, goes through similar emotional and personal revelations that my character Will goes through. Isolation, alienation, and, of course, the difficulties of progressing into adulthood.

Sometimes I’ll listen to an instrumental or a foreign language piece to get into a different mood. If I’m writing a particularly emotional bit, I might switch to listening to a track from the Atonement soundtrack (possibly “Elegy for Dunkirk”) or “The Galapagos” from the Master and Commander soundtrack.

Music takes a completely different route in my mind. The different sounds influence how I feel at a moment, or bring back memories.

More on this later.

My latest discovery

General Geekiness
Photo taken by Ben Parks

Photo taken by Ben Parks

I like collecting LPs. I don’t actually own a turntable, but there’s something very special about going into a record shop and finding something that you didn’t expect to.

The other day I came across this LP, the soundtrack to the cult classic Quadrophenia, based on the Who album of the same name.

Quadrophenia holds a special place in my heart, both the album and the movie. The album because it’s one of my favorites, if not my favorite. The movie? Well, I’m enamored with mods and rockers.

Also, the movie showcases Brighton, England, as the heart of the mod-rocker fight in May 1964.

The photo is actually one of the back of the album; I really like the pier in the background and Jimmy in the foreground–the picture is very pretty, and instantly pulls you in.

In this age of mp3s and iPods, being able to hold something in your hands, to hold music between your fingers, is a wonderful thing. There is little joy to be found upon discovering a song on iTunes, but to find an album in a record shop? Now, that’s something to smile about.

On the Who

General Geekiness

My love for The Who began in my senior year of high school. It was a long, slow process, this becoming attuned to a “new” band, but it seemed like the world was kicking me in the seat of my pants to listen to them.

My first encounter was the summer before senior year. I was at a Shakespearean acting camp, and as luck would have it, I wore my Beatles shirt the same day as my friend Nick wore his Who shirt. “Who are they?” I asked. Nick listed their most famous songs–“Baba O’Riley,” “Pinball Wizard,” etc–and I stared at him like an idiot.

Flash forward three months. I sat in art class, and my teacher played The Who to get himself psyched for their concert. I liked it enough, but didn’t think anything of it.

A couple months later I was looking online at Beatles and Queen fan art, when I noticed a few of the artists also drew The Who. Intrigued, I went to the library and listened to a few Who albums–Greatest Hits, Tommy and Quadrophenia. With the opening notes of Tommy‘s “Overture” I was hooked.