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 visiting places in movies

General Geekiness

There are fewer things in life that make me smile more than knowing that I’ve been somewhere that a movie’s been filmed. It’s a simple pleasure, but one that I particularly like (especially when watching a movie and recognizing a place).

When I was younger, my family went on a trip to the UK. One of our stops was Oxford, where we visited Christ Church College. Otherwise known as the place where the staircase from Harry Potter is. Also, part of The History Boys was filmed there. I had to smile.

A big surprise came when I was watching Quadrophenia last summer. The whole mods and rockers thing intrigues me, but enough on that. I knew that the movie partially took place in Brighton (where I visited in high school), but I didn’t realize that the big fight took place outside a restaurant I ate at (or just paid a visit to the loo…I can’t remember). Either way, I walked down quite a few of the streets (and of course, the beach) used in that cult film.