Listening to...
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Author:  Tony [ Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:03 pm ]
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Bex Marshall, and best-of Creedence...

Author:  Stu [ Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:32 am ]
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Spike -- Elvis Costello.

Lost my copy years ago when I lent it someone and never got it back. But I got all nostalgic recently and bought a new copy. Some of the tracks (Tramp the Dirt Down, Veronica) were as fresh in memory as when I first heard them but others (Chewing Gum, Stalin Malone) had been completely forgotten. On first listening the slower tracks work much better -- Any King's Shilling is my current favourite song -- but the more upbeat tracks are beginning to work their charm. And The Dirty Dozen Brass Band didn't seem to fit with the songs at first -- it sounds like Costello recruited the local Salvation Army band and asked them to have a stab at jazz and funk instead of all those boring old hymns -- but they're gradually growing on me.

All in all an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

Author:  Mike A [ Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:12 pm ]
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I only have "Spike" on cassette (remember them? Mind you, most of my Costello's on vinyl!). I recall it as patchy, but with some great numbers. "Veronica" still sounds splendid - terrific driving bass-line from Paul McCartney - the other tracks I remember are "God's Comic" and "Pads, Paws and Claws" (which Macca co-wrote), plus "Tramp the Dirt Down" and "Let Him Dangle".

Author:  Stu [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:24 am ]
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Yeah, my original copy was on cassette. This is the first time I've bought Costello on CD.

Author:  Tony [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:44 am ]
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I bought Spike on tape, too...
Agree with you about the brass band.
Costello's trad-jazz North CD was rather dull, I thought.
Delivery Man was somewhat disappointing... Has he, um... lost his edge? I still like Costello's older stuff, but his appeal seems diminished nowadays, as his newer material lacks impact.
Costello has a neat cameo (as himself) in comedy-drama Delirious, in which he's stalked by Steve Buscemi's paparazzo (who's after supposedly-rare photos of Costello without a hat!).

Author:  Mike A [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:17 am ]
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Must admit I haven't really followed Costello in recent years. I think the most recent album I have (compilations excepted) is Mighty Like a Rose from the 90s. I still love those early albums best, which I bought as a kid, starting with Armed Forces when I was about 10, then catching up with the earlier ones and back on with Get Happy and the rest. Of the 1980s albums, I particularly like Imperial Bedroom.

Author:  Dan McNeil [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:12 pm ]
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I always listen to music when I write, and quite often when reading. Always got a few current faves on the go, presently flowing between:

Electronic - Twisted Tenderness
David Sylvian - Dead Bees on a Cake
Massive Attack - 100th Window
John Coltrane - A Love Supreme*
The Fall - Middle Class Revolt

*I discovered Coltrane a few years ago. I don't believe in God, but his music (much of which he says is a paean to God) moves me in a God-like way. If that makes sense...

Author:  Andrew Hook [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:00 pm ]
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I listen to music whilst writing too. Recent stories have been written whilst listening to:

Mercury Rev - Boces
Snow Patrol - A Hundred Million Suns
Blonde Redhead - 23
God Help The Girl - God Help The Girl (a Belle & Sebastian spin-off)
Sonic Youth - The Eternal

Author:  Mike A [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:29 pm ]
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I can only listen to instrumental music while reading or writing. I prefer silence, but if I need to block background noise I currently favour Philip Glass's Solo Piano album.

Author:  Dan McNeil [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:00 pm ]
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Andrew, Mike (and anybody else),

Do you think writing to music improves one's writing?

PS - I'm writing this to music, so probably not.

Author:  Andrew Hook [ Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:01 pm ]
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I think it's helpful to have a creative stimulus which I often find sets the mood of the story I'm writing. Occasionally, bits of lyrics creep in because I hear them at the exact moment that they're needed, other times there's a serendipity which I hadn't anticipated at all - similar themes popping up which I hadn't realised were there. What I will say, is that the music has to be heard as 'background' music to the extent that I'm hearing it subliminally - anything which 'demands' to be listened just becomes a distraction and jars with the writing frame of mind. Because I tend to write short stories in one sitting nowadays I normally loop the cd to play continuously, creating a mood bubble which I can write within. For me, it helps, it isolates the real world, keeps me going.

I do think quality creativity begets quality creativity. Ideas bounce off one another. Something I've been doing recently, certainly with the last four short stories I've written, is to watch a Jean-Luc Godard directed movie before I write. Whatever you think of his work - and I frequently fall asleep during some movies - there are so many ideas packed inside that I always feel inspired to do something afterwards (not necessarily connected in any way to the movie). I think it's how he pulls apart the artiface of cinema but still works within it that appeals to me, gets me fired up, and makes me want to do something constructive.

In the above sense, I've found both music and movies improve my writing. However reading other books before I write doesn't help at all...

Author:  RJPayne [ Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:38 pm ]
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If I can't find a piece of music that fits with a story (usually instrumental or classical, but not always) then I prefer to work in silence. But when I find the right piece it can help with the writing so much.

A few months back I was in the middle of a story and quite stuck with it. Then I started listening to Cape Clear, a haunting violin piece by a folk musician named Seth Lakeman, and something just stuck. I listened to the track on non-stop repeat for 8 hours as I wrote the rest of the story, and during all my revisions too. Now I can't hear it without feeling as though I'm right back in that world myself - I can practically feel the wind in my hair!

I often have good ideas for stories or scenes while listening to songs, but I find that anything with lyrics gets distracting if I'm actually writing.

Author:  Lawrence Dagstine [ Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:40 pm ]
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Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.

Author:  StevePalmer [ Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:00 pm ]
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Lots of Beatles!

Bought Yellow Submarine on Wednesday, sounds great... :D

Author:  Mike A [ Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:09 pm ]
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My Missus has been dropping hints lately at the incompleteness of our Beatles CD collection (missing a lot of the earlier stuff, which is dotted around on cassettes somewhere). I'm itching to hear the remasters of Revolver and Rubber Soul myself.

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