Sunday, 2 December 2018

The Story So Far... part 2

I had decided that a new batch of short stories needed more than a page to take them to their audience. But, deciding is only the beginning.
I knew exactly what I wanted, I wanted to put on a show. I wanted to share my stories up close and personal but I just couldn't see how to fit them into a format that would work. I didn't feel that I could carry an hour and a half show. I had half-convinced some other writers to collaborate but this would make the whole process so much more complicated. Some of the would-be collaborators are in other parts of the country and all have different obligations and time constraints. This would become an enormous monster of an endeavour.
I have always loved stories and literature and music so it follows that many of my favourite songs were narrative songs. When I was a kid, my Grandad used to play Johnny Cash and ‘A boy Named Sue’ fascinated me. I'm going to list some of my favourites simply because I want to say them out loud.

  1. ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia’ The Charlie Daniels band
  2. Hotel California by The Eagles
  3. Eleanor Rigby The Beatles
  4. All of Bat out of Hell by Meatloaf
  5. I loved Ian Dury ‘My Old Man’ about his father was a fave
  6. Jeremy by Pearl Jam
  7. Central Reservation by Beth Orton
  8. Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega
  9. Stan by Eminem
  10. Love Vigilantes by New Order
  11. A Whole bunch by Amy Winehouse
  12. Jim White, The wound that never heals, a dark tale of love and murder
  13. David’s Last Summer by Pulp
  14. The Wild Rose by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, another who loves to tell a good tale.
  15. Love Detective by Arab Strap. Again a band who liked to tell stories more than sing songs.

While I'm writing this I'm remembering so many more but I really have to stop somewhere.
What informed my vision was mostly the last three in this list. Pulp and in particular David’s Last Summer because it breaks out of the 3 minute pop song limitations and tells a story that could just as well be a chapter from a book. Actually most of Pulp’s songs were stories, Common People being the most successful but I could name Babies and Disco 2000 off the bat. Nick Cave tells a good tale but its strongest point is the musical mood and use of Kylie’s voice. 
You may be less familiar with the last one, Arab Strap, they are from Glasgow and although Love Detective is my favourite they tend to narratives in their songs told in Glasgow patter usually with no attempt to sing a hook. Love Detective is a seedy tale of secrets and suspicion, I love the way the beat drives the story and not the words filling the tune as in most songs. This is what I wanted.
I imagined a DJ or computer based setup with loops and samples to drive the atmosphere. Behind me on the wall would be evocative images to set the scene. At last, I had a plan. This would be the show and it would hold an audience’s attention for as long as it needed. Don’t get me wrong, I've been to some incredible solo performances but I really felt the experience need some extra dimensions.
One minor problem, though. I could not find a DJ/musician. Basically, I wanted someone who would know exactly what I want and be able to realise that in a way that I would be happy with, easy.
Actually, I did have exactly the musician I needed, I just didn't realise it. I had known him for years and we had talked about music many times but a Venn diagram of our tastes would have looked like this…
Then one day he invited me over to his place to figure out if we could work together. He had a bedroom studio with all we would need but I still wasn't sure that he could see the music in my head.

No comments:

Post a Comment


“In a hyper-real postmodern world, fact and fiction have become confusingly indistinguishable” Hunter S. Thompson

Throw in your two-pennies worth

From Under Dark Clouds

The Century of DIY