To link this with screenwriting in some way, as that is the main focus of this blog, a few words about music and screenwriting. On this subject, here's usually two main FAQ / FAQs (does the initialism stand for Frequently Asked Questions or Question singular? Answers on a postcard). The first is: should one listen to background music when one is writing? I say: Yes and No. I do like to have tunes on sometimes, particularly when I'm in full flow and typing away; but the moment I need to go into problem-solving mode, which is often, the iPod gets silenced.
Second, should one specify a particular song in a script if one wants its use as incidental music? Personally, I never do this, my reason being that it might put off the reader if they're not familiar with the song. And anyway, the director or producer will probably overrule my choice. But I know of many a successful and professional writer that does do this in scripts, so don't pay any attention to me.
OK, to the 7. Generally I like warm electronic sounds, jangling guitars, big beats, and combinations thereof. Seven songs in heavy rotation on the iPod of late are as follows:
- 'The Greatest Story Never Told' / Murray Gold and the BBC Wales Orchestra. This is Doctor Who incidental music, a cue from Steven Moffat's Library-based episodes. I was incessantly listening to the album, and this track particularly, when writing the recent Doctor Who spec script, to get me into the spirit of the thing.
- 'More than a Dream' / Pet Shop Boys. My favourite track on their latest album. And I'm very excited to be seeing them at the O2 Arena in June (I don't get out enough!). Anyone else going?
- 'Toe Jam'/ The BPA (feat. Dizzee Rascal & David Byrne). If you haven't heard of it, the Brighton Port Authority is the latest project from Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook. This comes with sleeve note pretence that these are recently recovered recordings of an old, forgotten band. But forget the fakery, it's essentially another Fatboy album, but more song-based and with a few celebrity vocal talents thrown into the mix. And it's better than anything he's put out since around about 'Praise You'. This song is bliss encapsulated.
- 'Neon Tiger' / The Killers. I love The Killers, they can do no wrong.
- 'Not Fair' / Lily Allen. The music and production on Ms. Allen's latest album 'It's Not Me, It's You', courtesy of the Bird and the Bee fellah, is impeccible. But she sets her stall as a lyricist, and judged as a lyricist she is infuriatingly variable. On songs, like 'Not Fair' where she's speaking for herself (or more probably a characterisation close to herself) it works. But when she strays from that and starts speaking about society, it all just makes my toes curl. Worst offender on the album is the song that includes the refrain "Society says that her life is already over" about a character who's 29. 29! FF, and if I might be so bold, S! Society doesn't say women's lives are over by 29, Lily: idiots in society say this, Don't be one of them.
- 'Mario's Cafe' / Saint Etienne. From their second album 'So Tough' and also on the 2-disc 'best of' currently living on my Shuffle. I parted company with them after 'So Tough', so mostly the compilation is new stuff to me , and very good too. But a few tracks, including this one, are a pure hit of Nineties nostalgia from back when I had a major crush on Sarah Cracknell. Actually, I still have a major crush on Sarah Cracknell.
- 'I Box Up All The Butterflies' / Boy Least Likely To. I don't ever get time to listen to the radio anymore, so I catch up with new music via The Word magazine, like quite a few discerning Dads out there I suppose. There is a CD sampler of new music given away with the mag every month, and this my most listened to track from the latest one.
That's me done. If anyone has any recommendations, I'd welcome them. I'd create a spotify list of the above songs, but I haven't got around to trying spotify yet, and by the time I do, it probably won't be fashionable any more. Ah well.