Yesterday I finished and handed in the sequel to Reality 36, Omega Point. It’s a bundle of high-octane excitement, at least that’s what I hope you think when it is released next year. Today, after faffing about with my tax returns, I start earnest work on Champion of Mars.
But before that, I thought I’d write a post that might shock people who know me well. Nothing contentious (I’m not going to confess to being a Nazi/alien/ mermaid, I don’t perform Al Jolson hits in full minstrel regalia in my bedroom, nothing like that). Just the music I’ve been listening to while writing Omega Point. GASP!
The reason this may shock certain folk is that I have been at great pains for much of my life to avoid talking about music, becoming almost angry (okay, no almost about it) when cornered on the subject.
I’ll tell you why my ire is sparked. For a start, I find any conversation that endlessly dissects any aspect of popular culture to be extremely dull, it’s as if, sometimes, we’ve let our obsession with entertainment overwrite our interest in the real world. Yeah, yeah, I take part, and yeah, that’s the major part of my job, but it goes too far, too far my friends! Sometimes, I just wish people would shut up about which special effects technician was responsible for the artful wrinkles on the third Kroton from the left in episode whatever of Doctor Frickin’ Who (great show, by the way, could we just leave it at that?).
Worst of all these conversations, however, are the conversations on musical taxonomy — which particular subgenre a particular song belongs to, and why. That kind of a conversation makes me want to kill. The way they become ever more anally precise, like fractals, they never seem to end, just go on and on and on. It’s all so subjective and bloody pointless. Listening to musos chunter on is like falling down the rabbit hole to find Dave Lee Travis squatting at the bottom, bearded face agape, waiting to swallow you whole.
Calm now Guy.
But that’s not the principle reason. What really puts me off talking about music is that expressing a preference for one artist or another immediately allows people to pop you in a box, and judge you for it. It is the sheer partisan nature of music loving that annoys. People need to put other people into small, easily labelled categories as much as they need to pop music into mental filing cabinets. I don’t like to be judged, and I don’t like to be laughed at because I like Abba. Not because I don’t like being laughed at, but because I can’t be arsed enough to care enough to laugh at someone else for the kind of music they like, for something that, for me, does little to define my identity.
Identification with something like a musical genre is so false, methinks, like the fake tribes of football teams (another thing I abhor). I will not, refuse to be, placed into someone or other’s subculture. It’s why I dress neutrally, why I don’t follow team sports. Or talk much about politics. In this world, it is hard to take one thing from there and another thing from here, one must buy a whole package of being-in-the-world, wear its colours with pride and close one’s mind to other facets of life. Well, bollocks to that. I am me, not somebody else’s label of what I am, nor am I my own interpretation of what I think I should be.
By way of illustration, one of the funniest things I ever saw was a The Prisoner convention, where people talked about how The Prisoner was about iconoclasm and individuality in the face of the man, daddy-o, yet all of them were wearing exactly the same clothes — number six badges, straw hats, and blazers, knowingly tipping said hats at each other, proclaiming their separation from the mundane, while in reality just swapping one convention for another (forgive the pun). Or like gothy kids, who try to prove how different they are by all following the same worn route of self-expression, and thus all looking the same.
Okay? Call me a misanthrope.
Futile, because I inadvertently fit a great many stereotypes without even trying, and subscribe, again without trying, to certain ways of being. Humans are hard-wired for this shit. Ah! The bitter irony.
My antipathy to musical chat is maybe a bit pathetic, it’s a hang up left over from school, where you really weren’t allowed to like heavy rock AND Kylie, adults obviously aren’t like that. OR ARE THEY? EH?
Look, I’m trying to work through this, so be nice.
So, as part of my therapy, here’s some stuff I’ve been listening to while penning Omega Point. This hurts me to do this, I hope you all realise, so you can fuck off if you want to get in touch with me and point out I got the details wrong, I don’t care, y’hear?
I expect a psychoanalytical posting from Matt Keefe about this, I really do.
Supermassive Black Hole –Muse
Super Trouper –Abba
Nothing Ever happens – Del Amitri
Waiting in the Weeds –The Eagles
Venus in Furs –Velvet Underground
Solar Sailer –Daft Punk
Star Trek: First Contact –The Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (who else?)
Say What You Want –Texas
The Fear –Lily Allen
Close to You (remix) –The Cure
Paul Takes the Water of Life –Toto
Who Knew –P!nk
Mad World – Michael Andrews and Gary Jules (the Donnie Darko version)
Brothers in Arms –Dire Straits
Human – The Killers
Tron Legacy: Closing Credits – Daft Punk
These last two are what I regard as ‘the themes’ to the book, like, they play over the credits in my head (as it’s a book, these credits are rather short) especially ‘Human’, because that’s what the books are all about. Sort of, not dancing obviously. Oh, just leave me alone.
There, I talked music. Don’t expect a repeat performance, I’m writhing with discomfort inside as I press publish.