Music while you work

Like lots of people I like to have music to write to. I always used to say that it helps drown out the background noise, but I now live in the middle of nowhere and it's pretty damn quiet here. Or it would be if not for the noisy bastard cows. But even noisy bastard cows need to take a break every now and then, and silence reigns supreme once more.

Then I finally figured it out -- the music does drowns out background noise, but it's the background noise inside my bearded noggin that needs the out-drowning. Plus it flavours the way and kind of thing I write. Most of Book One was written to a soundtrack of Radiohead, Barenaked Ladies, and Pink Floyd. Book Two had more of a Stereophonics, Feeder, and Staind -- with the odd bit of Dame Janet Baker thrown in -- kinda feel to it. But Book Three has been much more eclectic: dozens and dozens of different albums helping to drown out the noises inside my skull.

And you know what? I'm getting a bit tired of the music I have. I need to know it well enough for it not to be distracting as I write, but that means by the end of a book I've listened to the same songs thousands of times. That gets a bit wearing after a bit.

So now I'm casting my eye over the unexplored jungle that is to be Book Four I look at my record collection and sag a bit. I don't really want to go over the same old tunes yet again, but I don't want to go out and pick up a lot of new stuff that I'm not used to hearing either, as it'll be all distracty. Game, set, and Catch 22.

I suppose I could go through some of the old and creaky vinyl I bought back when I was wee and you couldn't fit an entire album in your mouth without smashing the damn thing to bits with a hammer first. Not that I make a habit of stuffing CDs in my mouth, you understand... It's just a... OK: some of them look a lot tastier than they actually are. You remember when CDs were just coming out and those lying bastards on Tomorrow's World told us all how durable they were? How tough? How you could spread them with jam and they'd still play? LIES! If you slather them with strawberry compote they make the inside of your stereo system all sticky. And when you bite into them they're all brittle and jaggy. Even with marmalade.

And who the hell decided it would be a good idea to clart Compact Discs with breakfast preserves anyway? What made the connection? Some twit in a labcoat with a pocketful of pens took one look at that perfectly round, mirror-shimmer surface and thought: "You know what, that'd go really well with seedless raspberry!"

I mean, they don't do that with other products, do they? You don't see some footballist appearing on your telly midway through When Armpits Attack! (or whatever it is you freaks watch) to demonstrate how spanky some new brand of trainers are by spreading them with blackcurrant jam, do you? Would BMW sell more cars by coating them with lime jelly? Would Playtex sell more bras by drizzling their models sensuously with maple syrup... Well, they might not sell more bras, but sure as hell, a lot of men would watch the advert.


I can't remember what I was talking about now.