“In Belarus she was a vespertine,
She danced the go-go for the bourgeoisie,
Now she’s here and she is on her knees.”
Hurts – Rolling Stone
This blog seems quite infused with music so far, and my writing is similar. I tend to think of my poems as songs, I guess – it’s the closest I can get to them without being able to sing. This sort of fits in with trying to write poems for speaking and performance as well. But I’ve noticed a couple of songs recently that have either developed from novels or would work well as one.
The first of these (and they’re in no particular order) is Florence + the Machine’s Demo “Which Witch”, from their latest album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Written after imagining witch trials in LA, it’s a wonderfully visual idea. It makes you wonder how Florence envisaged these trials, how much she envisaged them, and how developed the idea is. At the risk of sounding too obsessed, the lyrics are really powerful, and work well on lots of levels. But their original idea, and the thought process that went on behind them, is fascinating. I really hope we get to find out one day (if not I might just write it). (Also, while on the subject, Florence wrote a beautiful poem for her Queen of Peace/Long and Lost video, that is read in between the songs. It’s worth watching the video, or finding the handwritten lyrics on her Instagram. And another also – Florence has her own book club, where she sets books for her fans to read. It’s well worth checking it out.)
Another song that could easily inspire a story is Hurts’ latest release ‘Rolling Stone’. I was one of the first to hear this at their intimate gig at Scala, and it’s the song that me and my friend were most excited to hear again afterwards. Not only is the song as good as we remember, but it comes with an amazing second verse, which I don’t remember at all from the performance. The song is so well written, and the whole idea is visual and would work so well as a graphic novel. Also, it’s a song that blends existing literature, beginning ‘in fair Verona where we lay our scene’.
Another new release here in the shape of Years & Years’ Communion. There’s not a particular song that I can pinpoint as being inspired by a book, or indeed one that would strongly inspire a book. But, inside the handwritten lyrics book, is a quote scribbled down by Olly Alexander, from p.209 (he marked that, not me) of ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’. It doesn’t appear in the songs, and I haven’t found a reason for it, but it’s really cool to see it there. Anyone who writes song lyrics or poems with quotes beside them is off to a good start, and it added extra hype to the Super Hype that I already had for the album. I should probably read the book now.
I may well add more to this post over time, so I’ll let you know if it gets updated. I’m hopeful I’ll discover lots more, but all I could contribute now would be the majority of Florence + the Machine songs, so I should move on.
As I said above, I think about lyrics and music quite a lot when I’m writing, and my poems often turn out to be song-esque. Since I should be sharing some of my own writing here, today I’ll share the song lyrics that I’ve currently written down next to the poems I’ve been writing. (The notepad is going quite well now, and is slowly feeling less daunting.)
“The ones you see the less are the ones you love the most.” – Lucy Spraggan, ‘The Tourist’
“And my love was no good, against the Fortress that it made of you.” – Florence, ‘Queen of Peace’
“When I sleep I never dream of you, as if the dream of you, it sleeps too, but never slips away.” – Florence again, ‘Caught’
But other lyrics I’m just really enjoying at the moment include:
“Someone is playing a game in the house that I grew up in, and someone will drive her around in the same streets that I did.” – The Killers
“How could I have known, you’re a universe?” – Years & Years, ‘Without’
“And I slept in last night’s clothes and tomorrow’s dreams.” – Fall Out Boy, ‘Uma Thurman’
and of course
“You’re a dancer, well I’m a spy, it’s so beautiful to see you lie.” – Years & Years, ‘Ties’