I seem to be listening to the same three albums all the time when I am writing just now. This isn’t terribly representative of the music I love, but these are three albums among the music I love, which it is actually possible to listen to at the same time as writing.
This music helps me concentrate. If I write in silence, my mind tends to drift onto others things like checking my e-mail, reading the news or messageboards. The moment I change windows, I am likely to become thoroughly distracted. The music gives me a place where my mind can wander to and from without embarking on some other project.
1.Suzanne Vega – Suzanne Vega
And I tried so hard to resist
When you held me in your handsome fist
And reminded me of the night we kissed
And of why I should be leaving
I think Suzanne Vega is one of the best lyricists of all time. She ought to have been bigger than Dylan but she is a woman whose peak was in the nineteen-eighties. Plus her voice is so soft that it sometimes trickles over you without registering. She is a mistress of poetry, knowing when to stick rigidly to rules and when to bend and break them, how to express the message of a song succinctly, hidden amongst the flowers. And she writes a jolly good tune as well. It’s all very beautiful.
2.Tea For The Tillerman – Cat Stevens
How can I tell you that I love you? I love you
But I can’t think of right words to say
I long to tell you that I’m always thinking of you
I’m always thinking of you, but my words just blow away.
How many times have I mentioned this album on my blog? How many times have I discussed the matter of whether it is this or Teaser and the Firecat which is the best Cat Stevens album? At the moment I am firmly in the Tillerman camp. I don’t need to justify this - if you haven’t got this album, buy it now. You need it. Everybody does.
3.Astral Weeks – Van Morrison
Then we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that we were and the way that we weren’t meant to be
Then we sat on our own star and dreamed of the way that I was for you and the way that you were for me.
I heard that when Jonathon Franzen wrote The Corrections this was the only album he listened to the whole time. This would be quite a recommendation if I actually believed it to be true – it’s a good book, some of the prose is rich bordering indulgent but it often pays off. Anyway, Van Morrison. He wails a lot but with feeling. His lyrics vary from being highly poetic to profoundly banal, but he always sounds like he means every word from the bottom of his heart. Astral Weeks is a bit like one long song, but if it is, I’m not really sure what the heck it is about.
In other news, Damon will be pleased to know that I watched Oragazmo, the other film by the South Park boys which he mentioned after I saw Team America. Orgazmo is about a young Mormon who winds up being offered a job to star in an adult movie as super-hero Orgazmo. It was bad, really bad, but I did laugh a lot. Lots of visual humour involving sex toys and martial arts which might be pivotal, I don’t know. Our conclusion was that you had to be ever so slightly drunk to get the most out of it, but if you were (as we were) it was great. Another candidate for my list of Best Bad Movies.
Oh and I rarely do these things, "What fruit are you?" or "What sort of underpants are you?" but spotted this one on Kezzykat's blog and had to have a go;
Which File Extension are You?
I don't know what to make of that.