One of my frustrations when writing is that I’ll often come up with a way of illustrating a concept or idea, only to have somebody ‘correct’ me because some minor detail only they know of is an exception to the trend I’m describing, and therefore I am a worthless idiot who is ignorant of my … More The frustration of writing about concepts and ideas
I’m a huge fan of all sorts of music. Maybe not surprising given that I formally studied it for longer than anything else, including history and writing. I like almost everything – especially jazz of all genres, but also classical (meaning medieval, baroque, classical, romantic, modern orchestral and so on), all styles of rock, metal, … More Katy Perry vs Taylor Swift vs Tove Lo vs Lorde
I figure that if Ludwig van Beethoven had been around today, he’d have been a shred-metaller. You know – a guitar virtuoso who churns out 500-note-a-minute solos on top of complex polyrhythmic backings built around augmented minor chord progressions. Think Yngwie Malmsteen. That’s basically how Beethoven’s stuff was viewed back then by a generation bought … More I figure Beethoven was a shred-metaller. No really.
I’m intrigued by how quickly we get used to music and sounds. Just about every track we listen to these days has electronically-generated content, and even the analog elements are usually processed. Thanks to digital signal processing and software originally developed for the oil industry, singers can even fix pitch and timing. But that wasn’t … More Why nobody notices synthesisers any more
What music do you listen to when writing? Can you listen to music at all? It’s one of the most powerful tools writers can have at their disposal – especially for unsticking the muse. Put another way, you’re pretty much guaranteed to write something different while jouncing along to Katy Perry than if you hurled … More Using music to defeat writers’ block
Instruments I have played the ‘Smoke On The Water’ riff on: 1. Various pianos, except a Bosendorfer 91-note grand, on which I played ‘Louie Louie’. 2. Moog Modular Model 15 (lead only, I don’t own this one, it’s the modular they produced in a suitcase for carrying around gigs, but I DID once tyre-kick my … More The Smoke On The Water riff vs my vintage synthesiser collection
Does anybody listen to British folk-rock? Stuff that flourished, really, in the late 1960s on the back of the counter-culture and some of which floated away on a cloud of Tolkien influences into the 1970s. That wasn’t surprising. In its British incarnation the counter-culture took on overtones of ‘Merrie England’, the nineteenth century sense of … More Tolkien and folk-rock and us