Monday, 7 September 2009

Alan MX: The Importance Of Reading A Book

I'm writing again, which is a huge relief.

After finishing what is probably my seventh Angela Carter book, I am suffused with a level of creativity I had thought impossible. One of my Dad's friends, a lyricist, said once that words were like cats: they come when they want to. Which is exactly the same with music. I have tried for the best part of a year to write something leading enough to turn into an album. Something with enough of a comet tail to steer my spaceship into the next quadrant.

Wise Children got the ball rolling. When I read this I remembered how liberating fiction could be. A notion that is strange for me to forget seeing as I am surrounded by fiction everyday. Nora and Dora Chance were the two slutty old ladies who got my pen hand wriggling again, but it was Fevvers who sent it shooting out of the cannon. Fitting, what with her wings and all.

I've written a garden of lyrics and poems informed by Angela Carter's canon in the past few weeks. And I realize that without novels and stories, music is just noise.

For Warpsichord, I took a lot of inspiration from classical horror and science fiction. The God Song and Cuckoos were direct reflections of John Wyndham (Chocky and Midwich Cuckoos respectively) and Franks Monster was plainly Shelley. Also present were the tones of Marvel Comics, which I have collected and obsessed over since my childhood, when one Sunday afternoon I travelled back from London on a train with my brother and filled my mind with his What If story featuring Phoenix of the X-Men.

It's probably really cheeky, but when I read a story or identify with a character so completely I am compelled to absorb them and turn them into actors in my own story. Not necessarily rewrite their story, but put it into my own flourished and overtly camp words. When I wrote Hawkeye, I was writing about a couple of things, most plainly; Clint Barton of the Avengers and, perhaps more covertly, about a terrible relationship I just about survived with my skin still on. I whored Barton to my purposes, and I feel a little guilty for it.

I get a funny feeling in my stomach when I think of all the books and comic books I haven't read yet. Music and literature are the only two things in this world that thicken my blood. And they are essentially two ends of the same piece of string. My ideal eternity would be me and a computer and some instruments and a horde of books. As long as I could dwindle the hours until twilight with singing till i bled and reading till my eyes melted I would be happy. I could cope with nihilism, I could weather apocalypse if I could sing and read. For all my fear of old age and the certainty I harbour that old age is something I will not see, I would relish the opportunity to indulge my interests in my end days.

Generally, in the past I thought the only relevant song was one that conveyed a message of import. I would lace my songs with hidden barbs of 'morality'; in inverted commas because my notions of morality are heavily flawed and immature, feeling that there was no point unless a political perspective was announced. I think in my neotonous mind I was trying to make myself in the image of protestors I had nothing in common with. I never marched for Pride, I never survived a blitzkrieg or held my breath. It's only now in this current equinox (soon to be eclipsed by greater knowledge no doubt) that I come to my senses and see that a song is a story. A political view is served by fable and a moral missive is issued by folklore and myth.

I don't think I'll ever be able to parody a politic. I'm too uneducated at this lofty age of 27, I'm too muddy in the mind to strike a philosophical question to its core; Sartre makes sense until I forget the terminology and I am too cowardly for atheism.

In many ways; to survive, I need NOT to know things, because the result is wonder. A quality far too lacking in our society, too lost in its literal slavery. It's not that I believe Fevvers stories or wish upon poor departed Carter an intangible and invisible position as narrator.

I don't need to believe in God or aliens, but the potential is so inspiring

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