There are clearly more important things in life than musical taste. Just ask Gavin Rossdale, who has recently joined the Voice; presumably at the cost of being able to sleep ever again. Yet playlists remain central to our lives. When I say ‘our’ I mean people that consider gifting song compilations as integral to the wooing process, and even in moments of crisis will be thinking ‘I wonder what song would best soundtrack this?’. For some people Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell says more about them than their CV ever will. Even at 54. (Not that I’m 54, it was just an example).
Of course a novel is no different. It needs songs. Of course most writers, or car salesmen are failed musicians. I should know, I’ve been both. Not that I was in a band for long. Gothic Poodle was a mistake from the name down. None of us could play instruments, but that didn’t stop if from amassing a back catalogue to rival no one’s. We split up over creative similarities. Mind you, Runaway Girl remains an unrecorded classic, at least in my head.
Anyway, it has taken a long time for me to accept that my influences are not Bergman or Camus, Paris’ left bank or Bob Dylan, but 2000AD comics, Smash Hits and Highlander. This 1986 film is best known for being the only watchable film Christopher Lambert ever starred in. It features a sleek soundtrack from Queen including It’s a kind of Magic and th majestic Who wants to live forever? Similar themes and practical issues of eternal life underpin the premise of my debut novel, the Life Assistance Agency, and Who wants to live forever? is a question anyone pursuing immortality is unlikely to have fully explored.
The challenge of asking Queen and Freddie Mercury to write music for the Life Assistance Agency, was mitigated by the fact they had already done so in the shape of Highlander. It made a great starting point. My protagonists are keen music lovers, so Bruce Springsteen rubs shoulders with the apt Oasis’ Live Forever and Robbie Williams schmaltzy Angels, which not only healed a Britpop rift, but anchored the story in real life by playing Radio 2 in the background.
The novel found itself with a soundtrack that could have written the story itself, that’s if playlists were able to write novels, which sadly they are not. But they do help. They provide the story with rhythm, even if it’s with songs you don’t like .
My new novel even features a retired pop star. After all, who hasn’t wondered what happens after your huge hit single, and all you have on your hands is time and money with which to fill it. After all, there’s only so many Rolls Royces you can crash into a swimming pool before it starts to affect your fitness regime.
It was on completion of the novel that someone suggested I compile the soundtrack. Annoyed I had not thought of this myself, I noted every song as it appeared and did so, while adding a few extras. I wish I could claim this did not take up an entire day, but like writing a novel, it needed to find its own poise. So, here you go….
The Spotify soundtrack to the Life Assistance Agency can be found here:
And the novel – selected by WHSmith Fresh Talent 2017 – the Life Assistance Agency is available now here – http://myBook.to/lifeassistance