Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Music to kill people by

One issue on which writers have sharply conflicting views is whether or not it helps to listen to music while they are working on their latest book or essay. Some people regard any sound as a distraction, but I’m firmly in the camp that listens to music –typically, these days, a selection from iTunes.

Although I like most kinds of music, movie themes and soundtracks – including those for crime films - are high on the list. And here’s a quiz question: the work of one particular songwriter has featured in every novel I’ve ever written. But who?

The answer isn’t John Barry, but I’ve always admired his work and his score for Body Heat – which happens to be my favourite crime film – is outstanding. It certainly contributed to the steamy atmosphere created by the brilliantly twisting screenplay. Roy Budd’s score for Get Carter is almost as good, and I think the Francis Monkman theme that accompanies the stunning final scene in The Long Good Friday is terrific. The Quincy Jones song ‘On Days Like These’, written for the opening titles of The Italian Job is an easy listening classic, and as I type these lines I’m listening to Lalo Schifrin’s theme for Bullitt. Though in a few minutes I won’t be thinking about Steve McQueen or car chases, but rather how to tackle the next element of the synopsis for the fourth Lake District Mystery…..

1 comment:

Pauline Rowson said...

I find it incredibly hard to listen to music whilst writing, unless my husband is playing jazz or classical music downstairs (very quietly) whilst I'm busy creating in my office upstairs. And it has to be non signing music otherwise I'm sunk. Just can't help singing along even if it is out of tune. I need to be completely with my characters and where they are, listening to the music inside their heads!