Breakfast dishes washed, coffee made and the CD player is on this morning. Yes, I still have a CD player. Still have a large contraption that plays large black circles of vinyl too. It’s sulking in the attic.
Later on I’ll switch to the other kind of music. I mean the stuff that doesn’t come in twelve-inch sleeves and plastic cases but in a binary sludge over a flaky broadband.
It’s music while you write, private soundtracks to conjure an atmosphere – sometimes lyricless music when words would be too distracting.
The music gets a role in my books too. Not the role of a suspect or a killer of course, though sometimes in Another Case in Cowtown it gives a sly little clue or too. Clues that are probably so obscure and buried so deep that they probably aren’t picked up or even noticed or registered in the reader’s subconscious. I don’t mind if you tell me you’ve rumbled these clues, but please don’t give any plot-spoilers.
In real life books become tied up with music in one way or another. I’ve shelves of books that I associate with particular times of my life, and the music I was listening to at the time. When authors try to push things along a little, inserting musical references into their novels, it’s hard for this music to compete with the real sounds in the reader’s life. Accidental, surreptitious and serendipitous connections emerging between the text and the sounds around it.
No, the musical references in the book aren’t really a soundtrack as such. They’re more a shorthand to tell readers something about a character’s musical tastes. And their taste in music, in turn, can tell you quite a lot about the person. (Like I don’t think Adolf Hitler would have been into the Four Tops or the Temptations. I guess he’d be more into the X Factor lot.)
Anyway, what does that make Moss Reid? He’s a bit folky, slightly Mod, a little odd – or quirky and offbeat if you’re being more charitable – and very dusty. Well, going by the dusty old record collection (OK, mostly CDs) he’s dusty. He probably loves Dusty too.
From the CD player and the iPhone you can deduce that he’s almost definitely middle-aged, probably middle-class and Irish. And quite probably a male.
I’ve absolutely no scientific basis for any of this. I can’t cite sociological studies of the differences – if any – between male and female musical tastes. But I’ve a sneaking suspicion that Moss Reid has what a sister calls “slightly girly tastes”.
- Read and listen to some of the tracks in Another Case in Cowtown