Here is some of the music from the book in chronological order.
I have put an extract or some explanation to give you some sort of context.
Using song lyrics in books is expensive for a struggling writer, e.g. two lines from the first song below would have cost over £500 – the more lines the greater the cost. I had intended to quote parts from ten songs! Then there is the rigmarole of actually getting permission if you could afford it – even when you get the right department it can take months. It is not always the artist that will not grant permission, it is the music/publishing company that has second or third party ownership over it; and at a time when music revenue is being squeezed, they are looking to make money wherever they can. My initial thoughts, that I am promoting their music to a wider audience so people will then possibly purchase it, does not wash! Pleading poverty has little effect either – they just play violin music in the background. The counter-argument is; would you want someone using your work (intellectual property) for nothing?
My advice if you cannot get it for free (unlikely) or convince someone else to pay for it e.g. a publisher. Leave it out completely – song titles are free to use, but if you quote even one line of a popular song there is chance that a lawyer with no sense of humour will want more than the initial purchase cost. The other option is to make your own lyrics up, as I did with July Room. There is also another option, use them anyway, cross your fingers and hope you don’t get an e-mail from a humourless lawyer in the music business – good luck with that one!
Cigarettes and alcohol – Oasis (Chapter 4 – Cigarettes and alcohol.)
We rejoined the motorway, I kept looking across to try and see what he’d chosen, but he was giving nothing away, he was playing his CD cards close to his chest. The anticipation was marvelous, making me tingle and giggle, he’d made his choice, but he was delaying to build the tension.
`OK Chief… fasten your seat belt, take a deep breath, hand your peanuts `round, because it’s that time… life boils down to a few tunes time… and this is it… you complete toss-pot.’
He slipped the CD into the machine, keeping his hand over the writing on the CD, it retracted like a Moray eel back into its burrow; and reminded me of the coke disappearing up my nose last week-end back at Darren’s. The few seconds before it kicked in, turned to minutes, he simultaneously pumped up the volume, until eventually……
Top hat symbols 1-2-3-4.
A joyous grin erupted from my mouth and widened across my head. I knew what it was; it was a piece of inspiration, apocryphal, mesmeric, absolute wonderful ravishment…
Rhythm guitar and bass guitar, crystal clear… dah-dah daar.
I felt the music deep within my body and soul; it made me shake with excitement.
Feet tapping, steering wheel tapping, brain tapping satisfaction and pleasure.
Wall of sound rhythm guitar.
The music would have been enough but the lyrics that followed were seminal and pivotal, and very, very true, spoken words could not sum things up as lucidly. It was like Noel Gallagher had written the song just for us, for this moment in time, and us only, this is what Uncle Danny had talked about… perfect moments, the song was Cigarettes and Alcohol. The words ran around our insouciant hedonistic consciousness and left us in no doubt, where we were, what we had done and what we were about to do, it had transcended poetry. When the words poured forth we sang in unison, loud, raucous and out of tune, but very in tune with the moment.
[Another depressing aspect here is the fact I spent a lot of time relating the lyrics to their (Robert and Spud’s) journey; Spud’s studious deliberated choice of this track and their initial excitement of their trip around Europe – to then have to edit most of it away – all part of the learning curve!]
Space Cowboy – Jamiroquai. (Chapter 4 – Cigarettes and alcohol.)
The electronic beeps of Jamiroquai’s, Space Cowboy, kicked in, we both laughed, Spud yelped, then sprang from his stupor and grabbed me playfully by the knee, like a granddad might do. There is no way I can do justice in words about these two songs, you have to listen to them, to grab the full meaning…. but when it comes on strong, you gotta make it happen…!!! And that was what Spud had done… we both knew it, the holiday had moved up a stratosphere, he was on board in first class with me… it was now going to be… hoofing… `cos we were both now fucking mad for it!
A Higher State of Consciousness – by Josh Wink (Chapter 10. Club-Heads – (A higher State of Consciousness)
A Higher State of Consciousness – by Josh Wink was mixed into a pumping house track. The whole room erupted in a huge cheer of recognition. We threw our hands in the air in recognition – we had to, we were the conductors for the night and the clubbers were our conduit instruments of desire – dependent on us to facilitate their dances to release their trapped pleasure. This happened about four times, every beat brought a nod of recognition – he was teasing us – the best possible teasing – cruel but magnificent at the same time. Eventually the tune we desired and craved started, the room erupted again and everyone started going mad – we knew it was the last song of the set, because of the way the set had built. So we gave it loads – we were oozing pleasure – you could feed off our energy webs, we were all connected by an invisible force, bonds we could all feel – but no one else.
Chapter 10. Music, Nipple Hair and Lederhosen.
Uncle Danny’s list of most influential pop music from the last 30 years. (until 1996.)
There was very little on Danny’s personal list I knew I’d dislike; previously Dark Side of the Moon might have been a contender; but we’d played that going through Customs in Hull and that now got a big thumbs up. London’s Calling – maybe, or possibly This is the Sea, by The Waterboys – but I knew this was unlikely because of the energy and excitement Sophie from sixth form had sung along with Uncle Danny that day at Barca; when he had handed over the discs. So instead I opted for the top ten that changed pop history over the last thirty years, because I knew there were CDs there I would hate and Spud would hate them to boot. The list ran like this;
- Sgt Peppers – Beatles.
- Bridge over Troubled Water – Simon Garfunkel.
- Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd.
- Highway 57 – Bob Dylan.
- Bat out of Hell – Meatloaf.
- Never Mind the Bollocks – Sex Pistols.
- Thriller – Michael Jackson.
- Ziggy Stardust – Bowie.
- Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches – Happy Mondays.
- Morning Glory – Oasis.
I told Spud the juke box jury rules as we motored along. If we liked it – it got a thumbs up, I gestured my thumb up in the air from the steering wheel. If we were not sure about it, or it might need a second listen, I gestured with my thumb in a see-sawing horizontal wavy motion, and if we hate it – it gets a big thumbs down. I gestured again like a Roman Emperor about to give the orders for a gladiatorial kill.
Spud was up and running again; it was good to have him back on the wing. We took it in turns to pick CDs off the list; I went first and picked Thriller. I only chose it because I wanted to see a CD fly out of the window. We gave it three tracks, then the electric window came down, throwing things that cost money out of a moving automobile went against Spud’s ethics. He looked across at me and said, `Don’t you think we should just keep hold of it and sell it when we get back?’
My voice became stern, `you can cut that shite out right now, Star.’
Without looking he tossed the Michael Jackson into the hurtling green verge, `unlucky Wacko… you little Peter Pan peado!’ We did not see it hit the verdant vegetation, but at the approximate time it made contact, Spud made the high pitch Jacko sound of, `ahh arr.’
`Not grabbing your groan then wacko?’ I said dryly.
`Not mine these days, ahh arr.’
Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars. (Chapter 16. Chairman.)
David Bowie is one of my favourite artists and it is quite painful for a character you are writing about to take the opposite point of view – it can contort you in your lonely room! Who said writing was easy – still not as uncomfortable as your mother reading a sex scene and saying, `it’s a little racy isn’t it!?’ – you can work out the sub-text!
Growing up in Hull (England), one of my Junior School mates (Jonathon Roe) lived next door to Trevor Bolder. Pointing to the council house adjacent he said, `one of the Spiders lives there.’
I look at him blankly.
The next day I ask him, `What did you mean when you said, one of the Spiders lives there?’
`Have you heard of David Bowie?’
`No, who is he!’
When we got out off the Autobahn and onto the country roads heading for Prague – Spud drove for the first time, allowing me to be the DJ at last. Life was hoofing again, we had direction and hope and youthful hedonism back in our souls. Ziggy played guitar; he might well have done twenty-five years ago, but he didn’t now, if he wanted to play his guitar he would have to go back to Mars. Ziggy spent the rest of the holiday in the boot, it could have been worse, he could have lived out his retirement in the bovine Bavarian Countryside – if we hadn’t have been in such good moods – giving him the wavy thumb, he would have…… but where were the Spiders?
The Sun Rising – The beloved. (Chapter 23. Havin’ it to the max!)
I sat on the edge of the villa looking at the dancing sea and playing The Beloved’s, The Sun Rising repeatedly. It seemed the right thing to do, it captured the mood, and helped focus my mind, empty it and free it at the same time, allowing me the space to make a decision on what to do next. The time was right to move on – you can look forward too much to something, and that makes it an anti-climax. Death had made Ibiza an anti-climax – stolen the show. At least I was travelling off the island economy class and not in a wooden overcoat in the hold! Just time for one last little dance and we were out of there.
Every breath you take – The Police. (Chapter 26. It’s such a perfect day, (….I’m glad I spent it with you.)
I had the centre stage, well you have to show off, we do – it’s part of our nature. I put on a Southern American twang, supposed to sound like Elvis Presley, but sounded more like Elmer Thud.
`In good ole Madchester, if you’ve got a gee-tar in your hand you can’t have a gun at the same time. This here shout goes out to a very great friend of mine out there in Rock and Roll land…. Tazmin.’ I shouted `a one, a two, a one, two, three, two.’
Then launched into Every Breath You Take – by the Police. Spud and I had done this for a parents evening in year ten; and we not only knew it, we knew it impressively well. I aimed the words at Taz, repeating the last few words of the verse in a mounting crescendo… I’ll be watching you!
Weary Hobo – Emmylou Harris version.
Then we launched straight into Wonderwall by Oasis and Damaged by Primal Scream. This whipped the crowd up into more of a frenzy. It was like a gauntlet to the girls; they took over and the most beautiful pieces of music were created by them. Jenny played the guitar, and Taz sang this harmonious, lilting, trance-like song called Weary Hobo, A song made famous by Woodie Guthrie, but not written by him, by Goebel Reeves, they had sung it together at College, it was so gorgeous, very similar to a version by Emmylou Harris. It made you tingle inside like you’d been gently electrocuted.
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd.
Jenny asked for Let It Be, her and Taz pretended to be holding lighters up as they sang. Then Dave and the other two playing guitars delivered the last song of the night. A song I have never heard up until that moment in time, and now one of my favourite tracks. Wish You Were Here, by Pink Floyd. I thought Pink Floyd were old has-been psychedelic hippies; I was wrong, Dark Side of the Moon, had started to change our minds about that – but now this! The introductory notes rang clear and true, reverberating in your consciousness, then permeated your very soul. It was nectar, the notes were enough; then the words came, a bonus, when you thought a bonus wasn’t possible. Except we knew we were here, and we were the antithesis of the song. Poignant, mesmeric lyrics.
July Room by The Character Robert Knight (written by Ian M Pindar.) (Chapter 27 Wake up it’s a beautiful morning.
I also wrote the following song, I borrowed a guitar off Dave, and spent about two hours sat on the balcony writing and strumming. It was a lovely special moment. I felt like a rock legend, talking through interview scenarios, `yeah it was here, on this very balcony, back in `96, that I wrote July Room… yeah actually here… but the ironic thing was it was actually late August, but August didn’t really say what I was trying to say!!!’ (August didn’t scan.) I know it was bollocks, but it is better to travel hopefully and all that… I was feeling hoofingly gorgeous – Bob Dylan in the Chelsea Hotel! The verses are slow and moody, and the chorus is faster and more upbeat. This is the song with the basic chords:
When the drugs wear off and you can’t be certain… of what you want to do?
G D C G
We’re happier in our chemical worlds… of that you know it’s true.
G D C G
Where our friends all smile and huge a lot… at least for an hour or two.
G D C G
I don’t want much from real-ity… `cept to be coming down-n-n… with you.
G D C G
When reality bites so hard, and there’s no place left to go,
G D C G
Show me to your July room… and I’ll try-y-y… to let go.
G D C G
This religious feeling, that I’m feeling… when I’m dancing next to you.
It could be the drugs, but it would not make me feel… the way I feel with you.
They tell us that we’re crim-nals… to go out raving like we do.
We know they’re jealous… so they go on hating… every-y-y thing that’s new.
I’ve let the flashing lights… and the moving dance floor… guide me for a while.
Now the music stopped and the silence is not… like I remember it before.
I’ve got these aching legs and this sweaty body… to remind me what I’ve done.
But when I look across at you… it reminds me… I’m-m-m still young.
Chorus and fade .
Songbird – Christine McVie (30. Songbird!)
I chased permission for the use of a verse of this song for over four months – it was to be the last words of the book, so for that reason I pursued it. I had to contact four different companies/departments and when I thought I was going to get a price from BMGChrysalis, they told me they did not own the rights in America. I gave up as I needed to get the book out!
I have left out any excerpts from the book as it would spoil the end. But The Eva Cassidy version is much more haunting, and apt.
Ian M Pindar