In principle, there is an eerie silence to the medium of writing, but when I’m working on a specific chapter of a book, I like to associate the mood of the story to a particular song.
There have been occasions when I have consciously selected a CD to match the subject that I am working on. For example, Elbow’s deliciously intriguing 2008 hit: ‘The loneliness of a tower crane driver’ offered wonderful inspiration to support the final editing process for my tormented narrator, Lowry, in Hassle Castle.
Likewise, I associate ‘Friend of ours’ (from the same album: The Seldom Seen Kid) to a chapter detailing the characters’ sad return to Helvellyn in the Lake District.
Radiohead’s ‘Karma Police’ will always take me back to the aloof and menacing atmosphere defining the characters’ ill-fated trip to Moscow.
I suppose that it’s similar to a tennis player attempting to serve an ace. There’s not necessarily music playing inside their heads, but they do visualise the ball leaving the racket and hitting a spot deep inside the service box.
However, there are exceptions, and I deny listening to Lou Reed’s ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ or Boy George’s ‘The Crying Game’, whilst writing the hugely deviant Hormones and Crumble!