Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Boox, Boox, Boox

I could literally fill a bookcase with the books I've had to read in order to discount what is inside them before writing about related issues in my new book. I have also spent a fortune on second hand books to beef up my own historical knowledge. If I ever write anything again, it's going to be something I can at least imagine making some money from.

On the other hand, my house is full of really interesting books, and I have come across some inspiring radical writing from people who know how to express their anger really articulately and persuasively. Sometimes I think my book will be too radical for readers, and at other times I think it won't be radical enough.

Every day, more subedits turn up in my inbox. I have been so unwell I can't even go out for a walk, which is probably ideal for meticulous detective work, so long as I don't do too much of it. I am signed off work sick: the idea of communicating with anyone verbally is right out of the picture at the moment.

As soon as the book goes into production, at least half of these books will go into the loft, catalogued in case I should need them. I wish I could teach more of this stuff in my job, but on the other hand working on the production side of things has kept my ideas sharp because yes, I really do see overt sexism being put into practice every day. It's almost woven into our professional life as musicians, from education to the most high-end marketing. I remember once being involved in a project in a special school, and the teenage boys literally made a ring around the electronic keyboards to keep the girls out. The girls sat despondently on chairs around the edge of the room; I got them up, broke into the circle to let them in, and the boys shouldered them out again and closed the gap.

You can become fatigued with being angry at injustice, and then it can re-ignite again. I am not a good politician, so I hope that writing can do my politics. I call it 'slug politics' because it's been such a meticulous process- eleven years, now. I've struggled against being backed into a punk corner: you write one thing about that, and that's all anyone wants. In between writing this book (on women producers and engineers), I've written numerous articles on punk. It's been an honour to be invited to contribute to that discourse too, but my mind is that of a magpie even if my processes are slug-paced, and it's much more stimulating to work in different areas and fill in different holes in the history of gender and the music industry.

I'm missing writing songs: I haven't picked up my guitar for more than ten days now and my fingertips are becoming worryingly soft. Tomorrow I will. I've got a prescription for efficient anti-emetics. All I need now is a bit of energy from somewhere so I can sit up straight and start to sparkle. What a nice thought.


Wilky of St Albans said...

The thought of no more Trump is helping to lift me out of the January gloom, although I fear I might miss the almost daily 'OFFS what has he done now?' moment of liberal self-righteousness.

Have you thought about writing detective novels? You'd be good. Make them music industry based. You might have to become Helen Four-Names. Here's a couple of plot ideas:

the strangler who leaves bruises on the victims neck that someone eventually realises are piano chords, and spell something out. I have the scene where this is realised already worked out. It involves the cover of Graham Fitkin's Kaplan CD

With the return of vinyl, the killer who leaves messages in the run-out ('A Porky Prime cut' - remember that)

A mention in the credits will suffice :)

Get well soon

Helen McCookerybook said...

Sounds like a job for Wilky!