Monday, March 15, 2021

Imminent Book: 'She's at the Controls'

How I miss Dave Laing! He was such a loyal and trustworthy mentor, and I know he would have been a huge support right now. My new book is imminent, a project that has been a labour of love for more than ten years. As with the last book, I have worked really hard on using the best and most relevant parts of the interviews to illustrate many different life trajectories within music production for women producers and engineers. It's not a book that focuses on their techniques, it's a book where they tell their stories of interaction with the music industry, and the ways they got into it all. It's also a book that turns upside down the control systems within the music industry, the really obvious way that women's singing voices are detached from them and turned into commodities, from where they turn into almost self-harming weapons.

On Friday, the cover design turned up in my inbox. I was delighted, because it's very close to the idea that I had but it still fits in with the series artwork. On Friday afternoon, I chanted 'She's at the Controls' into my computer software, photographed the sound wave and sent it off to be included in the final design.

I feel such a sense of responsibility. When you write as a campaigner you want to be true to not only to the people who have agreed to be interviewed, but also true to the future of our gender within the industry.

At certain points, the exact right person has stepped in with energy and support. The woman who transcribed the backlog of interviews: her dad was helping out with some work at my house, and said she was at a  loose end. So early every Friday morning her mum called round and picked up a CD with an interview copied on to it, and by Sunday a transcribed interview was in my inbox. Then there was Sarah Raine (write a book on Northern Soul, which I have to read), who stepped in to edit it; Cassie Fox, who indexed it.

Things move so fast in the music industry that the shape of everything shifts literally as you speak and as you type. I lost count of the times I thought or wrote 'at the time of writing'. It's a snapshot of certain times and attitudes, a contribution to women's history. 

I've also just finished what I think will be my last piece of academic writing, a chapter on Oh Bondage! Up Yours. This is for a book called One Track Minds, a collection of writing on important tracks in different genres of music. It includes a chapter on Donna Summer's I Feel Love written by Simon Reynolds, which I can't wait to read.

Why no more writing? I timed a chapter once from research to publication, and it took 87 hours altogether. How much did I get paid? Nothing, and I never really do. Writing has been a labour of love and a labour of information. You can't eat a reputation, and I have to try to make a living and support myself as retirement looms in the future. I'm one of 'those women', and having worked part time for most of my life, I'm not exactly going to be travelling the world on a cruise liner for the rest of my life (hah!).

[Just watching the morning news before work and the gaslighting of the police behaviour on Saturday night. Cressida Dick was the officer in charge when Menendes was wrongfully shot dead by the police, wasn't she? And let's not forget that it was Boris Johnson who bought water cannon to train on demonstrators when he was Mayor of London.]

1 comment:

Wilky of St Albans said...

So, detective novels it is!

<< DCI Reddington looked at the body slumped over the mixing desk, the snapped mic stand still stuck between the shoulder blades.
"what do you reckon boss?" said her dim-witted but lovable sergeant
"well, the drums are way too loud and there's not enough EQ on the piano...">>