The Final Solo: The Final Shenanigans

New day, new stuff, it’s bright and sunny outside, and I’ve been writing.  You know I would because I told you I would.  And what did I do?  I finished the scene!  Yay for me, right?

Well, I didn’t lose it at the dinner last night, though someone didn’t like my “hula hoop” earrings, so I kinda told them to screw off and moved on.  It’s really the way to do it, ya know?  I also didn’t get blind drunk, so I had a pretty good night’s sleep.  Which is why I was able to focus for the most part and get this all written.

Now . . . I mentioned shenanigans, and that’s what the kids are up to here at the end of Annie’s solo.  So let’s get into that scene, all of what I just wrote, so you can see what they’re up to here on Cape Ann.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Vicky jaunted to the three-by-three meter platform set atop the center of the Flight School’s room and ran along the railed walkway to the stairs leading to a larger viewing platform set at the north end of the building four meters above the roof. She heard Isis pop in behind her and saw her soar over her head so that she was waiting for her.

The sky was the same solid gray overcast from this morning, but unlike the area where Annie did most of her solo flight it wasn’t raining. Vicky knew the kids were still following Invisibility Flight Sanctions and couldn’t be seen from the ground, but she’d see them if she looked for their auras, which they were so far unable to hide. She scanned the area to the south and spotted them a few seconds later. “There they are.”

Isis saw them peeking in and our of their light bending effect as the approached the south grounds of the school. From better than a kilometer away she heard the faint echos of music. “Christ, he’s blasting that thing.”

“Yeah, no kidding.” Vicky rolled her eyes as they entered the school’s south grounds. “He’s gonna wake the neighbors with that shit.” “Waking the Neighbors” was a euphemism used by the staff and instructors to indicate an activity on school grounds that could become noticeable to the Normal population living outside the school wall.

Both women watched the couple streak across the sky while remaining close to the western wall. Isis shielded her eyes and picked out Annie in the lead with Kerry following close behind. “How high you think they are?”

“Probably seventy, eighty meters.” Vicky saw them pass Sunset Tower and the Instructor’s Residence as they continued northward. “They’re gonna buzz the whole school.”

“Yeah.” Isis began laughing. “Kinda looks that way.” The solo flight slowed as Annie and Kerry circled around Observatory Tower and headed southward. “Recognize the song?”

Where the Streets Have No Name. Kind of appropriate considering where they were this morning.” Vicky sighed as the two spots moving near the east wall turned and flew towards The Pentagram. “Mathilde in her office?”

“She usually is this time of morning. Have breakfast and catch up on morning news and emails before enjoying the weekend.”

“Yeah.” The children slows and dropped lowers, appearing to swerve inside Ceridwen Tower. Vicky shook her head, sighing. “Of course they gotta buzz The Pentagram.”

“Twice.” Isis watched them make a second circuit of The Pentagram before gaining altitude and heading their way. “Mathilde knew Annie was gonna have her last solo today so she shouldn’t be too pissed.”

“Right.” It was only as Annie and Kerry approached Selena’s Meadow that Vicky realized how loud they were: the music seemed to fill the whole of the open space as if there was attending a concert. They dropped to about three meters near the center of the meadow and slowed as they approached the school, coming to a soft landing about ten meters away from the hangar.

The moment Annie was on the ground she threw back the hood of her parka, pulled down her balaclava, and began dancing wildly to the music, bouncing and spinning around with a huge smile on her face. As soon as Kerry was off his broom her joined her, smiling as broadly as he raised his arms and began swaying back and forth.

Vicky and Isis said nothing as the song entered the outro and Kerry kissed Annie as the last lines were sung as the music faded out before they turned and looked upwards to the viewing platform, holding each other tight and still laughing and smiling as they waved.

“You know—” Isis moved a little closer to Vicky as they waved. “This year we’ve taken these two and put them through some incredibly demanding shit, and they push through and make it all work. And you know what we keep forgetting?”

Vicky glanced at Isis. “No, what?”

“That no matter how bad ass these witches are, they’re still kids.” She turned to face the flight instructor. “And from time to time, we gotta let them be kids.”

“That we do.” She nodded slowly. “That we do.”

 

There you have it:  they come flying into the school grounds at high speed, soaring over parts of the Normal world with magic-enhanced computer sound system (Thanks, Isis!), and they do a major flyby/fly over of the school grounds, including buzzing the Instructor’s Residences, the covens, and the Great Hall, just to let everyone know they are back, Jack, and they’ve done more this morning than all the other witches in this joint combined.

Let me tell you, I put more time into developing this scene than I did in writing the sucker.

It really started on my Friday walk into work, when I started getting the song Where the Streets Have No Name stuck in my head.  Mostly because I’d though about Annie flying about in the ocean with nothing to guide her but a heading.  Since I usually find time at work to think about these things–which is to say, most of the time, because my mind is always working–I started wondering about how this might play into the end of the solo flight–

When I got home that night, after dinner and a nap, I started putting it together.  First I had to find a YouTube song that Kerry would use.  He’s got a computer that’s Foundation Powered now, so getting a download or stream fifty klicks out to sea isn’t a problem.  I found the song after a few searches because I never give up on that shit.  Then I started listening and checking times:  I probably went through the song a half-dozen times before I saw the scene laid out in my mind.

But I had to check a few things.  Like knowing how far they’d need to fly before getting into the vocals a minute forty-five seconds after the start of the song while flying three hundred kilometers an hours–the answer is nine kilometers.

Then I needed to know the path they’d take on their flyby, and since I know the layout of the school upon the land that is Cape Ann, I mapped it out:

Only one buzzing of The Pentagram here, but know you know they did two.

Only one buzzing of The Pentagram here, but know you know they did two.

The mark in the lower right-hand corner is where they dropped to eight meters off the ocean surface as the music started.  Why?  ‘Cause they wanted to do something exciting.  You’ll discover in the next scene that on their leg into the school their comms were off for about ninety seconds, and that’s when all the plotting started.  They popped up over the northeast corner of Gloucester then headed over the school wall and up the west wall.  They slowed a little, and since it’s about five kilometers from the south end of the school to the north, there’s another minutes or so killed–

Because you know I know the time.

Because you know I know the time.

This means by the time they loop around Observatory Tower and head back south the song is about half over.  So they speed up, do a couple of quick loops around The Pentagram (Hi, Headmistress!) and finally make their way to the Flight School, where during the last minute of the song Annie decides to let her exuberance break free and starts dancing around, because she’s a thirteen year old girl and, as Isis points out, some times you gotta let bad ass witches be kids.

And after all that Kerry ends the flight by laying a big, tender kiss upon his little cabbage roll as someone croons out “I’ll go there with yooooouuuuu.” as the music fades.  They aren’t thinking about getting in trouble for their little stunt:  they’re home and Annie nailed that final solo flight, so absolutely no shits about the consequences are given.

Seriously, I spent like two and a half hours Friday night figuring this out, and probably went over this scene here and there yesterday to the point where I likely invested another three hours visualizing this to the point where I could totally make a movie out of this part if I knew how to make a movie.  I even had the chance while getting my nails done to explain the entire scene to my manicurist while she worked on my pedicure, because she loves hearing about my little witches, as she calls them.

And lastly, here’s the version of the song Kerry played, taken from the 1993 HBO broadcast of U2 in Sydney, Australia, during the Zoo TV Tour.  And remember, Annie:  wherever you go, Kerry will go there with you.

Ostara Conversations: Performance Art

Hola, and welcome to The Cold Burg, where the wind chill is keeping everything down below zero.

Not like that keeps me inside.

Not like that keeps me inside.

That’s outside the coffee shop I’m sitting inside right now, though that picture was taken right before eight AM.  The Pennsylvania capitol building is behind me, so you know I’m in Harrisburg–or I’m really good with picture editing.

Busy day yesterday with writing and video blogging, and this morning I have just over a thousand words out of the way to finish my latest scene, and I’ll do a couple more videos this afternoon once I’m back inside the warm confines of my apartment.  But for now it’s time to bring my kids back into the fold and show a little of what Annie did for her part in the Ostara Celebration.  It’s nice, you can bet.

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

There were two canvases before him: Kerry turned his attention to the one of the left first, partially out of habit, partially because it was the more colorful of the two. The painting depicted a girl in light blue pajamas floating in a field of gray mist surrounded by a variety of blues, reds, pinks, aquas, and yellows, hovering over three large crimson and violet spheres run through with tendrils of turquoise. The girl was herself surrounded by a small field of faint white, giving her the appearance of a corporeal ghost.

He didn’t need to think about the symbolism of this work. “That’s you dreamwalking, isn’t it?”

Annie grinned. “Did you noticed the title?”

He looked at the card on the stand, which was written in both the English and Cyrillic alphabets. “I don’t even want to try saying that. I’ll end up butchering the words.”

“It’s Na Povŭrkhnostta v Tsarstvoto na Sŭnishtata, which translates as Afloat in the Realm of Dreams.” She gave him a knowing look. “That’s me dreamwalking you.”
He continued examining the painting. “It’s beautiful.”

“I can’t wait to teach you—” She chuckled. “Though I need to become better before that can happen.”

“Just give it time.” He turned to the canvas on the right. “There’s no need to know what this one’s about—” The second painting showed him siting on his broom, outfitted in winter flying gear, kissing Annie, who hovered in mid-air just to his left. All around them was dark, though it was possible to make out the huge structure covering the entire space behind them. Unlike the last painting there was almost no color in this one: it was all blacks and grays, punctuated by the brightness of their faces, close together and locked in an deep, tender kiss.

If he had any doubt about the source of the painting, the title cast aside those doubts.  “Night Flight to Fenway. I like that.”

“I like what’s going on.” Nadine stepped up to join them, replying to Kerry’s comment before Annie could speak. “You two.” A broad grin formed while she shook her head. “There’s no place you’ll do a PDA, is there?”

Annie grinned back at Nadine. “No. Why would you think otherwise?”

“I don’t. I think it’s sweet as hell, actually.” Nadine glanced between the two. “I’ll bet you’d kiss in your dreams if you could.”

The couple exchanged glances before Annie laughed while Kerry blushed. “Yes, we would.”

 

We now know Nadine approves of those public displays of affection, and she actually calls it a PDA, which given that today in my world it’s Valentine’s Day, though I never get to partake any PDAs of my own.  Then again, Nadine’s a couple of years older, so the whole “Let’s lock lips” thing isn’t something to giggle over.  Like a few others at Salem, romance is serious business with her.

Quickly we discover that Nadine isn’t there just to admire the artwork . . .

 

Nadine knew better than to dig any deeper into Annie’s cryptic comment. “Next year you’re gonna have to paint something that doesn’t have you two in flying gear.” She turned to Kerry. “Ready for the big night?”

“About as ready as I’m going to be.” The right side of his face turned up in a smirk. “I just hope the rhythm drummer can keep up with the lead tonight. He got it right during our dress last week, but—” He shrugged. “He’s blown the bridge a couple of times.”

Nadine turned to Annie. “That’s what he gets for using two drummers.”

Kerry pretended to be indigent. “That’s how the song was played live. Two drummers, no waiting–except for when Phil had to come down and sing.”

“The dude’s gotten it right for a few weeks now.” Nadine crossed her arms. “I don’t think you have any worries there.”

He nodded. “I only have to worry about the vocals now.”

“That was your choice.”

“You’ll do fine with the singing.” Having sat in on their dress rehearsal she didn’t need to question either person on the specifics of their performances. “It won’t be any more difficult than when you played and sang last year.”

Nadine nodded. “Just a longer song.”

“It was either Burning Rope or Cinema Show—” He chuckled. “I went with Burning Rope ‘cause I figured I had less of a chance of screwing up a seven minute song than a ten minute song.”

Annie nearly rolled her eyes. “You won’t screw up.”

“Annie’s right; you got this.” Nadine lowered her voice just a bit. “Though if you’d played the ten minute song Professor Ellison would have let me add another song to my set.”

“I think it would have been tough finding something to go with Cornflake Girl and Run.” Kerry looked around to see if anyone close by was listening to them. “And if you had played a third, people would think Ellison was giving us preferential treatment.”

“Which he sorta is seeing how you’re using the Quadra for your performance.”

“I didn’t expect that.” He pursed his lip for a moment. “Not that anyone other than us three know how important that instrument is in my song.”

Nadine shrugged. “Screw everyone else. I’m glad you’ll use it tonight.” She glance to Annie before turned back to Kerry. “I’m going to check my setup.”

“I’ll be along in about five minutes.”

She nodded to them both. “See you back stage.”

 

So there you have it:  by Nadine showing up and talking a little musical shop, you learn what they’re playing during the Ostara Performance.  Even though their songs are wildly different, they’re using two instruments are similar, so it kinda makes sense they’d work together up to a point.

Nadine’s playing Cornflake Girl by Tori Amos as her first song.  Tori normally uses a Bösendorfer baby grand piano, which was the piano of choice of Franz Liszt as well of that for Queen, Peter Gabriel, and Roy Bittan.  This is why the Yamaha P-255 is being employed, because Nadine wants a hard-core sound without requiring a baby grand on stage.  Which she could totally do if she wanted–

Her second song is Run by Collective Soul.  This song has more of a subdued feeling, and while the piano isn’t as prominent in this song, she’s employing the Mellotron M4000D for the string parts.  It’s an interesting choice for her, as some people have referred to this as an indie song to which one can slow dance.  And who knows:  maybe a few kids will jump into the aisles and do just that during her performance.

No one is dancing to Kerry’s tune, however.  As he indicated, he’s playing Burning Rope by Genesis, which is a seven minute song that was the longest tune on the album …And Then There Were Three…  When this song was played live during the 1977-78 Mirrors Tour four different keyboard instruments were employed, and that’s what Kerry is doing with his performance.  And being a pedantic little prog rock geek, he’s also asked for, and gotten, two drummers to play in his accompanying band.  The reason for this is simple:  back in the “old days” while Phil Collins would do all the drumming on the albums, they used another drummer for concert tours–in the case of the Mirrors Tour and all later tours, it was Chester Thompson.  However, Phil not only sang in concert but also drummed on a number of songs, and whenever there was a long instrumental section he’s run back to the drum kit behind his section of the stage and join in the drumming.

This is why Kerry has two drummers:  because that’s the way it was played.  His lead drummer, however, isn’t coming down off her kit to sing:  Kerry’s doing the vocals as well.

(I should point out that the “house band” being used by Nadine and Kerry–and the other students who require musical accompaniment–are all former students with extensive musical backgrounds.  This will get a mention in the next scene.  Are any of them famous?  I’ll never tell . . .)

The video below is Burning Rope as recorded 13 October, 1978, at Chicago’s late, great Uptown Theater, and this is pretty much how it’ll sound when Kerry plays.  This is taken off a broadcast from my favorite radio station back home, WXRT, which means this is mixed right off the band’s soundboard.  The image in the video also shows Tony’s set up for the tour.  The keyboards he’s “facing” are a Hammond T-102 organ with the ARP Quadra digital synthesizer sitting on top.  The Quadra that Kerry is playing–and which is constantly mentioned in the scene–is the same one heard in this recording; it’s making that “Wha-wa-wa-WAAAAAA-wa” sound in the song intro.  Kerry isn’t using an organ, but is employing the Akai MPK61 Midi Keyboard Controller to replicate an organ sound.

In the image the keyboards on the right of Tony are a Moog Polymoog 203a sitting atop a Yamaha CP-70 electric grand piano, which was the standard for portable concert pianos back then.  The Yamaha P-255 is used in place of the CP-70, and the Mellotron M4000D is used in place of the Polymoog 203a to produce the string sounds as well as an additional synth sound at the start of  the mid-song bridge.

Have I put too much thought into this?  No more than Kerry would.  Hummm . . . it’s almost like we’re the same person.

There you have it.  All you ever wanted to know about songs you’re never going to hear.  But what about the paintings?  Let’s get back to that . . .

 

Kerry turned back to Annie’s paintings. “Sorry about that.”

“Not your fault.” Annie took his hand. “It’s your time to shine as well.”

“My time comes later.” He pointed at the paintings. “This is your time, and we shouldn’t talk shop now.”

She loved that he was so apologetic. “You love my paintings?”

“They’re wonderful. Though I’m surprised you got the Fenway one out so quickly—”

“I started sketching it that night. Only took me two weeks to paint.”

“You’d could never tell. I love the difference between light—” He indicated the painting on the left. “—and dark.”

“Just wait until you see the dream realms with your own eyes.”

“Can’t wait.” He moved closer to the painting of them kissing. “I’ll never forget this moment.”

“Nor will I.” She held him close. “First time to show us kissing.”

“Like no one’s seen that.” He squeezed Annie’s hand. “Though we do need a painting that doesn’t have us in flight gear.”

“Well . . .” She leaned in so she could whisper in his ear. “There was another dream scene I could have painted.” Annie giggled softly. “Then I’d have only needed to explain why we were under a comforter.”

 

Could you imagine Annie painting the scene of them in the hotel in their dreams?  “Oh, this is a little something that happened to Kerry and I over the summer before we returned to school.  The comforter?  It’s there because we were naked under that–”  Eyes bugging, blood squirting from noses–it would make for a hell of an Ostara presentation, that’s for sure.

The question arises, too:  which painting does Kerry get?  He got the Bulgarian back yard scene from last year, so will Annie give him the kissing picture this year since she already has one of them together?  Or is going to give him the dreamscape painting?  Do you think I’ll answer that question in the next scene, which is the last of Chapter Twenty-six?

Hummm . . . Yeah, I probably will at that.  After all, Kerry wants to know as well, so someone’s gotta tell him.

Revelations Into Genesis

Blame this all on Skye Hegyes, who while conversing with me the other day said, “I need a Genesis play list.”  Well, Sweetie, you come to the right place!  (See, you got a Sweetie; usually only Annie gets a Sweetie.)  This gives me an excuse to post about something besides writing, and to show off my obscure knowledge of worthless crap that usually only I care about.  I’m kinda the Queen of Useless Crap, and today you get to see it in full-blown mania.

Back in the day when I was a young lad–and, yes, I did look like a lad–I used to listen to this band, and many others, on the FM stations broadcasting out of Chicago.  This was back in the days when you’d get ten minutes songs, entire albums being played at night, and ever so often, a DJ getting drunk or loaded and needing to be hauled off the air before the FCC came down on their asses.  It was really kind of a glorious time for music, because you could hear everything, from metal to folk to progressive to soft pop all in the course of an hour.  No rules, just music.  My thing was progressive, keyboard laden music, because I’m strange, okay?  That’s why my record collection tended to have a lot of Elton John, Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Genesis in them, and when one of those would come on the radio I tended to stop what I was doing–which was mostly reading–and listen intently, because this was one of the few escapes I had in live, and I made the most of that escape.

I have stated before that I have a Genesis connection in my novels.  Three characters were named after members of the band:  Mr. Mayhew, the rep who came for Kerry, was named after John Mayhew, the drummer on the Tresspass album, and not to be confused with the dude who plays Chewbacca.  Ms. Bernice Rutherford, Kerry’s case worker, is named after Mike Rutherford, the bass and guitar player, and Mr. Gabriel was named after Peter Gabriel, the first lead singer.  In the third novel, the C Level novel–yes, there should be one baring death–you’ll met someone named Collins, and they will not be regarded as a nice person.

There isn’t a Mr. or Ms. Banks person in my novels, however, because it’s also stated the Tony Banks, the keyboard player, has actually given lectures at the school.  Hummm . . . so if he knows about the school, does that mean . . .?  Nah, couldn’t be.  But we’ll get to him and how he sort of sets something in motion in a moment . . .

All of the videos included are live shows.  I mean, anyone can put on an album and kick back, but with a live show you get to hear not only how the songs sound before the studio engineer gets their mitts on the recording, but in some cases, how it the technology of the time kept a band from sounding the way the did on a record.

One of the terms you’ll read is “soundboard”.  If you’ve ever been to a concert, it’s usually found in the middle of the floor of a show, maybe half-way or two-thirds of the way back from the stage.  This is where the input from the different instruments is gathered and mixed so you can hear a show that doesn’t sound like a hot mess–or maybe it does for various reasons.  This is the best location to get a recording of a live show, and most bands do just that.  David Bowie is supposed to have records of ever live show he’s ever performed, which would be taken off a tape unit getting the final mix from the soundboard.  There is only one of the following recordings that is not from the soundboard, and I’ll identify that concert in the notes.

So . . . the music, and the novel.  How do they relate?

First off, Kerry, who is a geeky music fan due to one of the only influences his father handed down, was told by Mr. Mayhew that Tony Banks has taught at the school–you know, it’s almost as if someone knew what sort of music he liked and threw out that hook, yeah?  He gets to Salem and at the end of the first week Annie and he visit the Keyboard Room and meet with Professor Ellison.  And while there, this exchange happens:

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

She didn’t expect what the professor did next. He looked Kerry up and down while he tapped his left index finger against the top of the organ. “Tell me—” He pointed at an instrument about three meters away. “Do you know what that is?”

Kerry answered right away. “Mellotron Mark IV.”

“And the one to the left?”

“That’s a Mellotron Mark II.”

“And you know that because . . ?”

Kerry took a few steps back from Professor Ellison. “The Mark IV has had that same sort of case for most of the time it’s been produced. The Mark II . . .” He glanced over his shoulder, then back. “Two manuals, side-by-side.”

“Correct.” Professor Ellison move slowly towards the instruments. “This Mark II is a bit famous: it originally belonged to the band King Crimson—” He powered up the machine. As soon it was ready, he began playing.

Kerry’s face broke into an enormous smile as the professor held the first chords, then progressed to the second set. “No. You’re kidding.”

Professor Ellison played another ten seconds before stopping. “Oh, yeah. It’s, uh, a gift to the school.”

Though the two males in the room knew this music, Annie certainly didn’t. “What was that you played?”

Kerry answered, and he couldn’t hide his excitement. “The opening to Watcher of the Skies: it was the first song on Foxtrot.” He pointed at the machine. “This is the machine it was recorded on.” He turned back to Professor Ellison. “Right?”

“You are.” He patted the machine. “Tony says he has a mellotron in storage, but he’d rather not dig it out because the new tech is better . . .” He chuckled. “Or he doesn’t want to fly across the ocean to get this.” He pointed to another keyboard on the other side of the room. “Do you know that one?”

 

The intro to Watcher of the Skies is so famous that sound is replicated on modern mellotrons and Memotrons as “The Watcher of the Skies Package”, because it’s that damn bad.  And what did Annie and Kerry hear Professor Ellison play?

Why, it’s right below

The first show was recorded for an audience at Shepperton Studios at the beginning of the Selling England by the Pound tour.  This was the “classic” lineup that was together for four albums:  Steve Hackett on guitar, Mike Rutherford on bass and Taurus bass peddles, Phil Collins on drums, Tony Banks on keyboards, and Peter Gabriel on vocals.  This really gives people an idea of what sort of theatrics the band was into at the time, and they were . . . a lot.  Gabriel was uncomfortable in front of crowds–yes, I know, strange, right?–and that was on of the reasons he loved the costumes, because it insulated him from the people who paid to see him sing.  He doesn’t banter with the crowd:  he tells stories as introductions to the songs and then gets to singing.  The stage is stripped down and pretty bare, and there aren’t a hell of a lot things going on that we sort of take for granted in shows these days.

Of particular interest is Hackett, who is sitting on the left side of the stage from our point of view.  And I do mean “sit”:  he sat on a stool right up through the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour, would play his guitar, and often drink beer–lots of beer.  There are many stories about how he’d set his finished cans on top of the speakers around him, and during some shows would knock them off by accident and send them scattering across the stage.   1970s, I know.

The opening of the next two shows is the intro my kids heard, played then as it was in my novel on the infamous “Black Bitch”, a Mellotron Mark II that was prone to acting up and breaking down when it was least expected.  But if you’re a keyboard geek like me, you love these cords . . .

Selling England by the Pound Tour, Shepperton Studios, UK, 30/31 October, 1973:

As the above show was one of the first done on the tour, this one below was the second to the last.  This is a famous performance jokingly called the Selling Equipment by the Pound show, because at some point after the show concluded people broke into the Academy of Music, stole all the guitars, and held them for ransom.  The 5 May show, which was to have been the last, was canceled and moved to 6 May before the band managed to get their equipment back after a bit of negotiation, and the likely exchange of money and/or a few . . . “substances”.  Taylor Swift never had to put up with this shit, let me tell you.

This show is also famous as it’s the last time Peter Gabriel sang Supper’s Ready live.  This is the twenty-three minute song–yes, you heard me right–that closes out the album Foxtrot, and it’s considered the band’s magnum opus and a concert favorite.  The title is also the code that Erywin used to let the kids know things were going sideways during their trip to Kansas City, so there.  It’s also one of the last times Tony Banks played the piano intro–right around the 42:45 mark–to Firth of Fifth live, because he hated playing it on a shitty little electric piano, and after completely blowing the intro a few times in other shows, he stated he’s never try it live again.

Oh, and the ticket prices for this show:  $3 USD.  That included a twenty-five cent service charge.  I actually paid that amount for a few shows at the old Hammond Civic Center.  You could even buy a tee shirt afterwards for five bucks . . .

This is the only one of the videos that came from a fan recording, which means someone was sitting in the audience with a tape recorder getting this all down, and this is what we heard when we spoke of “bootleg tapes” of shows.  The guy who recorded this must have had a hell of a tape deck, because this is almost of soundboard quality.  This is really how one would have heard the show back then, complete with audience approval.

Selling England by the Pound Tour, Academy of Music, New York, 4 May, 1974:

Onward to what was probably, at the time, one of the most well known and nearly mythical tours ever:  the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour, done in support of the eponymous album.  The show was basically the whole album replayed, with lots of costume changes, images flashed on screens, and story telling.  It was, however, 1975, and a lot of these things were near disasters:  the videos never seemed to sync up with the music correctly because it was all controlled manually–’cause technology was limited, yo–and a few of the customs were a complete pain in the ass to wear.  The worst was the infamous “Slipperman” outfit, which was . . .

This goddamn thing.

This goddamn thing.

That’s an actual picture from one of the shows, and someone was high as hell when they decided this was a good idea.  Gabriel had about two minutes to get into that outfit, and half the time he’d be out of breath once he was back out on stage, and the other half of the time he couldn’t get the mic close to his mouth.  Either of these meant that while he was in garb you couldn’t hear most of whatever he was trying to sing.  70s, people:  it was a different time.  Now you know why a lot of shows with a lot of costume changes just play a backing vocal of the singer while they dance across the stage.

While trying A For Advanced I spent a lot of time listening to this show while typing away at Panera.  This is also a famous recording as it’s the only professional recording of the tour, done for the King Biscuit Power Hour radio program, and broadcast a month or two after this performance.  I’ve found only one other soundboard recording from the Lamb tour, but this one is one of the best.  And, no:  Peter isn’t out of breath while singing The Colony of Slippermen.

Lamb Lies Down on Broadway Tour, Shrine Auditorium, L.A., 24 January, 1975:

We move on.  Peter Gabriel has left the building, and it was decided Phil Collins would get out from behind the drums and sing, something that made him pretty nervous at the time.  From this point on the band hired another drummer to place the album parts, and for the Trick of the Tail Tour Bill Buford was personally chosen by Phil because they’ll played together in the band Brand X.  This follow is a great soundboard recording, mostly because the band was recording show that would eventually end up on the Second’s Out album, and Phil even makes reference to that near the end of the show.  At this point there were actually two drum kits on stage, as Phil would run back and play drums when a song fell into a prolonged instrumental segment–as it did on a few of these songs, notably Cinema Show, which has a four minute keyboard solo.

Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett introduce some of the songs because Phil wasn’t comfortable speaking to the audience.  Because he was a drummer, and most of the time they’re nice and cozy sitting behind their drums.  He got better, don’t worry.

Trick of the Tail Tour, Hammersmith Odeon, London, 10 June, 1976:

The Wind and Wuthering Tour was the first to see Chester Thompson on drums, and the last to see Steve Hackett perform with the band.  Steve decides to leave during the recording of the album, and he agreed to go out on tour to help promote the album.  This is one of  their best shows, and it’s a lot of fun to hear Phil address the crowd in Portuguese.  This was also the start of them starting to get big, though the huge stadium tours were still ten years away.  Personally this is one of my favorite tours, and the one I almost saw when they came through Chicago in late 1977.  I say almost because plans fell through at the last minute, and I was unable to procure tickets when they played the International Amphitheater.  This show has them performing Inside and Out, which they did only in Europe and South America, and was replaced by Your Own Special Way once they came to North America.  Inside and Out was found on a twelve inch record Spot the Pigeon, which had three songs that never made it onto other albums.

Wind and Wuthering Tour, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 21 May, 1977:

And then there were three–hence the name of the next album and sorta tour name.  Because there were only three band members now, they hired Daryl Strumer to play guitar and bass while on tour, and continued to use Chester on drums.  These two guys would remain part of the touring group for pretty much the remainder of the band’s existence.

I say this was “sorta tour name”, because fans referred to this tour as the Mirrors Tour due to the placement of six mirrors over the stage–

Like this.

Like this.

Which were used to direct light on to the stage, and could give the audience different views of the stage–

Like this.

Like this.

This tour saw The Eleventh Earl of Mar and Cinema Show being performed in their entirety for the last time, and it was also the last tour where Tony used a mellotron:  after this he started going with digital samples in place of the mellotron’s tape samples, and the probably shipped the keyboard off to a special school in Massachusetts.  The Dijon show is not only a great recording, but hearing Phil tell the Story of Romeo and Juliet–the intro to the song Cinema Show–in French is hilarious.

Should also point out that the intro to the song Burning Rope is the same that Kerry plays in the Keyboard Room with Professor Ellison.  He’s even playing it on the same synthesizer being used in this tour.

… And Then There Were Three/Mirrors Tour, Dijon, France, 3 June, 1978:

I’m including the Chicago show of the same tour for two reasons.  One, this is taken from the live radio broadcast, done by WXRT–the station I used to listen to when I lived near Chicago–at the old Uptown Theater, and two, this was the last time they performed Dancing With the Moonlit Knight in it’s entirety.  This was the song that opened the album Selling England by the Pound, and the band performed the song as a favor to the radio station, who asked nicely if they would pretty please do it for their Chicago fans.  You can also hear how we sometimes heard shows that we couldn’t make, and keep in mind this broadcast was free and not some Xfinity “Bringing you the concert for only $100!” shit.

… And Then There Were Three/Mirrors Tour, Chicago, 13 October, 1978:

And now back into the novel for a bit.  During their walking tour of London–before Young Kerry knew he was a witch and remembered that the girl he sat with at lunch in Russel Square was his soul mate–the kids visited a number of locations, but there was only one that Kerry wanted to see . . .

 

They ate in silence for maybe three minutes before Annie asked Kerry about the one thing that had been on her mind since taking their cab ride to the site he wanted to visit. “Why did you want to see that theater?”

He tapped a finger on the table as he swallowed. “The Lyceum?”

“Yes.”

“’Cause I wanted to.”

“Yes, but why?” She shook her head. “No one does anything for no reason whatsoever, Kerry. Why did you want to visit there?”

He started drumming the fingers of his left hand lightly against the table. “One of the groups I listen to, they did a few shows there back in 1980—almost exactly twenty years before I was born. It’s like . . .” He shrugged, keeping his eyes on his food like someone was going to steal his sandwich. “I feel like I’m connected to it, you know? There’s also, like—” He frowned before turning his gaze back towards the street once more. “I figured I better do it now while I can.”

 

What he was talking about this show:  the Lyceum show recorded near the end of the English side of the Duke Tour.  The BBC program The Old Grey Whistle Test recorded footage of the band on the nights of 6 and 7 May, and broadcast about an hour of that.  This meant getting soundboard recordings of both shows, and besides the BBC filming, there were a few amateurs filming as well.  Eventually someone put that footage together with the sound, and a DVD of the shows was released.

The video isn’t great, mostly because this was filmed thirty-five years ago.  But what you get from this show is the back and forth between the band and the audience, which was tremendous.  As you can see, there are times when Phil’s about to lose his shit because the crowd is just yelling crap at the stage.  Oh, yeah, and that’s his real hair, and seeing him with a beard can be a bit of a shock.

However, his banter with the audience is good, and we not only get to meet Roland the Bisexual Drum Machine–no, really–you get an earful of The Story of Albert, which is the lead-in to The Duke Suite, which was supposed to show up on the Duke album as performed here, but the band decided too many people would think they were trying to make another Supper’s Ready and scrapped the idea.  The suite consists of six songs:  Behind the Lines, Duchess, Guide Vocals, Turn it On Again, Duke’s Travels, and Duke’s End.  Most everyone knows Turn it On Again, which was the main single from the album.  The first three songs in the suite opened the album, and the last two closed it out.  One of the other reasons it wasn’t included on the album as they play live–as you’ll hear–is Turn it On Again is performed in a different time signature than the other songs, necessitating the stops before and after.

Duke Tour, Lyceum Theater, London, 6 May, 1980:

Abacab, and the album that lost a lot of fans because they’d “sold out” and gone “commercial”–and let’s face it, if you’re an artist and you wanna eat, it’s what you do.  The following show came days after the infamous Leiden, The Netherlands, show, where fans booed the band, and Phil got pissed off enough to yell into the mic, “I’m gonna kick the shit out of the lot of ya.”  This is a great show, though, and it’s the only time Mike Rutherford played drums, which happened during the song Who Dunnit?

Abacab Tour, Festhalle, Frankfurt, Germany, 30 October, 1981:

What about the Mama Tour?  There aren’t any good records of the full concert, soundboard, bootleg, or otherwise.  The person who usually gets the best concert recordings is waiting on a soundboard recording for one show, but that hasn’t arrived yet.

Correction:  it finally came in.  This is an FM broadcast from Phillidelpha taken when they played there in late November, 1983:

We have this as well, and it’s one of my favorites mixes for putting just under twenty minutes behind me.  It’s the In the Cage Melody, and whenever I need a quick writing dash I put this on.  The video also shows the Vari-Lite system, which was used for the first time on this tour, and is pretty much a standard these days.  It’s a computerized light system that controls the color and, for the first time, movement of lights, and before this tour you need to have a special system built for you–like Queen often did–if you wanted fancy moving lights.  The band actually put up a few million of their own cash to build the system, which meant that they made money off other bands who wanted to use the same system.  Now you know one of the reasons why Phil Collins has been able to pay out one hundred million dollars through three divorce settlements and still live comfortably.

Oh, and when look at the display on the video below?  The keyboard Tony is playing with his right hand is the same ARP Quadra that Kerry plays Burning Rope on in the Keyboard Room.  Thanks, Tony!

In the Cage Melody, Mama Tour,  National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England, February, 1983:

And down to the last of their final shows where they were pretty much riding the crest of stardom.  First the Invisible Touch tour, which was probably their biggest:

Invisible Touch Tour, Madison Square Garden, New York City, 30 September, 1986:

And The Way We Walk Tour, done in support of their We Can’t Dance album:

The Way We Walk Tour, Earl’s Court, London, 8 November, 1992:

These two shows have their most “radio friendly” tunes, which are the songs they’re probably most known for unless you’re an old bitch like me, or a crazy kid like Kerry.  These last two shows were notable because several of the songs needed to be performed at a lower key to prevent Phil from straining his voice on high notes, and that came in handy during their last tour in 2007, because his voice had deepened with age and hitting high notes was right out of the question.

So there you are, Skye:  a huge playlist for you to hear, and four thousand words of history for everyone else to blow off.

I believe my work here is done.

The Sadness, the Songs, and Everything

The first chapter of the new novel, Chapter One, is a done deal.  Almost seventy-eight hundred words in five days–

I have proof right here.

I have proof right here.

Which isn’t a bad start to things.  It’s not a NaNo Start, but close enough.  I only do NaNo Starts during NaNoWriMo, though getting through ten thousand worlds in the first few days isn’t that big of a deal for me–I’ve done it a couple of times before.  Not this time.

So . . . Annie’s crying.  Well, one tear’s worth of crying, but still, it’s a start.  She doesn’t do more, but in the course of events we learn that, yeah, this isn’t the first time.  What was?

 

 (All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

“Do you know what was the hardest part of the day we returned from Salem? Going to dinner with my parents.” Annie’s eyes didn’t leave Kerry’s, and they seemed to reflect her emotions. “I sat there and was pleasant and answered questions and tried to keep a smile on my face through most of the evening, but the entire time we were together all that mattered was seeing your face as I left you in Amsterdam. I felt the pain of out separation with every step I took.”

“So did I.” Kerry pulled Annie in and held her close. “Ms. Rutherford had to clean me up before she could take me home.”

Annie brushed his cheek with her fingertips. “I’m so sorry that happened.”

“It’s not your fault, Sweetie.”

“No, but I don’t like to see you in pain.” She rested her head against him for a moment. “When we returned home that night, my mother wanted me to sleep in my room in the main hour, and I tried, but after an hour I gave up and went out to the lake house and started a fire—”

“Did you use cherry wood?” The scent of cherry wood burning in the lake house fire place as he experienced it in the vision of their wedding night remained strong within his memory.

“Yes, I did—” Her mood began to lighten a little. “I sat on the sofa and stared into the fire and thought of you at home looking up at the moon and imagining me looking back at you. I got up and went to the deck and sat and did the same; it wasn’t until I started to write that first letter to you that I realized my cheeks were wet.” Annie kissed him slowly, at first brushing his lips with hers before showing her full affection. “You’re the only one who’s ever done that to me. My parents haven’t made me cry since I was about five, but you—” She touched his chin, then ran her fingers across his chest. “I’m away from you for a few hours, and I’m crying.”

She signed and leaned into him. “Don’t tell anyone, particularly Helena. I don’t want them to know.”

“Your secret’s safe with me—” He touched his head to hers. “Forever.”

“I know.” She wrapped her arm around Kerry’s back. “I love you.”

He reached for her hand, found it, and gave it a squeeze. “I love you.” He kissed her cheek. “You know how much I’ve wanted to say that to you since we left America?”

Though she suspected the answer, she couldn’t ask because they suddenly found they were no longer alone. “There you are.”

 

Helena and Erywin:  Romance Buzzkills Since 2011.  That’s one of the problems with people being able to teleport in and out:  they just show up and there they are.  Just as long as the don’t know it at the lake house during “The Moment”, if you know what I mean.

We hear about cherry wood again, and that aroma seems to haunt Kerry a little, probably because he wants to smell it first hand.  And now we know that seeing how you’ll be away from your soul mate for months will bring a tear to the eyes of a girl who hasn’t given her parents the satisfaction of seeing her cry in seven years.  That Annie, she’s a tough one.

Still, there are still things ahead, and stuff to do . . .

 

Annie’s arm remained around Kerry as she turned to face the owner of that voice. “Hello, Helena.” She nodded to the women standing next to her. “Hello, Erywin.”

“Hello, Annie.” Erywin hung her right hand on her purse strap. “You been taking care of Kerry?”

She turned to him and smiled. “I’ve given him more attention in the last four hours than I’m certain he’s had in the last four weeks.”

Helena nodded. “I’m sure he’s not gone without” She pulled out her phone and checked the display. “I told your mother I’d have you back for dinner, and it’s almost eighteen.” She dropped the mobile in a jacket pocket. “We need to leave.”

“I know.” Annie began to step away from Kerry, then turned and hugged him passionately. “I wish I didn’t have to go.”

“I wish I could stay with you the rest of the summer.” Kerry didn’t want to release her: he wanted to go home with her, see her parents, visit her lake house, sit before the fire and gaze up at the loft where their vision said they would one day consummate their love . . . “It isn’t fair.”

“No, it isn’t.” She gazed into his eyes. “But I must.” Annie touched his lips. “Promise me you won’t cry.”

He nodded slowly. “I’ll have a smile on my face when you leave.”

“You better.” She walked slowly towards Helena, turning around two-thirds of the way there to address her soul mate as she walked backwards. “Seven weeks, yes?”

“Seven weeks.” He pulled one strap of his backpack—which he’d been carrying since leaving the bench—over his right shoulder. “Pogrizhete se, prekrasnata mi srodna dusha.”

Annie laughed as she took her place at Helena’s right side. “You’ve been working on your Bulgarian.”

Kerry shrugged. “What else am I gonna do this summer?” He forced a smile. “See? Smiling. Just like I promised.”

“Just as you promised.” She reached for Helena’s hand, but stopped short. She kissed the right index and middle finger of her right hand, then held them out in Kerry’s direction. “Obicham te, Kerry.”

He did the same with his left hand and fingers. “I love you, Annie.”

She smiled and managed a small wave before they jaunted out.

 

Those kids, laying the lips on each other right in front of the adults.  Should be mentioned that they’re adults who’ve gotten them rooms at hotels/inns, but still . . . the kissing parts.  You have to read them.  And there has been a lot of kissing on this lunch date.

And kissing leads to–singing?  Yep, because I said I was going to work a certain song into this scene, and damned if I didn’t.  Behold!

 

A second after Annie departed Kerry’s smile vanished. He closed his eyes and started sobbing, fighting to stay on his feet. He felt as if he were back in Amsterdam, watching Annie follow her mother out of the airport. The afternoon was perfect—even the weather was unable to dampen their enthusiasm and love.

He felt a light touch on his shoulder, and Erywin was next to him, singing.

I turned around she was gone
All I had left was one little flower in my hand

But I knew
She had made me happy

Flowers in her hair
Flowers everywhere

Even with tears streaming down his cheeks, he couldn’t prevent himself from smiling. He’d heard her once before, when she was under a spell that compelled her to sing, and while others in Sorcery class had laughed and joked, Kerry could only imagine her on stage during the Ostara Performance, back when she was a student, singing to the school the way she was singing to him—

I love the flower girl
Was she reality or just a dream to me?

I love the flower girl
Her love showed me the way to find a sunny day

 

And in case you were wondering:

Always have your notes for different languages and song lyrics at hand and ready.

Always have your notes for different languages and song lyrics at hand and ready.

That’s always how I do things, by keeping my notes close at hand for just the scene.  One day I’ll need to move all my Bulgarian comments to a separate text file so I’ll have them for reference.  Not to mention a few songs I’ve used here and there, though in the last novel I only did one song, and Kerry referred to it in the scene above.  I’ve had my kids go to the Russell Square Pert a Manger in both novels, and Erywin has sung in both novels?  What else can I set up as happening every year?

But it helps to have things around, and that’s one of the reasons I like that little strip over on the right of Scrivener:  it gives me places to keep things.  Such as that word count.  I wrote in two different locations and I kept track of what my count was at each station.  I also finished up this last section during the first thirty minutes of The Americans, mostly during ads and when no one was speaking Russian, because when that happens you gotta check the subtitles.

How’d you like that song, Red?

 

Kerry sniffed a couple of times between the chuckles. “What’s that? I’ve never heard that song.”

“It’s something my mother used to sing.” Erywin slipped her hands into her jacket and hugged here purse close to her body. “It was one of her favorite songs. Whenever she was feeling down she’d sing, and that was part of her repertoire.”

“Nice.” He wiped his face clean with his hand. “You have a lovely singing voice, by the way.”

“Thank you.”

“Did you ever do Ostara?”

There was a slight pause before she answered. “Yes.”

 

Why the pause, Erywin?  I’m sure there’s a story there–well, I know there is, because I’m also Erywin.  And a song Kerry didn’t know?  Yep.  Because his mom was an egg when that one was popular, and more than likely didn’t listen to it as a kid.

Now that he’s crying, Kerry wants to know–

 

He decided not to pursue any more questions there: he sensed it was something Erywin didn’t want to discuss. “Does it ever get better?”

Erywin shifted her weight from one leg to the other. “What?”

“The pain.”

She shook her head. “No. You get better at managing it, but the actual pain never gets better.” Erywin looked off into the distance, concentrating on something. “If it’s any consolation, the pain doesn’t get worse. Usually.”

“Yeah.” He slipped the other strap of his backpack over his shoulder and adjusted it into place. “I’ll learn.”

“You will.” Erywin moved so she was standing in front of Kerry. “Do you like ice cream?”

He laughed. “I’m twelve; of course I like ice cream.”

“There’s a little shop in Brighton that has the most incredible confections.” She cocked her head to one side. “Care to give one a try?”

“And ruin my appetite for the wonderful take away we’ll probably have tonight?” Kerry wondered what sort of meal Annie was going to sit down to later in the evening . . .

“In that case, we can share a parfait.” Erywin gave Kerry’s arm a squeeze. “How’s that sound?”

“Sounds good.”

“I’m glad.” She punched the location into her phone app before holding out her hand. “Let’s go.”

He stared at her hand. “Don’t we have to wait for Helena?”

“No. We discussed this before coming here, and she’ll meet us there.”

“Oh.”

“We considered taking you both, but then thought—” She lowered her hand. “You would probably rather have the time alone.”

“Thanks.” He sighed loudly as he looked around the still-empty park. “This was the best four-and-a-half hours of the summer.”

She reached for him once more. “Don’t worry: we’ll take you both next time.”

Kerry took the outstretched hand. “Will there be a next time?”

Erywin winked. “You know it.”

 

Ice Cream!  Everyone likes ice cream, especially twelve-year-old boys.  I love that line, actually:  was quite proud to think it up, and it seems the sort of smart ass thing Kerry would say to someone with whom he’s comfortable as a friend.

Where they matching making?  Don’t need to do that with kids who’ve seen their wedding night.  More like a couple of friends knew it was the mid-point of the summer, and it might be a good idea to let these two have some time together.  But there is the promise of another outing, and while I might not happen this novel, it’s something that will happen with some regularity.

One chapter down, many to go.

It’s a good start.

Songs of The Foundation

I mentioned just yesterday that I’ve a bit of music in my novel A For Advanced–well, not actual music, but you know what I mean:  it shows up here and there in the form of various songs that play here and there.  That’s because I like music, certain kinds I should say, and the love of music has rubbed off on my characters.  When Kerry says he gets his love of music from his father, he may as well say he’s getting it from me.

The first time there’s any music of note comes in The Keyboard Room scene, where Annie and Kerry visit Professor Ellison to check out all the musical device and discover the school has a ton of famous equipment that they’ve had “donated” to them over the years.  They saw the old organs that were first used at the school, then they got into the more-or-less modern equipment.  Which leads to this:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

She didn’t expect what the professor did next. He looked Kerry up and down while he tapped his left index finger against the top of the organ. “Tell me—” He pointed at an instrument about three meters away. “Do you know what that is?”

Kerry answered right away. “Mellotron Mark IV.”

“And the one to the left?”

“That’s a Mellotron Mark II.”

“And you know that because . . ?”

Kerry took a few steps back from Professor Ellison. “The Mark IV has had that same sort of case for most of the time it’s been produced. The Mark II . . .” He look over his shoulder, then back. “Two manuals, side-by-side.”

“Correct.” Professor Ellison move slowly towards the instruments. “This Mark II is a bit famous: it originally belonged to the band King Crimson—” He powered up the machine. As soon it was ready, he began playing.

Kerry’s face broke into an enormous smile as the professor held the first chords, then progressed to the second set. “No. You’re kidding.”

Professor Ellison played another ten seconds before stopping. “Oh, yeah. It’s, uh, a gift to the school.”

Though the two males in the room knew this music, Annie certainly didn’t. “What was that you played?”

 

What the professor played was Watcher of the Skies, more precisely the intro:

The intro, which is played on the lowers cords of the Mark II, is so iconic that the Memotron system–which is a modern version of the Mellotron–as well as the modern Mellotrons, offer a “Watcher of the Skies sound package” so you can rock the same sound.

I should point out a bit of history:  the Mellotron they’re playing is known as “The Black Bitch” because it was notoriously prone to breaking down, and apparently Tony Banks of Genesis was ready to set it on fire more than a few times–something that Rick Wakeman of Yes actually did to one of his.  1974 tech was not that best in the world.

After that Ellison plays another short piece:

That’s part of the keyboard bridge to Firth of Fifth, from Selling England by the Pound.  Of course Kerry knows this right away–is it because I do?  It helps that it’s one of my favorite songs.

And when Ellison talks Kerry into showing what he knows, they get into this song, Burning Rope:

They play about a minute of the intro, but I’ll give you a sneak peak of the next novel:  this is Kerry’s performance piece for the 2013 Ostara Show.  He won’t sing, but he’ll play the keyboard parts with a band that can be considered a “house band” of former students that comes in for these shows.  Kerry even managed to get them to use two drummers . . .

The next day, when Annie is at Memory’s End speaking with Deanna, Kerry and Vicky are off flying so the latter can get a feel for what she thinks some of her “promising kids” can handle.  As the tool around Selena’s Meadow, this goes down:

 

She snapped left when they reached the west side of the meadow and made for the Flight School. As she pulled even with the building Vicky didn’t slow, but rather headed into a long, slow left turn that skirted the south tree line. “Yo, Starbuck—”

“Yo, Nightwitch.”

“I’m gonna put on some tunes, but not so loud you can’t hear me. I’m coming around; watch and follow.”

Kerry saw the professor slow, then snap her broom around in a near one-eighty before waving him on. He pulled the nose of his broom around and chased her onto an path he’d never seen before. A few meters inside the tree line and it was obvious this wasn’t a path but an old, unimproved road. They maintained the same pace they’d set on the meadow course, but the big different here was no pylons, no gates—and there were trees a few meters away on both sides.

There was a rhythmic tapping in his ears as the music started. By the second bar he recognized the song: Zoo Station from U2’s Achtung Baby. He smiled while keeping his eyes on Professor Salomon, for he would have never guessed her to be a fan of this kind of music, but since he could see her head bobbing in time to the beat, he realized he’d guessed completely wrong.

Then she lifted the nose of her broom, put on a little speed, and left the road for the sky overhead.

Kerry followed.

 

And this played as they soared into the sky:

For me this was sort of a natural song to play as they flew around the school with Kerry getting a feel for his broom as he let the beat flow around him.  Really, as they flew over The Diamond and then buzzed The Pentagram, shooting between the coven towers and the Great Hall, it’s way too easy to hear the song as a soundtrack to a never-made movie.

Then we come to the Samhain Dance, and there’s music galore played, only one song is ever mentioned:  Kerry’s dedication to Annie.  And while I’ve played it before, it’s never a bad thing to play Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights:

A few days later is the Day of the Dead attack on the school, and while Kerry is in his room early in the morning, he’s listening to a little more Genesis:  this time the instrumental pair Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers . . . and . . . In That Quiet Earth.  There’s actually a bit of symmetry here going back to the previous song, since the song titles come from Chapter 34 of Wuthering Heights, and are the finals words of the story:

 

I sought, and soon discovered, the three headstones on the slope next the moor: the middle one grey, and half buried in the heath; Edgar Linton’s only harmonised by the turf and moss creeping up its foot; Heathcliff’s still bare.

I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.

 

So the song Kerry dedicated to Annie a few nights before related to finding each other, and then on a day that he almost dies–and eventually ends up killing someone–he’s listing to songs taken from a paragraph relating to the removal of evil through death.  Ooh, spooky . . .

There are only two other songs in the novel, but these are probably the most personal for both the kids, because these are the only songs they sing.  First up is Kerry’s Ostara 2012 performance that he did with Nadine, which he also dedicated to Annie.  I’m speaking of the Osaka Sun Mix of Coldplay’s Lovers in Japan, with Kerry on tack piano and additional keyboard, and Nadine on keyboards, synth pad, and drum samplers:

And a month later we get this:

 

“Would you mind if I put on some music?”

“Not at all.” Kerry held his left hand over the remote on the nightstand next to him and levitated it to Annie. “Put on whatever you like.”

Annie plucked the remote out of the air and brought up the cable guide. She found a music channel and brought it up before levitating the remote to a spot next to the television. She stepped back as she listened to the song that was finishing. “Can I turn it up a little?”

Kerry nodded. “Go ahead.”

Annie waved at the television: the sound bar illuminated and went up five point. A new song began, and Annie bounced with joy. “Oh, I love this.” She moved into the open space between the bed and the bathroom and began dancing as she removed her bathrobe and set it on a nearby chair, humming and singing along with the tune the whole time.

As the song segued into the chorus Annie faced Kerry and sang along. “Hey I just met you/And this is crazy/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.” She performed a quick spin and pointed at him. “It’s hard to look/Right at you baby/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.” She laughed as she sprinted and leapt at the bad, turning in mid-air so that when she landed, she fell backwards against Kerry’s right side. She pushed herself straight back into the space between his right arm and torso and got comfortable. “Are you gonna call me?”

I think we know this song:  the question is, will Kerry call?

Somehow I don’t see Annie letting all the other boys chase her, though–or Kerry not throwing death spells at them . . .

The very last song I know they played came from, once more, the album Wind and Wuthering, and was played as Annie and Kerry flew away from the school on their way to Pearl Hill State Park the day of Salem graduations.  Though not mentioned by name, the song is the first track of the album, the song The Eleventh Earl of Mar:

And that’s it for our A Level tunes.  Which means it’s time to look to the future . . .

For the next novel and the future I have songs jumping around in my head.  There’s one scene in the next novel where this next song will fit in with a scene–I just have to figure out how to get it into the story.  Trust me, I’ll get it in there.  The song in question is–don’t laugh–The Rain, the Park, and Other Things, by the Cowsills:

Give me time, though:  I’m certain I’ll get more songs into the B Mix as I go along . . .

Now, we already know what Kerry will play at Ostara 2013, but what about Ostara 2014?  Oh, yeah:  I’m already thinking about that–or I should say, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, maybe three years.  Where as the first time he played and sang, and the second time he played with a band but didn’t sing, in this performance he’ll sing but be backed up by the house band.  And Annie will right there in the front row, sitting with Helena and Erywin, as this song is performed.  Why have I thought about this scene so much?  Because . . . wait, you thought I was going to tell you?  Ah, hahahaha!  I had you going for a moment.

Anyway, the song is Distant Sun, originally performed by Helena’s fellow Kiwis, Crowded House:

The last two songs that I know actually get played happen in the period I’ve called Annie and Kerry’s Euro Broom Tour.  Actually, the first song comes during a period just before that tour starts, and happens with Kerry flying through the mountains early in the morning with just his broom, his computer, and his thoughts to keep him company.  Oh, yeah, and Jesus and Mary Chain blasting out of his Foundation-modified computer speakers:

And the last comes as Annie and Kerry say their farewells, and as they fly away Kerry slams this into the system as they fly off away from the rising sun:

There you have it:  some of the music which makes my world go ’round, and as I write the next novel I’ll probably have more music come into play.  The thing I really need to work on is the Soundtrack of Annie’s Life, because she has some music in here soul as well, and there are a couple of scenes where she needs some of her own tunes to shine.

Maybe it’s time to hire a musical consultant.

Lingering in the Past to Come

Finally, finally, finally, I have finished Chapter Fourteen of Suggestive Amusements.  Lots of strange things, lots of kinky sex, lots of things left hanging at the end.  I thought I had some hard chapters to write in Diners at the Memory’s End, but this last was eight thousand of some of the toughest words I’ve ever penned.

It’s behind me.  On to Chapter Fifteen.

I have found a few moments during the work on Chapter Fourteen when I’ve wondered if this story should just go away.  I spoke with a friend the other night, and they told me to put it in a drawer and walk away.  I told them that wasn’t an option, because I’m over fifty thousand words into the tale and the Good Doctor Asimov always said to finish what you start.  They told me I was stubborn;  I told them I’m a writer–which is sort of the same thing.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t felt like walking away at some points.  I like the story, I like the world, but the characters are really sort of dicks in their own rights.  Am I projecting some of my own feelings?  Hell, yeah.  They’re my characters, so they have a little bit of me in them.  Which means they’re not always good people, because I’m not always one.

This winter has been a pain in the ass, however.  It started out being out of work, then finding something after completing a seventy thousand word novel, then falling into a lot of long hours with work, travel, and more writing.  It’s taken a bit of a toll on me, as I’ve been tired, ill, and generally feeling as if I’m out of energy.

It’s easy to want to give up.  I’ve done it before, so why should now be any different?  I’ve given myself some crazy things to do, chasing after banners I may never catch.  I have little or no support on my end for my creative endeavors, and if I do get any props it’s to keep workin’,  ’cause gotta pay those bills, yo.

I felt a bit of elation last night, though, because before I got into the last thousand words of Chapter Hell, I helped someone through the process of formatting a project that will eventually become an ebook, and the juice you get when you lend your creative ability to someone who is using theirs, it’s a good feeling, and one that I needed–for I haven’t felt that way in a while.

Before I headed off to dream land, I played a song that I’ve heard many times . . .

Undertow is a song by Genesis found on their album And Then There Were Three . . ..  I had this album when it first came out, because prog rock, you know, and I was a Genesis fan back in the 1970’s.  I listened to the album many times, and as the years grew on I stopped listening–mostly because I lost all my albums at the end of my first marriage, some twenty years ago.  Then I discovered all this stuff out on YouTube, and once more started listing–

Undertow is one of those songs that I’d heard, but never gave a listen.  When you’re young it’s just a song, something you can kick back to and mellow out when you’ve had a hard day being a teen or early twenty-something.  When the album the song appears on came out, I was just three weeks short of turning twenty-one, so thinking about what was ahead of me wasn’t a big issue with me.  I knew . . .

Actually, I knew shit.  I didn’t have much, I had no understand of what I wanted to do, and I knew I wanted to write, but I couldn’t because I couldn’t bring myself to do it–just as there were so many other things I couldn’t bring myself to do.  I went through life thinking I’ll deal with shit tomorrow, ’cause there’s always tomorrow.

I played Undertow for the hell of it last night, but this time I started listening.  Something happened, because when I work up at four AM today, it was playing in my head.  It was still playing as I drove into work.  When I got my system set up just before seven AM, it was the first thing I played.

It moved me to tears.

There was a connection in the words so powerful that, during the first part of the chorus, I could see myself in those lyrics.  But the second stanza–oh, that’s where the song reached out, grabbed me by the ear, and said, “Sit down, fool; I got something to say”:

 

Laughter, music and perfume linger here
And there, and there,
Wine flows from flask to glass and mouth,
As it soothes, confusing our doubts.

And soon we feel,
Why do a single thing to-day,
There’s tomorrow sure as I’m here.

So the days they turn into years
And still no tomorrow appears.

Better think awhile
Or I may never think again.
If this were the last day of your life, my friend,
Tell me, what do you think you would do then? *

 

Then after the question, Tony Banks comes in and kicks my ass with words and melody so powerful that it’s hard to hold back the tears:

 

Stand up to the blow that fate has struck upon you,
Make the most of all you still have coming to you, [or]
Lay down on the ground and let the tears run from you,
Crying to the grass and trees and heaven finally on your knees

Let me live again, let life come find me wanting.
Spring must strike again against the shield of winter.
Let me feel once more the arms of love surround me,
Telling me the danger’s past, I need not fear the icy blast again. *

 

Damn you, Anthony.  Damn you for making me feel.
Despite what they may say in Westeros, winter is over.  Life is hard, but if you want something you don’t have, work towards getting it.  These damn stories won’t write themselves, and if I want them told, I gotta tell them.  I’ve spent enough time lying on the ground crying, and I don’t want that anymore:  I want what I can take from what I have left, and I want that all.

I want to live, I want to move on, I want to kick the icy blast in the ass and leave it behind.  That I can do.  That is always possible.

As for the arms of love telling me the danger’s past?

We’ll see, won’t we?  We’ll see . . .

 

 

* Copyright: Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, EMI Music Publishing.  Written by Anthony Banks.

Songs in the Key of Writing

Today, Scott Bury is back with me, and we’re talking about songs that describe a novel that you’re writing, or written.  And Scott . . . yeah, he’s got lots of music.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

The soundtrack

 

This week’s topic for the TTC Master Koda Virtual Blog Tour is songs that fit with their book. I have thought for a while that it might be possible to link a soundtrack to an ebook, especially if you’re reading on a tablet.

So, here is my suggestion for a soundtrack for my novel.

The Bones of the Earth begins with a moonlight fertility right led by the village shaman, Vorona. The music for that scene would have to start with a strong, complex and ancient drum-beat. Realistically, that would have to be an ancient Slavic rhythm. But to translate the feeling to today’s audience, Chris Isaak’s In the Heat of the Jungle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7AN3TptvHo does it perfectly (the music does; this video is kind of stupid, but it’s the only one of this song on the ’net). If that’s not long enough, something like Soul Sacrifice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F3Cjr32QyI) by Santana would flow nicely afterward.

Sturm und drang would fit the next chapter, where my main character and his best friend chase Avar horsemen across the meadows at the feet of the Carpathian mountains. The opening of Haydn’s Symphony no. 49 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ9-tYvTTOE) has the stressful, yet quiet tone right for the beginning, while the louder and more rhythmic later movements would be a good accompaniment for the tragedy at the end of the chapter.

Of course, the scene where Javor and Photius encounter Ghastog would be best accompanied by the music of Tom Waits. He’s got exactly the right kind of gravelly, tortured voice for the scene in the monster’s cave. As they approach the cave, something like Yesterday is Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbvzYii3z0I) has just the right tone, and suggests the antiquity of the scene; then in the cave, Way Down in the Hole (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ymBaAsSqDE), and finally, Bad as Me (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Ta3H-ck6s&feature=related).

Now, you have to read the book (hint) to get these next few, but Train in Vain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYK7bEo1Z4M) by the Clash fits the next scene.

Part 2 could be accompanied by Bob Dylan’s Things Have Changed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9EKqQWPjyo&ob=av2e), Riders on the Storm by the Doors (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_eQGsbHhDo)and then Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01UOKCA2jHY) for the scenes across Dacia.

Later, Lost Together by Blue Rodeo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8JGk6Y6N3Y) works, followed by Like a Hurricane by Neil Young (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Obfci1CIqq8). As our characters approach the Roman outpost, Tom Waits steps back to the microphone with A Little Drop of Poison (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aTvELXNXNU).

Then, back to some sturm und drang — more Haydn and Mozart, too, for the most epic scene ever according to one reviewer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lC1lRz5Z_s).

Part 3 could open with It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9aklSlMthc). You know I had to get Springsteen in there, somewhere. Then, it could blend into the Boss’s The Angel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnZOjMZaw8c).

Toward the end, I’d put in Love, Reign O’er Me by the Who (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygOaNo3M_Hw). Then we go back to Chris Isaak for Baby did a Bad, Bad Thing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWf7cT8CTDI). Then I would play more Tom Waits: for the arrival of Stuhach and its cronies and then the Kobolds, Raised Right Men (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9uTo_KBBAw) fits just right.

Everything is Broken by Bob Dylan could come next, then One of These Days by Pink Floyd (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTrNQCYh70Y).

For the final confrontation, I’d start with the overture to Wagner’s Tannhauser (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgpOctKSwp4), just to make sure the audience gets the myth I’m evoking. The Right Stuff from Brian Ferry’s glory 80s days (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW2cNGs5wnk) would follow nicely — just the right mood here. Then, if that’s not enough, how about Black Magic Woman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij4gc8iBDaI) as performed by Santana (are you getting a feeling for my taste in music, yet?)

Finally, some really spooky stuff at the end: maybe Santana’s Jingo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAEcbNzLXiM), followed by Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCEDfZgDPS8).

And for the epilogue: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, by U2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSv-lKwOQvE).

But now, I’d like to hear from you: make some suggestions for music to accompany my book (you’ll have to read it, first, though ;)). Or maybe in the Comments section, tell Raymond and me about some songs you think would accompany your favourite books.

 

Hope to see lots of comments!

 

 

 

Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and writer living in Ottawa. His articles have been published in newspapers and magazines in Canada, the US, UK and Australia.

The Bones of the Earth is his first novel to be published.

He has two sons, an orange cat and a loving wife who puts up with a lot. You can read more of Scott’s writing at Written Words and Scott’s Travel Blog, and on his website, The Written Word. Follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

 

Links:

 

Blue Rodeo:

Lost Together, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8JGk6Y6N3Y

The Clash:

Train in Vain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYK7bEo1Z4M)

Bob Dylan:

Things Have Changed, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9EKqQWPjyo&ob=av2e

The Doors:

Riders on the Storm, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_eQGsbHhDo

Brian Ferry:

The Right Stuff http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW2cNGs5wnk

Josef Haydn:

Symphony no. 45, “Farewell,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm_OLznua6g Symphony no. 49, “The Passion”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ9-tYvTTOE

Chris Isaak:

In the Heat of the Jungle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7AN3TptvHo

Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWf7cT8CTDI

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:

Symphony No. 25 in G Minor, performed by the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, conducted by Neville Mariner

Modeste Mussorgsky:

Night on Bald Mountain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCEDfZgDPS8

Carl Orff:

Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi from Carmina Burana, performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by James Levine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01UOKCA2jHY

Pink Floyd:

One of These Days http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTrNQCYh70Y

Carlos Santana:

Black Magic Woman http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij4gc8iBDaI Soul Sacrifice http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F3Cjr32QyI Jingo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAEcbNzLXiM

Bruce Springsteen:

The Angel, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnZOjMZaw8c It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9aklSlMthc

U2:

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSv-lKwOQvE

Richard Wagner, Tannhauser Overture, performed by the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Bernstein, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgpOctKSwp4

The Who:

Love, Reign O’er Me, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygOaNo3M_Hw

Tom Waits:

A Little Drop of Poison, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aTvELXNXNU Raised Right Men, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9uTo_KBBAw Yesterday is Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbvzYii3z0I Way Down in the Hole http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ymBaAsSqDE Bad as Me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Ta3H-ck6s&feature=related

Neil Young, Like a Hurricane, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Obfci1CIqq8