Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Music - the Muse

by Anna Jones Buttimore

It's the 25th Anniversary of Live Aid today, and I remember it well. In 1985 a friend persuaded me that if I was going to watch any of it, Queen were the band I shouldn't miss. So (because my parents hate any non-classical music) I went upstairs to my parents' bedroom and watched it on the little portable TV in their room, lying on my stomach across their bed.

I was blown away, stunned by just how good rock music could be. And from that moment I was a Queen fan. I joined their fan club (I finally neglected to renew my membership 20 years later) and went to the local Woolworth's to buy every Queen album (vinyl) I could find. I could only get one - A Night at the Opera - but I played it so many times on my scratchy little record player it's amazing there was any of it left by the time I left it in the sun five years later and it warped. In 1986, aged 17, I went to my first ever concert and saw Queen (supported by Status Quo and INXS) at Wembley Stadium in London. It turned out to be their last tour - Freddie Mercury died six years later. I'm so glad I persuaded my parents to let me go. For several years my entire wardrobe consisted only of Queen t-shirts and jeans, and my first husband, also a Queen fan, told me that I first caught his eye because of my choice of clothing.

Most important of all, I think, Queen's music inspired me to write. I still haven't finished it, but I started writing a fantasy novel called "Horses Born with Eagle Wings", based on many of the themes, characters and stories on the first two Queen albums. Even the title is a Queen lyric. (Should I mention that my tattoo is of a winged horse called Eagle? I'm a convert, remember...) That led to a general love of writing, and you know the rest.

Ironically, when my first book was published, I wrote in my author bio that I loved rock music. My editor felt that wasn't appropriate and suggested that the bio just note my love of "music" lest I be seen to be advocating thrash metal to my LDS audience. I dug my heels in and refused, because the fact is that I love rock music and I hate jazz, opera, rap and country.

I thought I'd never feel as inspired by music again as I was by Queen 25 years ago today, but last week my eldest daughter plugged her MP3 player into the car as we travelled together to go shopping, and I discovered Muse. They are well named. And yes, I've just gone out and bought every Muse album, and I'm going to see them at Wembley Stadium in September, with my daughter. I suspect some wardrobe changes are imminent.

As I write this I am listening to "Knights of Cydonia" and I've included lyrics from this, and from "Uprising" (my favourite Muse track) in my current fantasy novel, Emon and the Empire. I'm not the first writer to be inspired by Muse (I can't listen to "Supermassive Black Hole" without seeing vampires playing baseball) and like Sister Meyer I am finding that listening to their music whilst writing helps conjure up the required atmosphere and makes the words flow better.

So on this auspicious date I would like to publicly honour the bands whose music has provided the soundtrack to my life, countless hours of pleasure, and the inspiration behind some of my books. Queen - Magnum - Def Leppard - Muse - Thank you for sharing your talent and helping me to share mine.

1 comment:

Cheri J. Crane said...

Anna, I love classic rock myself. ;) In fact, the current ring tone for my phone is BTO's "Taking Care of Business." =D

I also enjoy classical music, easy listening, and Celtic ditties. (Country music . . . not so much.)

Music has always been a big part of my life and I will be forever grateful for the influence it has been in my life.