“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl back into my loneliness.” Maya Angelou.
I’m not from a particularly musical family. I remember a lot of excitement when we got a Radiogram* combining a radio, a turntable and speakers in an enormous, polished, wooden cabinet. It was already an old-fashioned thing when it arrived in our house. My mother would occasionally play a Barry Manillo record on it. Apart from that, it mostly gathered dust until I started using it to dance round the room to Siouxsie and the Banshees when everyone was out. My big sister was too busy playing Prog rock records on a much more up to date device in her bedroom to care about what we peasants were doing.
I can’t remember when music became so important to me, but I do know that what began as a whim at the age of 7 or 8, when I started playing the guitar, became my refuge and this has lasted a lifetime. I play guitar, piano, ukulele and I sing. I love to lose myself in music so it would have been unthinkable to publish Becoming Unbecoming without any musical references – a sort of silent soundtrack. Below, you will find all the tunes that are directly or obliquely referenced in the story.
Playlists “God’s Own Country” and “There Be Dragons” are named for the map that appears on Page 21 of the UK edition of Becoming Unbecoming. Northerners will know about the lighthearted* antagonism between those that live in Yorkshire and those that live on the wrong side of the Pennines in Greater Manchester. Some excellent music emerged on both sides of the hills during my youth so I’ve made playlists of tracks I used to dance to in nightclubs and songs I still sing in the bath.
“Soothing Sounds” and “Music to Write To” are my work playlists. Try them and let me know what you think. Comment here if you’d like to suggest a track.
*Radiogram is a portmanteau of radio and gramophone. I am so old!
*It’s not lighthearted at all, it’s deadly serious.
Every song that’s referenced in the book, with one red herring.
Gods Own Country
Songs I loved in my youth by musicians from Yorkshire
There Be Dragons
Songs I loved in my youth by musicians from Greater Manchester
Songs I play to feel joyous and dance around.
Songs for resting, walking and drawing.
Music to write to
The clue is in the title.