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Have you ever matched a book with an album? So the music becomes part of the world of the book

(38 Posts)
HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jul-09 20:05:16

and you think of one when you read or listen to the other?

I did this with Ursula Le Guin's Tombs of Atuan and Dead Can Dance's Into the Labryinth.

Or am I just a bit odd?

janeite Sat 18-Jul-09 20:06:40

Not at all odd. I used to teach 'Sense And Sensibility' beginning with playing 'The Whole Of The Moon' by The Waterboys.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jul-09 20:10:44

That is interesting. Do you hear it when you read the book? Or is that one informs the other, rather than being each being part of the other (in your head of course). I tend to imagine the music actually being played at key parts of the book iyswim.

I wish you had been my teacher though.

janeite Sat 18-Jul-09 20:17:17


No - the one informs the other. I always sort of wished that I had that thing where the senses mix up. There is a really good novel called Mondays Are Red iirc about synasthaesia (is that it?).

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jul-09 20:20:25

I actually took acid in the hope it would induce synesthesia. blush It didn't.

I had been reading The Man Who Tasted Shapes.

Will look up that book, it is a fascinating condition. I have always been jealous of those who have it.

UnquietDad Sat 18-Jul-09 20:21:33

Apparently if you listen to Dark Side of the Moon and watch The Wizard of Oz, the visuals reflect the images... No idea if it works with the book...

janeite Sat 18-Jul-09 20:22:01

Ooh - please tell me more about The Man Who Tasted Shapes: what a fab title.

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jul-09 20:34:17

It was in the same vein as The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sachs.

I remember that the man from the title was cooking soup and added salt as it was too 'square' grin

UnquietDad I bet you know that from experience..

totalmisfit Sat 18-Jul-09 20:43:18

only with Wuthering Heights and the shrieky 'Heathcliffe it's me, its
Cathy, i've come home' Kate Bush song!

paisleyleaf Sat 18-Jul-09 21:33:53

Enya's first album (album....that's how long ago I'm talking) with Mists of Avalon

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jul-09 21:37:23

ooh, good match paisleyleaf!

paisleyleaf Sat 18-Jul-09 21:38:24

It was a nice summer that

ohfuschia Sat 18-Jul-09 21:46:02

My username comes from a Cure song 'The Drowning Man' which is based on Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake so now I can't listen to/read one without thinking of the other (not quite the same as completely unrelated ones I know but I first read the Gormenghast trilogy as a tortured teen without knowing about the song, though as a huge Cure fan I guess it was only a matter of time blush)

thedolly Sat 18-Jul-09 21:47:16

I was reading Whit by Ian Banks a few years ago whilst DH was 'composing' (that's code for writing a three minute wonder) on the piano. The tune really suited the mood of the book and became known thereafter as Whit.

janeite Sat 18-Jul-09 21:47:16

The Cure use a lot of song references. Have never read Peake - is it good?

HumphreyCobbler Sat 18-Jul-09 22:03:16

Whit is a great book. So nice to read about a woman who gets things done rather than being passive. Very funny.

There is music in it too - don't they do some sort of strange religious singing?

I really liked the Gormenghast trilogy but it has been a long time since I read it. It is just the kind of total world that deserves its own music.

ohfuschia Sat 18-Jul-09 22:03:31

I love Mervyn Peake, for me the Gormenghast trilogy has fantastical elements but a basis in political reality - I don't know if that's why at Alevel (almost 20yrs ago now though!) I was allowed to do an essay on Gormenghast but someone else was refused Lord of the Rings because it was considered that there was nothing to extract from Tolkein. I don't know if that was my tutor's prejudice or specified in the course guidelines and haven't read anything by Tolkein except the Hobbit when I was young, but I thought it was interesting that Peake was 'allowed' on the basis that there was more to it than pure fantasy. (Sorry Tolkein fans, I honestly don't know enough to have an opinion on that). Unfortunately I read Peake at such a heady time in my life that you probably can't trust my opinion as it will always hold a dear place in my heart, though I can say that the first book 'Titus Groan' is generally considered the best and sadly by the end the trilogy suffered a bit due to Peake's debilitating illness. Sorry will stop now blush

janeite Sat 18-Jul-09 22:05:34

Thanks - may give it a go.

Oh I've just thought of another one: I have no idea why but "Tess Of The D'Urbervilles' and 'Sheila Take A Bow' by The Smiths are forever linked in my mind. I think perhaps it's the lyrics - 'how can someone so young sing words so sad?' that connected with the theme.

Vulgar Sat 18-Jul-09 23:05:48

I always link Mervin Peake's Gormanghast to that dance track of monks singing that came out around 1990 . . can't remember what it was called . . maybe Enigma???? but it really matched the ethereal mood of the book for me.

Stevie Wonder's "He's Mister know it all" always reminds me of reading 1984 in the garden. Doesn't really go with the book but i am immediately transported back to a hot summer when I was about 12/13.

Joan Armatrading's "Love and affection" reminds me of one of her lesser known books "Rule Brittania" too. i re-read it recently and was immediaitely transported back in time. I could have told you in minutie what i was feeling in my life back then.

It is always a "feeling" more than a memory that I experience.

I believe I am mildly synesthesic. when I was studying graphics I remember a number of us talking about what colours days of the week were and that we saw numbers in patterns and steps.

I think the condition may be commoner than we think. I know my son sees names and numbers in colours as he has told me from a young age.

Thank you Humphrey for such a fascinating thread. I hope it continues (although I am off to bed in a minute) i hope for lots more fascinating posts.

shonaspurtle Sat 18-Jul-09 23:12:01

Yes. Jilly Cooper's romance novels with T'Pau's Bridge of Spies and Bros's Push. I had them taped onto either side of a blank cassette and constantly re-read the books/listened to the tape during the summer of 1988.

Such was my youth. hmm

RealityIsGettingMarried Sat 18-Jul-09 23:13:52

Message withdrawn

shonaspurtle Sat 18-Jul-09 23:14:27

Oh. Posted before I read the thread. I fear I have lowered the literary/musical tone several notches blush

Vulgar Sat 18-Jul-09 23:19:36

shona - i don't think you have lowered the tone. Rememberr that these connections are not something contrived but something that we "feel" so your connection is just as valid.

Or am I talking shite?

retiredgoth2 Sat 18-Jul-09 23:28:11

....what a splendid post.

Yes, come to think of it there are some that are very much linked.

...notably Orwell's letters and journalism (his best stuff. Miles better than all the novels except, perhaps, Coming Up for Air) which I read in the early hours of the morning accompanied by Born Sandy Devotional by The Triffids.

This would have been about 1986ish, and I fear that a controlled substance mentioned earlier in the thread may not have been unconnected with my enjoyment...

(I seem to recall an hour or two admiring a patch of wallpaper, too...) a similar time I tried reading Gogol's Dead Souls whilst listening to the Joy Division song named after it. It didn't work, as (a) I was usually overcome by the need to play air guitar in time to the music and (b) the book is shite.

....I'm also surprised and pleased to see a reference to Dead Can Dance. I'd forgotten them.

Unusually, in a thread where obscure 80s goth/indie bands are mentioned I am not going to bore the world by bragging that I saw them live 9 times in 1938.

I would do if I had, though......

(sad git emoticon)

Vulgar Sat 18-Jul-09 23:33:44

retiredgoth2. I think i had many similiar experiences to you around 1986 grin

The Cocteau Twins always make me see colours and "landscapes". Maybe unsurprising when you listen to this type of music but i can recall so much by listening to their stuff. much the same way smells conjure up feelings almost unconciously.

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