I need a soundtrack. I always have a soundtrack. I’ve got half a soundtrack, but it isn’t quite there yet. I need the song that will play over the movie trailer (in my dreams, that is). Past trailer-songs have included ‘Who Knew’ by Pink, ‘Run’ by Snow Patrol (everybody’s done that one! Sheesh!), and that theme tune from Gladiator (oh hang on, House of Flying Daggers used that one as well. As did, come to think of it, Gladiator). Oh yes, and for Crossing the Line there was something by Morcheeba. That worked well.
So my latest excuse for the dragging pace of my work in progress is ‘It doesn’t have a song’. Apparently George Lucas and Steven Spielberg always built a sandcastle for each one of their movies. They blamed the failure of ‘1941’ on the fact that they forgot to build a sandcastle for it (rather than, say, on the fact it wasn’t a very good movie, but I digress). I don’t need a sandcastle; I need a theme tune.
As I say, I have half a soundtrack. My protagonist is called Ruby, so that’s easy, then. Lots of people have been kind enough to write songs about Ruby. But none of those is the theme song. I realised out of the blue a few weeks ago that another character’s favourite song was ’24 Hours From Tulsa’ by Gene Pitney – a surprise to say the least, because this is a song that has never registered on my radar before. (But I do love it when that happens.)
Lots of writers have soundtracks. Maybe they all do. Are they all as embarrassing as mine? Oh, I have some cheesy songs on book soundtracks. One includes both Peter Cetera singing ‘The Glory of Love’ and that Phil Collins song from the Disney Tarzan movie, ‘You’ll Be In My Heart’. Really. I have very uncool taste, but what the characters demand the characters have to get. James Blunt! Take That! Celine Dion, for crying out loud! And when I listen to the chords swell, and picture hero/heroine running in slow motion through some urban landscape with beautiful cinematography, I get a wee tear in my eye. Sad.
I was reminded of all of this because last night I was watching Bill Bailey’s Amazing Guide to the Orchestra, which was – well – amazing. He was playing the Doctor Who theme in the style of Jacques Brel. And I thought: now that’s cool. I could listen to that indefinitely, I could. Now I just need to persuade my characters that that’s their song. I don’t think I’m quite there yet.