Today is Love Your Libraries Day or National Libraries Day in the UK.
I feel pretty strongly about this for several reasons: I would maintain that reading is perhaps the most fun you can have by yourself, music helped open me up to reading even more, and I work for Library Services.
Amongst two events I’ve been responsible for helping organise today are events just outside Edinburgh: the appearance of Comedians Frankie Boyle and Miles Jupp at Dalkeith Library (which lead to this rather cool article in the local paper) and two 17 Seconds Records bands playing at Penicuik Library – The Last Battle and Matt Norris and the Moon.
So today is a music and book-related special here on 17 Seconds.
My favourite band, The Cure not only gave their name to this blog and the label (the title of their 1980 album is Seventeen Seconds, do keep up), but they also took inspiration from literature. Their debut 1978 single, ‘Killing An Arab’ is not a racist rant, but is instead inspired by Albert Camus’ existentialist classic The Outsider (L’etranger in the original French, for those of you who like your despair to be even cooler). Not surprisingly, they did have problems with the title and idiots who misinterpreted it – interestingly on their most recent live album the title has now been changed to ‘Killing Another.’ Sadly, possibly rather wise…
The Cure -‘Killing An Arab.’ mp3
The deliciously haunting children’s book ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ by Penelope Farmer gave the inspiration -and indeed most of the words for the Cure’s 1981 single ‘Charlotte Sometimes.’ A fine book and single – the hair on my arms is literally standing on end just thinking about it, the single was a minor hit, but a firm favourite amongst Cure fans, and also inspired two other Cure songs ‘Splintered In Her Head’ (b-side to ‘Charlotte’) and according to Wiki, ‘the Empty World’ from 1984’s The Top album.
The Cure -‘Charlotte Sometimes.’ mp3
It wasn’t just Camus who was essential reading of choice for the raincoat brigade. Both The Fall and Josef K took their names from Franz Kafka’s books: in the case of The Fall, this is one of his novels, and Josef K. is the main protagonist in The Trial.
The Fall -‘Spoilt Victorian Child.’ mp3
Josef K -‘Endless Soul.’ mp3
Joy Division’s lead singer Ian Curtis was an avid reader and film-watcher, the opening track on the bands’ sophomore (and sadly, final) album Closer takes its’ name from J.G. Ballard’s book Atrocity Exhibition (though according to Wiki, he only read the book after writing most of the lyrics).
Joy Division -‘Atrocity Exhibition.’ mp3
This could, of course, go on and on as a list: William S. Burroughs got an entire post of his own on this blog several years ago: Soft Machine took their name from one of his novels while Steely Dan got their name from Steely Dan III from Yokohama -a strap-on dildo referenced in The Naked Lunch.
Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ takes its name from the Emily Bronte novel, whilst ‘Infant Kiss’ is (ultimately) influenced by The Turn Of The Screw and ‘Cloudbusting’ as inspired by Peter Reich’s autobiography Book of Dreams, about his relationship with his father, Wilhelm Reich.
So, let’s sign off here – with these two tracks:
Belle & Sebastian -‘Put the Book Back On the Shelf.’ mp3
Echo and the Bunnymen -‘Read It In Books.’ mp3