Lots of writers use playlists when they work: I’ve seen some great ones online over the years, for all sorts of different books.

I’ve lost track of the number of songs I’ve killed by listening to them over and over and over and over again while I’m writing – a couple of Nero’s songs being a case in point. I had the two of them running as background while I wrote “At The Sign of the Black Dove” – my story in “Pandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse”.

The problem was that I put in a lot of hours on that story. Which meant the same two songs on a loop for many hours. This isn’t exactly helped by the fact that they turn up very early on the album, and it’s one of my husband’s favourite records.

We have the routine down to a fine art: he goes pottering off down to the kitchen. He puts some music on. Two chords later, there’s a howl of despair from my study, followed by my stomping down the stairs, grabbing the remote control (all the while muttering expletive-laden things like “Are you trying to kill me? Are you? ARE YOU?!”) and then disappearing back into my study. Door slamming optional.

It’s not that I don’t like the songs – I do – and it’s not like I’m scarred by the process of having written a story to them (well, only a little) but the second I hear them, I’m back in “work mode”. It’s the strangest thing.

Anyway. Because someone asked me a while back about the music I wrote to, I thought I’d round up the obvious ones. I do rather give away my love of dubstep, particularly when it comes to the short stories, I’m afraid…


I relied on this massively when I was writing. Given I wrote it in 4 different places: my old house, two rented flats and – most memorably – the balcony level of the Barbican Foyer (and yes, I still remember exactly which scenes I wrote there!) the playlist was the rock I clung to in order to keep things on an even keel. Now there’s a nice mixed metaphor for you.

Some of the songs go with particular scenes, some with particular characters, but the song on here which matters the most, if you like, is Linkin Park’s “When They Come For Me“. In part that’s because, hey, I like Linkin Park – but it’s also because this is where it all made sense. I can hang the whole book on this song.

All the Right Moves: OneRepublic

Make Me Wanna Die: The Pretty Reckless

Believe Me: Fort Minor

Slip Out the Back: Fort Minor

It’s Not the End of the World: LostProphets

Only Man (Jakwob Remix): Audio Bullys

Burning in the Skies: Linkin Park

When They Come For Me: Linkin Park

New Divide: Linkin Park

Dreamcatcher: Unicorn Kid

The Island, Pt I (Dawn) & Pt 2 (Dusk): Pendulum

Witchcraft (Rob Swire’s Drum-step Mix): Pendulum

Ich Tu Dir Weh: Rammstein

Bulletproof Heart: My Chemical Romance

The Only Hope For Me is You: My Chemical Romance

Teeth: Lady Gaga

Walking in Circles: Dead by Sunrise

Dead Reckoning: Clint Mansell

End Credits: Chase & Status with Plan B

For those of you on Spotify, my friend Paul (better known as @pablocheesecake on Twitter) has been an absolute sweetie and put a Spotify playlist together for all your BLOOD & FEATHERS listening needs. And you can find it here:

The only thing not on there is Rammstein (which, let’s face it, isn’t surprising…). It’s very neat, and I’m incredibly grateful to Paul: thank you!


At The Sign of the Black DovePandemonium: Stories of the Apocalypse.

An apocalyptic story needs an apocalyptic soundtrack… and in my head, this is exactly what the end of the world sounds like…

Nero – Doomsday

Nero: Fugue State

Murderess Lane: Hub Fiction

“Murderess Lane” is a story about another London – a London which always was, and always will be: the kind of London which has flagellants roaming the streets, and an underground chamber hung with bodies hidden in the heart of the City. It’s not a very nice place, and it’s confusing and noisy and frightening. So, naturally, while I was working on it, I listened to this.

Pendulum: Through the Loop

Kudos and cookies if you can name the sample. It’s easy, honest.


No Control Left to Lose

I’ve been mighty wordy this week, so it’s time for light relief in the shape of the  Friday music blog. It’s also a little more testosteronealicious than most of this week’s posts.

You know how much I love Pendulum, right? And you know how much I enjoy their videos. This one is one of their strongest recent offerings: going back to a plot-driven format, but with a fractured narrative. It’s a perfect match for Rob Swire‘s lyrics (he always strikes me as being massively underrated as a lyricist because the kidz are all about da dub-beats. Or something.) and in all honesty, it’s almost exactly what I’ve seen in my head since I first heard the song.

Ladies & gentlemen: “Crush”.


There’s something very, very familiar about this video: I thought it the first time I saw it, and I’ve thought it every time since. It’s reminding me of… something, but I’ve yet to work out what that something is.

Bearing in mind Pendulum know how to do sci-fi and are clever with their references, I can’t help but wonder if I’m supposed to be thinking of something, what with the shiny triangles and the groovy jumpsuit going on there. The fact there’s a title and, you know, a font and stuff makes me highly suspicious too.


It’s probably slightly Logan’s Run, but only a little. The film: The Island, maybe (also, as an obligatory aside to that: *cough* Spares *cough*)? Cookies and blog jellybeans to anyone who can figure it out and make the itch behind my eyes every time I see this go away…

Of course, if I work it out first, I’m having the jellybeans. All of them–except maybe the green ones…


As is becoming traditional, it’s Friday ergo we have music to set us up for the weekend. Hoo-rah!

And to make up for missing last Friday’s (you got off lightly: I was off with the glamorous folk of Fantasycon), you get not one but two choice items today – which are technically the same song! What witchcraft is this, I hear you cry!

Alright, it’s actually the same song, but the second one’s a cover. And a fine cover it is, too.

Have a fab weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side. And be warned, I’ll have more Hamlet for you. Oh, yes.