Music – In My Life

I have a story appearing in a forthcoming anthology entitled Song Stories Volume 1 and the editor requested that the writers blog about how music affected their lives and link to As music is a part of my life every day it has naturally inspiresong Storiesd me endlessly over the years. The most hits I ever got on this blog was for a Beatles v. Kinks piece (The Kinks won hands down but that’s another story).

My last short story collection was called That’s Entertainment after a song by the Jam. Initially the proposal did not include a story by that name nor was it a proposed title for the book. Andrew Hook at Elastic Press came back to me and said he felt the collection needed one more story and that, as it was a themed collection based about the alternate history of entertainment, that he’s like me to write a story about the Jam and call it That’s Entertainment, which would also be the title of the collection.

As my mantra is inspired by the Beatles – I can make it longer if you like the style, I’ll be writing more in a little while – I naturally acceded to his request. Unfortunately I came up with no ideas for a Jam story or a Paul Weller story or anything even close. What I did come up with was a superhero story – superheros are real, they’re like actors in the comics which detail their adventures and get guest slots in crossover title and the like – and inspired by the title wrote a story I still really like and am proud of.

Elvis Presley is another figure I’m fascinated by and have written stories about, though I don’t really like his music, I’m interested in him as a cultural icon. My Elvis stories feature him as a serial killer (Killing Time) or a lost soul (Alias Morton Pinkney). The Beatles feature heavily in my fiction; two in That’s Entertainment – Bigger Than Jesus (John is thrown out of the Beatles in 1962, the other die in a plane crash and he lives happily (not famously) ever after – but would he swap happiness for fame) and Faces I Remember (they’re a squad of assassins in an alternate Europe where the cold war turned hot(ish) at the end of the fifties).

Many of the stories I write start out with song titles as the story title, though I seldom leave it that way for publication. Jim Morrison is another big influence and one of these days I’m going to write the definitive Riders on the Storm story, but I’m going to have to step up my game to do it justice. He’s already featured in a weird western story, The Pecos Stop, as the Peyote Kid, a somewhat self-aggrandizing poet cum gunfighter and his murder, as the Peyote Kid, is at the centre of the novel I’m currently working on.

So, all in all I’ve got music bursting out of much of what I write and I will continue to listen and filter out joy and insipration for many years to come. If you fancy a story inspired by David Bowie’s Bewlay Brothers you could do worse that  risk a few dollars on Song Stories Volume One from Song Stories Press. You can find further details at their website:


About Bob Neilson

Bob Neilson lives in Dublin with his wife, two daughters, son, two dogs, one cat and a growing feeling of claustrophobia. In partnership with his wife he runs a successful retail business in Dublin city. His short fiction has appeared extensively in professional and small press markets and he has had two plays performed on RTE and one on Anna Livia FM. He also presented a radio show on Anna Livia for a year. He has had two short story collections published, Without Honour (1997, Aeon Press) and That’s Entertainment (2007, Elastic Press) as well as several comics and a graphic novel. His non-fiction book on the properties of crystals is a best-seller in the UK and Ireland.
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