Fuck global warming. Fuck Ken Livingstone and his congestion charge. Fuck the tubes and the buses. I have a car and I am going to use it. Endlessly. Mile after mile.
Nothing beats that bumper to bumper grind through the grime of north west London. Half a mile in thirty minutes? I'll take it. As long as I am moving.deathly.slowly.edging forward.
I once wrote a story where the protagonist was a salesman obsessed by self-help tapes and encounter groups. He drove a lot of miles and he'd make tapes of the applause from live albums edited together into 45 minute ovations that he'd play in his car just to make himself feel good. Something bad happened to him in the end. But that was the way it used to be with my characters.
When I'm driving I love to play soundtrack albums. Nino Rota tipping 50 past the Ace Caf?© on the North Circular; an Angelo Badalamenti lush rush past the rain defying high hair of the Temple Fortune Jewesses; Yann Tiersen turning the rat-runs of Kilburn into cobbled Parisian streets.
This week I've been playing the Nick Cave and Warren Ellis soundtrack to Cave's parched western "The Proposition". It's short, bleak and quite beautiful. I haven't seen the film so, for now, the visuals have been solely provided by the freezing cold, spittle spattered streets of Willesden. When Cave and Ellis conjured up the melancholic Queenie's Suite I doubt they were envisaging a man vomiting over the vegetables outside a corner shop and I really doubt that Happy Land was intended to accompany a synchronised pissing session by barely vertical drunks leaning against the wall of the Spotted Dog but, you know what? It works.
Now I'm worried about going to see the film. It might ruin the soundtrack for me. And worse than that there might not be anywhere to park.
The Proposition: Original Soundtrack - Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is available now on Mute
Kirk Lake is a writer, musician and filmmaker. His published books include Mickey The Mimic (2015) and The Last Night of the Leamington Licker (2018). His films include the feature films Piercing Brightness (2014) and The World We Knew (2020) and a number of award winning shorts.
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