Blog Tour: London Calling - a Skulk Playlist

Monday, October 21, 2013

Today I have the lovely Rosie Best on the blog who will share her playlist for her book Skulk.

When I started putting this list together, I didn't think I’d have very many songs for Skulk. Meg is one of the least musical characters I've ever written - she likes music, but she doesn't really have a favorite genre or artist. But as soon as I started thinking about the story of Skulk and the way I wrote it, songs started leaping to mind. It’s a pretty eclectic mix of songs that fit the characters, songs that I listened to while writing, and songs that set the mood and place for the book.
1. London Calling - The Clash
London is drowning and I live by the river

Skulk is very firmly set in London, and this is one of my favorite London songs. It’s an urban fantasy song! It has an air of ominous, apocalyptic drama, and references to strange dark goings-on under the surface of the city. And it also has a distinct and very Londonish sense of indestructibility. Something of London will survive, no matter what. As a Londoner I also love that in the official video for this song it is raining on The Clash.

2. Ready To Go - Republica
Yeah I'm standing on a rooftop shouting out
Baby I’m ready to go

This is just about the best motivational get-up-and-get-them song going. I imagine Meg, battered and bruised but still standing. It's like the musical equivalent of saying ‘come and have a go if you think you're hard enough'.

3. This Is The Day - The The

This is the day your life will surely change

I actually first heard this song on the soundtrack to incredibly 90s teen movie Empire Records. It's a song about staying up all night, watching the sun rise and feeling that odd mixture of exhaustion and exhilaration that makes you think deep thoughts and reconsider your whole life. I love the very teenage mixture of world-weariness and endless possibility. It makes me think of the nights in the book where Meg spends all night running around London trying to fix things and comes up the next morning with a fresh perspective on her world.

4. The Greatest Story Never Told - Murray Gold
The soundtracks to Doctor Who are brilliant background music for writing to, and I had them on heavy rotation while writing Skulk. I've tried to pick just one to add to this playlist that encompassed the sweeping heights and lows of Murray Gold’s soundtracks.

5. Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
Rebel rebel, you've torn your dress
Rebel rebel, your face is a mess

Meg loves this song! She loves Bowie's fluid approach to gender in general, and the fact that the singer loves this rebel, whoever they are, for who they are even when that's battered and torn and uncertain.

6. Butterfly - Rajaton
Sweet is the sound of my newborn wings
I stretch them open and let them dry

A lot of the reviews for Skulk so far have been slightly puzzled about the fact that one of the animals people in the book can shapeshift into is a butterfly. I never found it particularly strange - after all, if you've been to London in the spring you’ll know that you can see butterflies all over the city. But I did like the idea of a shapeshifter whose animal form wasn't at all strong or threatening. This song really captures the joy of flight, and I think it fits wonderfully with a particular pair of characters (I won’t go any further, because spoilers!).

7. Home - Gabrielle Aplin
I'm a phoenix in the water, a fish that's learned to fly
I've always been a daughter, but feathers were meant for the sky

In Skulk, one of the things Meg has to deal with is the loss of her home - or maybe just a change in where her home really is. This song also includes the repeated line ‘with every small disaster', which feels rather appropriate. Meg loves this song too.

8. Butterflies and Hurricanes - Muse
Change everything you are and everything you were
Your number has been called

Muse is also fantastic writing music, especially for ultra dramatic fight scenes, and this is a particularly brilliant one. I also can’t help loving the fact that at three minutes in it just breaks into an unabashedly Gershwin-esque bit of classical piano playing. Plus, another butterfly reference! Turn up the volume and wallow.

9. Elle Me Dit - Mika

Elle me dit dance!

This is half Meg, half me. Meg likes it because the words, when translated out of French, are about an overbearing mother constantly nagging her family. I like it because it's an awesome song! Despite the subject it's irrepressibly catchy and cheerful. This is the song I would break out when I was stuck on a bit of Skulk or stressed about a deadline, and it would always make me smile and get me chair-dancing.

10. Feeling Good - Nina Simone
It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me

The original and the best - though it's hard to do a bad cover of this song, and I also have and enjoy the Muse one. Nina Simone sings this with such sincere passion and joy! It makes me think of Meg in her best moments, when everything is going her way (which doesn't happen all that often).

11. This Is My City - Timothy Victor
This is my city now.

Meg's relationship with London is quite important to Skulk, and I love the affirmation of this song. This is my city. Despite that it's a fairly straightforward breakup song, it always makes me think of Meg stepping up and accepting that some things are going to be down to her. (Also, apparently this was used at an important moment on Skins and that's why I keep hearing it in coffee shops? I haven't seen Skins so I had no idea until I googled it looking for a link!)

Author: Rosie Best
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: 1 October 2013 in the US, Canada, as well as in Ebook, and 3 October 2013 in the UK.

When Meg witnesses the dying moments of a shapeshifting fox and is given a beautiful and powerful stone, her life changes forever. She is plunged into the dark world of the Skulk, a group of shapeshifting foxes. 
As she learns about the other groups of shapeshifters that lurk around London – the Rabble, the Horde, the Cluster and the Conspiracy – she becomes aware of a deadly threat against all the shapeshifters. They must put aside all their enmity and hostility and fight together to defeat it. (From Goodreads)
Rosie Best lives in London and loves all things nerdy. She is an editor at Working Partners Ltd, working on a huge variety of projects from first chapter books about unicorns to dark YA journeys through the land of the dead.

She’s also written for Working Partners on a freelance basis, on series published by Usborne and Hot Key Books.

The opening of Skulk won a place in the 2012 Undiscovered Voices anthology. When not writing or indulging a passion for video games, she sings with the Crouch End Festival Chorus.

Connect with her on:

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