Book Song – How Richard Thompson helped build my imaginary library


In writing a satire on the publishing industry I had the usual titular challenge of ‘what to call it’, settling on ‘Written Off’ in the end (my working title, naturally). But that was only the start. A book about publishing and wannabe authors meant I had to come up with the titles of around another twenty books, reflecting the many different genres into which my aspiring authors were dipping their nibs.

How did I do it? I enlisted Richard Thompson for help. Not personally, but the vast catalogue of songs the singer/songwriter has composed over the past six decades. The same songs that have been part of my creative inspiration since the days RT played a gold top Gibson Les Paul.

The more I delved, the more I marvelled at how the titles fitted my imaginary library shelf. The Wrong Heartbeat, Backlash Love Affair, Mascara Tears, Cold Kisses. And, even better, how some of RT’s exquisitely crafted expressions – Opinions Are Coffins, No Price On Love, Original Motion, A Man Without A Shadow – demanded to be pressed into service.

Richard’s eloquent way with words helped drive me on as I tried to match them (admittedly, in a rather more prosaic fashion). It was also a good excuse for yet another RT playlist.

Of course, may readers of the novel will never realise where Written Off’s bookshelf came from, but that’s part of the fun, as is the moment the penny drops with RT fans.

Written Off:

Written Off Richard Thompson Spotify playlist:


Written Off