DAYS OF MADNESS

 

In literature, the stories of love and tragedy are often intertwined. Days Of Madness is a novel that tells the story of a group of youths as they search for exuberance and meaning through the excess and chaos of modern times. It's a story of love and love gone awry, of excess and sex, and the search through confusion to find meaning and understanding. The novel is a portrayal of its character's anarchic spirit of youthful freedom and spontaneity. It speaks to the complexity of any modern generation stranded between the moral values of the past and the yet-to-appear arrangements of a new morality.

 

The novel captures the erratic moods and actions of its young characters, from sheer ebullience to despondent melancholy, to moments of heartbreaking solitude, as they search and explore and push the limits of who they are while within a chaotic world. With one another, the characters discover love and its tribulations, discuss the worlds of cinema, literature, and sex, explore dissipation to their personal breaking points, and learn the painful wisdom of what it means to push these boundaries. As much as the novel is about each character's individual search for freedom, it's also about the impossibility of freedom, and the many losses of innocence that accompany these explorations.

 

The novel concludes with the characters in a state of dazed bewilderment as they contemplate the chaotic and tumultuous events they had experienced during the year. Life had, in the beginning, brought them together. Now, it was pushing them in their separate directions, and to their individual fates.

 

Days Of Madness introduces Charles Karaway and Neil Nevada as they live out a genial but troubled bohemianism. Theirs is a friendship founded on the mutual search for ebullience and freedom. Their dialogue is about life, literature, cinema, and women, and how these correlate with this search.

NOTES ON THE SOUNDTRACK

 

 

Soundtracks are associated first and foremost with movies. The reason for this association is evident and is related to the medium of movies, how that medium is experienced, and the time a person can dedicate to that medium. There are, of course, exceptions, where songs, or a group of songs, are as associated with a book in the same way they would be to a movie. Some authors pepper their texts with the names of songs and albums. Other authors choose to douse heavily. What one cannot do, however, at least not yet, is to enter a store or go online and purchase the soundtrack to a book. Currently, the genre, if that is the proper identification, of book soundtrack, does not exist.

 

A movie soundtrack will often consist of original music composed for the film. But just as likely, the soundtrack will also contain prerecorded music not originally composed for the movie. A soundtrack can also be a collection that is only prerecorded music. While having original music composed for a book is an intriguing concept, it is currently beyond the scope and means for this project.

 

Initially, no one cared about the soundtrack to a movie. A soundtrack was background music used to enhance a scene. Along with the rise of independent filmmaking in the 1960s, the soundtrack began to come into its own. Through the intervening years, it has grown to become an art form. In the case of certain contemporary directors, the soundtrack is as coveted as the movie itself.

 

During the 1990s, before mp3 files and digital transfers, the mixed tape was the chosen means of sharing music with friends. These mixed tapes were a collection of songs carefully selected and sequenced. Often the cover to the case was painted or collaged, as might be the tape itself. The tape, as a whole, became an experience. The mixed tape and the movie soundtrack, while containing similarities, and becoming conceptually closer over time, remain two different art forms. They both, however, inform the musical selection for this book.

 

Each book I write is an art project. I am interested in the total experience of a book, not only with the text itself. The soundtrack for Days Of Madness is an intentionally curated collection of songs to complement and enhance the reader’s experience of this book.

 

The soundtrack, just as the book, focuses on the triangle relationship of the three main characters. All other characters and events are seen and understood through the filter of this triangle. The selected songs remain true to the period of the book. In other words, songs that hadn’t been recorded by the early 1990s weren’t considered.

 

The advent of recorded and distributed music has allowed everyone the opportunity to construct a personal soundtrack. As a result, certain events, certain places, and certain people are irrevocably entwined with certain songs. It's no different for the characters in this story.

 

 

 

 

DAYS OF MADNESS SOUNDTRACK

 

1. Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere - The Who

Karaway's Theme. He is entering the story with a sense of a world of possibilities before him.

 

2. The Loner - Neil Young (Live Rust)

Neil's Theme. Older and more experienced, he has a sense of being different from the younger college students.

 

3. American Girl - Tom Petty

Christian's Theme. Young and inexperienced and open, she has a sense of being fresh.

 

4. Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks

Hanging out and having a good time. Things are still new and interesting and innocent.

 

5. I'm So Free - Lou Reed

Hanging out and having a good time. A sense of freedom and possibility.

 

6. I Can't Explain -  The Who

Karaway becomes interested in Christian. There is still youthful innocence.

 

7. Be-Bop-A-Lula - John Lennon

Karaway is interested in Christian. Things begin with them. The 1950s quality conveys their youthful innocence.

 

8. Cinnamon Girl - Neil Young

Karaway and Christian's relationship intensifies. The song elaborates upon Karaway's feelings for Christian, but also Neil's feelings for her.

 

9. Rebel Rebel - David Bowie

Karaway and Christian's Theme. Party feeling and bar life. Unrest is starting to enter into the relationship.

 

10. Candy And A Current Bun - Pink Floyd

"I'm feeling frail" typifies Karaway. More partying, and Christian starts focusing on other men.

 

11. Substitute - The Who

Karaway is feeling rejected by Christian.

 

12, Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan

More chemical ingestion. More partying. A sense of being out on the street, both with Christian and life.

 

13. Rocks Off - The Rolling Stones

Living the bar life, hard.

 

14. I'm Waiting For My Man - The Velvet Underground

The title tells it all, as they enter into a new stage of the story.

 

15. Starman - David Bowie

Neil begins to think of himself as an outsider, an alien, but also superior to the others. A messianic period for him. He starts to see himself as a kind of cult figure.

 

16. Baby's On Fire - Brian Eno

Christian is the hot property that every man seems to want, and she is playing it.

 

17. Vicious - Lou Reed

For Karaway, people and life become vicious, especially concerning Christian.

 

18. Yer Blues - The Beatles

Karaway breaks down.

 

18. Down By The River - Neil Young

Karaway gives up on Christian, Neil, and everyone, including himself and his dreams.

 

19. Heroin - The Velvet Underground

The bottom.

 

20. No Feelings - Sex Pistols

Karaway is feeling numb and pissed off and destroyed. He ceases to care about anyone or anything.

 

21. I Am The Walrus -  The Beatles

A great sense of being something and someone other, of being outside, of total confusion, of having been destroyed, and struggling to grasp the remaining pieces that continue to fall through his fingers.

 

22. Rock and Roll Suicide - David Bowie

A cliche ending, suicide. But, "hold on and give me your hand," is a possible hope.

 

23. Hauser and O'Brien - Bugpowder - Ornette Coleman / Howard Shore

Hope. Foreshadowing what is to come after this story. The music changes to jazz. The implication of the creative individual being born from the ashes of personal devastation.

 

 

All Copyright Michael P. Toussaint 2017