14 October 2003

While browsing recently in the music section of the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble, I discovered a short shelf of books called Thirty Three and a Third, a new series of paperbacks about classic pop albums like Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Dusty in Memphis. Most of the books are straightforward works of criticism and appreciation, but one, Joe Pernice's Meat is Murder, stands out: it's actually a work of fiction inspired by the Smiths album of the same name. Which strikes me as an incredibly nifty idea. I think it'd be fascinating to see a series of novels inspired by famous pop albums, and it's too bad that the Thirty Three and a Third series doesn't include more of them.

Noah pointed out a while back that a musical based on the songs of Bruce Springsteen would be a great idea, because the story is already there. Similarly, with some albums, it isn't hard to imagine what the novelization would look like. Meat is Murder could only be about a depressed teenager in the eighties, and is. OK Computer, which is scheduled to have a Thirty Three and a Third book of its own out soon, would have to be huge, paranoid, and Pynchonesque. (And who else could write it but Pynchon, or maybe Neal Stephenson?) Not to preempt Noah or anything, but I'd love to read a book called Automatic For the People. And a few months ago I was giving serious thought to writing a screenplay called The Bends, which oddly enough was going to be autobiographical.

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