Do Rock Concerts Count as Research?

On Saturday, I saw the final concert in what is possibly the final tour ever for the rock band Genesis. Fantastic concert, fabulous band, great experience.

So how, you ask, does a Genesis concert relate to the Regency? In, oh, so many ways! Here are just a handful:

1. The founding members of Genesis all met while students at Charterhouse School, which Wikipedia explains is “one of the original nine English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868.” (The other eight are Eton, Harrow, Rugby, Westminster, Winchester, St Paul’s, Merchant Taylors’, and Shrewsbury.)

Other famous alumni of Charterhouse (which was founded in 1611) include Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, William Blackstone (of “Blackstone’s Commentaries”), Henry Luttrell, Henry Siddons (son of Sarah Siddons), William Godwin (Mary Shelley’s half-brother), and Thackeray.

2. If Gerard Butler exemplifies how an insanely muscular Regency man might look under his clothes, then surely Genesis are a great example of what a Regency progressive rock band would sound like???

3. Casual radio listeners probably associate Genesis with their hits from the late 1970’s through early 1990’s, songs like “Invisible Touch” and “I Can’t Dance,” which were often accompanied by lighthearted videos.

But many of their fans are more interested in their earlier albums, both those with their first lead singer, Peter Gabriel, and also the first few with their second lead singer, Phil Collins. (Phil, by the way, did not go to Charterhouse; he was a child actor who once played the Artful Dodger in a London production of the musical “Oliver!”)

Songs on these earlier albums were rife with the sort of allusions that might occur to a well-educated public school boy: references to classical mythology (Narcissus, Tiresias, Salmacis, Lamia), Lilith, Arthurian legend, the Book of Revelation, Marlowe, Shakespeare, John Bunyan, Keats, Wordsworth, and Wuthering Heights, to name a few.

Of these, it was the classical allusions that have always struck me most. I think it’s far too easy, as writers, to have our Regency gentleman running around talking about Shakespeare and Johnson and Fielding and Sheridan and Austen and Burney and Byron — folks who come to our minds when we think of either England or, more specifically, the English Regency. But I try to remind myself that our Regency gentlemen had educations that focused on the classical world, not on England. They probably went around talking about Hector and Neptune and Cicero much more than we give them credit for.

So, you see, Genesis have helped me write better Regencies. πŸ™‚

And don’t forget our next meeting of the Jane Austen Movie Club, on November 6. (Always the first Tuesday of the month.) We’ll be discussing the 1996 BBC/A&E adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, a.k.a. the Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle version!

Cara
Cara King, who never saw a lamb lie down on Broadway

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

The difference between the Peter Gabriel led Genesis and the Phil Collins era has always interested me. It’s like they’re two different bands who just happen to have the same name. I wonder if it’s because of Collin’s background as a child actor in musicals.

doglady
14 years ago

I would definitely say that Phil Collins’ background in musical theater had a huge influence on his musical style. Music is a language and it does have accents, for lack of a better word – country music has its accent, pop music, musical theater, opera. The accent consists of the tonalities each style uses, the color of the tone, the texture, the vocal style. Of course any style can be faked, but your true “accent” cannot be unlearned. It is never really gone. I have sung all sorts of music, but as a trained opera singer, there are some things I just cannot change about the way I sing. And Cara, as far as I am concerned you can make just about anything research, even if it is just to observe human nature. Always entertaining and enlightening in any age.

Rob W.
14 years ago

I agree with doglady – anything can be made into research. The trick is convincing the tax man.

“Follow you, Follow me” is way under-rated.

Rob

Lois
14 years ago

Ah, now I get it! πŸ™‚ Yep, totally see how Genesis = Regency. πŸ™‚ Sounded like loads of fun!!

And as for the 1995 P&P. . . . . . COOL!!!! πŸ˜‰

Lois

Cara King
14 years ago

I wonder if it’s because of Collin’s background as a child actor in musicals.

I do wonder how much influence that had…though perhaps it had more on the video side of things. Musically, I suspect he’s more of a jazz/rock guy than a musical theater guy, though I’m sure his background helps him structure certain sorts of songs.

Then again, Genesis is far more than Phil Collins, and even their later albums contain far more than the poppish songs that got radio airplay. They never gave up their progressive leanings — all their albums contain very long songs that are structured in classical-music-style movements, have a variety of bizarre time signatures and non-rock key changes, etc…

And Cara, as far as I am concerned you can make just about anything research, even if it is just to observe human nature.

Yes! That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it. πŸ™‚

The trick is convincing the tax man.

Aw, come on, Rob, surely Genesis tickets count as “continuing education”! πŸ™‚

“Follow you, Follow me” is way under-rated.

I do think it’s a great song, particularly the verse. I don’t adore all their ballads, but I really like that one.

And as for the 1995 P&P. . . . . . COOL!!!! πŸ˜‰

Glad you’re please, Lois! (I forgot to announce it last week, so I hope people will have time…)

Cara

Tracy Grant
14 years ago

My tastes run more to opera, classical instrumental, and musicals, but I totally agree practically anything can count as research, because practically anything can feed an author’s creativity. I love stories about school fellows, so the bit about Genesis meeting at school is interesting. Now a group of Regency guys who met at school and play music…

janegeorge
14 years ago

In my universe Peter Gabriel is God, so it is too bad he didn’t make that tour. I think “scheduling conflicts” was the official reason. My dh is a diehard Lamb Lies Down on Broadway fan.

And, since whenever I hear Gabriel’s Solisbury Hill, I think of Harry Potter and portkeys, it is absolutely plausible to connect a rock concert with the Regency. No sweat.

The IRS is going to be a lot tougher. They don’t like fun deductions. You’ll have to prove you suffered in one way or another.
Long lines to the potty? Insufferable potheads? Did the guy behind you spill a beer down your shirt?

Cara King
14 years ago

Jane George wrote:

I think “scheduling conflicts” was the official reason.

Apparently, there is still some hope it may happen! And that would be amazing. If they get Peter, Steve Hackett will also join them, and how amazing would that be… BTW, your dh has great taste! πŸ™‚

The IRS is going to be a lot tougher. They don’t like fun deductions. You’ll have to prove you suffered in one way or another.

LOL! Now that you mention it… There was this guy behind us — kept singing along. Loudly. Out of key. Off the beat. Surely the IRS will understand my pain!

(I finally asked him to sing more quietly…and he did. Sometimes.)

Cara

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

2. If Gerard Butler exemplifies how an insanely muscular Regency man might look under his clothes, then surely Genesis are a great example of what a Regency progressive rock band would sound like???

Hey. This works for me!!

janegeorge
14 years ago

**Apparently, there is still some hope it may happen!**

Oooooh-oooo-ooooh!

Todd
14 years ago

Interesting you should mention all the strange allusions in Genesis lyrics…

I think the question is not: Do rock concerts count as research? or: Does Genesis have anything to do with the Regency? The question is: do your blog readers want to read about Genesis?

After all, there would be no point in blogging about it, no matter how much it was connected to the Regency, if it led to a mass Exodus of your readership. Basically, it all comes down to Numbers: the most Regency-inspired topic, if no one wanted to hear it, would inspire nothing but Lamentations.

Sure, Genesis is a great progressive rock band; everyone probably has a favorite Song, of Songs from their repertoire. And Cara, like all the Kings I know, is a big Genesis fan. But what about the rest of you? That’s the real question.

Basically, it’s like the old Proverbs say: when the Chronicles of these times have finally been written, then we can all be Judges. And if we like what we read, then you can count it as a Job well done.

Todd-who-couldn’t-quite-manage-to-work-in-the-word-“Leviticus”

Megan Frampton
14 years ago

I like your reasoning, Cara.

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Very clever blog, Cara, and ditto for the comment, Todd.

Genesis was the first rock band that my younger brother introduced me to. Then came U2, Metallica, and onwards. Come to think of it, he hasn’t been at it lately. Hm.

insanely muscular: Oho, Cara. Bushelful of brownie points to you in the mail, courtesy of Diane.

I forgot to announce it last week, so I hope people will have time…

Oh, you mean, like everyone gets a chance to watch it for the (n+1)st time, where n is anywhere from 17 to 49? πŸ™‚

Keira-who’s-wondering-if-Broadway-has-ever-been-stewn-with-lambs

Heather S
14 years ago

Oh, you mean, like everyone gets a chance to watch it for the (n+1)st time, where n is anywhere from 17 to 49? πŸ™‚

I’m embarrassed to admit I actually have not seen this version (or um, any version more recent than the Elizabeth Garvie one (not counting a) the Wishbone version or b) Bride and Prejudice)

And based on the holds vs. copies at both SPL and KCLS, it’s at least three weeks out from both library systems! Perhaps I should break down and find a video rental store or something. . .

Bad Heather! Poor planning!

Todd
14 years ago

Heather,

You could borrow our copy…or maybe that’s not really practical. πŸ™‚

I’ll summarize it for you: it’s all about Elizabeth Bennet, who is played by the beautiful Jennifer Ehle. In the early scenes she wears this Regency gown…then later, she has other outfits…

Oh, and Colin Firth is in it, too, I guess.

Todd-who-remembers-it-clearly

Todd
14 years ago

Keira-who’s-wondering-if-Broadway-has-ever-been-stewn-with-lambs

I don’t know about lambs; but given the price of theater tickets there, when you leave you’ve definitely been shorn.

Todd-who-has-been-fleeced-there-several-times

Cara King
14 years ago

not counting a) the Wishbone version or b) Bride and Prejudice

Wishbone counts! Maybe we should do that one next month. πŸ™‚

And Bride and Prejudice definitely counts. It even has tract housing in California! And that cuts to the core of what Jane Austen was all about.

And Keira — good to know you know Genesis! And Colin Firth. Say, what if Mr. Darcy joined Genesis? What instrument would he play?

Cara
whose husband is very silly

Lawrence King
14 years ago

The difference between the Peter Gabriel led Genesis and the Phil Collins era has always interested me. It’s like they’re two different bands who just happen to have the same name.

The first two post-Gabriel albums, “Trick of the Tail” and “Wind & Wuthering”, were quite similar to the Peter-era Genesis. But then they lost Steve Hackett, and then Phil started writing more, and then Mike mostly lost interest in progressive rock and started writing more pop stuff. So you eventually got a band that had two pop-oriented musicians and one prog-oriented musician.

But the transition was gradual, it seems to me.

Their earliest albums really do seem to be written by young English public school kids who draw on mythology and book-learning — very different than most English rock. And then “Selling England By the Pound” compares traditional royal England with modern commercial England.

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Mr. Darcy would definitely be playing a horn. πŸ˜‰

Cara, lambs are said to be meek, aren’t they?

Cara King
14 years ago

By the way, everyone, that cool and knowledgeable Lawrence person is my big brother. Taught me all I know about Genesis. πŸ™‚ (Hi, Larry!)

And then “Selling England By the Pound” compares traditional royal England with modern commercial England.

Which, in a way, was the transition they were to make too, I suppose! BTW, I love the way they subtly drop in references to “Wimpys” and “Tesco” without actually having them in the lyrics…the writer in me admires that… πŸ™‚

Keira wrote:

Mr. Darcy would definitely be playing a horn. πŸ˜‰

As long as he has no horns on his head, that’s fine. πŸ™‚

Cara, lambs are said to be meek, aren’t they?

This is a trick question, right…?

Cara

Todd
14 years ago

Cara wrote:

Cara
whose husband is very silly

Takes one to know one, lamb chop. πŸ™‚

Todd-who-is-feeling-a-bit-sheepish