Gladiator Playlist

This is a playlist I was asked to write a while ago for an Arena 13 promotion.

What would your playlist look like?


The following songs are favourites of mine and I sometimes listen to them to get me in the mood for writing although I then write my books in silence. They are also visually important to me because I stream them on my iPad and watch the videos that accompany the songs.

They would also be useful for a combatant to listen to whilst preparing to fight in Arena 13!

(1) The Pepsi Advert: ‘We Will Rock You. Or the Queen version of ‘We Will Rock You’

In the advert the three female combatants wait their turn to enter an arena and fight. They beat their shields and weapons to create a metallic rhythmical thunder. I like the build-up followed by the chants, cheers and accompaniment of the crowd. It creates anticipation. Or if you prefer listen to Freddy Mercury (the greatest of all Rock Arena performers) strutting his stuff across the stage. He looks ready to do battle! Either version would get you in the mood to fight in Arena 13.

(2) ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie

This too is stirring stuff and in my mind has a close association with my book. After all combat in Arena 13 is a kind of dance. I really like the video too because it features a pair of red shoes. Red shoes will play an important role in the plot.

(3) ‘Love Song for a Vampire’ by Annie Lennox

This has tremendous emotional power and generates atmosphere. It is also linked to one of my favourite films: ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ directed by Francis Ford Coppola. This makes me think of the character in my book called Hob, the rogue djinn who terrorizes the city of Gindeen. He takes both blood and souls so he is something of a vampire himself! Sometimes he also fights in Arena 13 and those he defeats are never seen again.

(4) ‘The whole of the Moon’ by ‘The Waterboys’

I particularly like the imagery in the video of the song that I watch. It is full of scenes that would look good and appropriate on any cover of a fantasy novel. Also the characters in Arena 13 only see part of the world that they inhabit. The truth lies beyond the barrier of mist and fear that imprisons their land. They need to go through it to see the whole of the moon!

(5) ‘Turkish Delight’ by Cleo Laine

This needs to be listened to many times in order to truly appreciate the genius of the singer. Cleo Laine uses her voice as an instrument and it makes me think of the skill of patterning that artificers such as Tyron practise in the book. Using wurdes of Nym they seek to craft sentience into the lacs that fight alongside men in Arena 13. It is a dance of verbal patterns to match the dancing feet of combatants. It is what we now sometimes call ‘coding’.

(6) ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ by Cindy Lauper

I like the sheer exuberance and energy of this song and the classic video. Cindy makes me think of Kwin, the girl heroine in Arena 13. It is a male dominated society so girls and women are not allowed to fight in arena 13. However they can take part in stick-fighting! Kwin is a rebel.

(7) ‘We are the Champions’ by Queen

This is a rousing anthem that spells out what most combatants in Arena 13 strive to be – the best of the best!

(8) ‘Just Give Me a Reason’ by Pink

This is about a turbulent broken relationship that might possibly be fixed. At the heart of Arena 13 there is also a slowly developing relationship between Leif and Kwin (the two main characters). That too might be stormy.

(9) ‘Glory Days’ by Bruce Springsteen

This is another rousing anthem relevant to the book. The song looks back to days of glory that took place for the young. Leif looks to glory in the future but not only are combatants killed they are sometimes maimed so badly they can never fight again. Will that be Leif’s fate too?

(10) ‘Paperback Writer’ by the Beatles

I have to finish with this because many years ago I wanted to be a paperback writer but kept getting rejected, I loved listening to this song and still do.

Joseph Delaney

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