What music do you listen to when you’re reading or writing? For ages I couldn’t listen to music at all when I wrote, which was a source of great distress. More recently I’ve been able to write briefly with any familiar music on, but if I really want to concentrate for a long time it either has to be silent, or something instrumental (Handel, Brian Setzer, Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman – I have strange tastes and spotify caters for most of them). When I’m reading I can have any familiar music on, and I often listen to music on the train purely so I can drown out the annoying conversations around me (particularly those loud, one-sided, mobile phone ones) so that I can focus on my book, but when I was a teenager I found silence made me jumpy and music was sometimes too distracting so I had to have a tape of soothing, innocuous music I could use as background when I settled down (alone in the house) with a book (though I seem to recall I could do homework with music on). Funny how these things change – I’m still hoping for the future ability to write for hours while listening to those hair metal stations on my internet radio.