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Narnia soundtrack to be heard for the first time on new CS Lewis jukebox

By Linda Stewart

He's been an inspiration to generations of readers - but CS Lewis has also influenced the likes of U2, The Waterboys and Queen.

That's according to BBC music broadcaster Stuart Baillie, who has been investigating the links between the east Belfast-born writer and many of our most acclaimed music artists.

As part of next week's CS Lewis Festival in east Belfast, he will be presenting a CS Lewis Jukebox featuring everything from Queen to Liam Gallagher and XTC.

It came about after a conversation with Mike Scott from The Waterboys, whose fascination with all things Narnia has cropped up in tracks including 'The Whole of the Moon'.

Scott recalled telling U2 frontman Bono that an old lamp-post with a piece broken off near his home in Dublin looked like a Narnia lamp-post, Stuart says.

Meanwhile, Bono's demonic Mephisto was based on Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters - and the link with this devil's advocate was made explicit when the book appeared in the video for Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me.

"After that I was told that Freddie Mercury, was a huge fan of CS Lewis and some of the early Queen music was influenced by the sci fi works of CS Lewis," Stuart said.

"Then there's XTC - and before you know it there are about 20 songs that are very heavily inspired by CS Lewis."

Other artists include Irish band Aslan and American band Silver Chair, although the canon is much smaller than the music inspired by JRR Tolkien, a fellow member of The Inklings, a group of writers who used to meet in the Eagle & Child pub in Oxford.

"A lot of bad prog rock was inspired by Tolkien," Stuart concedes.

"The Inklings as a group of writers spread their influence on music far and wide - but I would argue that CS Lewis has inspired much better tunes!"

The CS Lewis-inspired jukebox is at Boundary Brewing at 6pm on Thursday, November 19.

Other highlights of the festival include the premiere of The Inklings by Roger Courtney, performed by The Clarence Players.

Meanwhile, those taking part in the Bus Trip to Burt on November 28 will get a preview of the seven Narnia-inspired sculptures which will soon be gracing the new CS Lewis square at Connswater.

Tours on bike and foot will explore the places that inspired the young Jack, who went on to become a WW1 soldier, a lecturer at Oxford and Cambridge, an expert in medieval and renaissance literature, poet and sci fi writer.

For full programme details of these and other events, visit Follow the Festival on Facebook /CSLewisFestival and Twitter @CSLewisFest.

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