9 months ago
It’s been awhile since my last post, I have been mainly on Instagram sounding my horn so here we are. 2023 and all that sail in her. Last year was a progressive year in so many ways, a wonderful Squeeze tour where the band clicked and everyone got on like a family on holiday. The songs sounded great and it was so lovely to see everyone who came to the sold out shows. Another tour of the UK comes in 2024, it’s a long way off but even now Im excited, and by then I will be coasting on 70 years old, hard to believe. This year covers another turning point, 50 years ago I was swimming about in shallow water waiting for something to happen and it did. I was writing songs and being at home on Combe Avenue, it was a blissful easy time. I was eager with the pen and mellow with the chords on the guitar, I was fishing around for me. There I was just sitting on my single bed lost in all the records I could afford from the record shop across the Heath, I was in a pool of music and the warmth of that water is still here today. I was hanging around with Barry who introduced me to a band who mainly played folk music, I joined playing piano. I could hardly hold down a chord but I was good at rolling joints. 1972 was a good year.
Later that year I formed a band with local chums on my estate we called ourselves Porky’s Falling Spikes, it was a loud and brash affair but it kept us off the streets. We supported Brinsley Swartz at a gig in Abbeywood and wrote some chaotic but wonderful songs. I played bass. Someone else took over rolling joints. So now here we are in 2023 50 years on and I feel never rested from the journey, I feel enormously grateful for all that has happened and that the 50p shadow keeps me inspired. Its difficult to plan ahead, I have no idea what might be around the corner but with best foot forward I can sort of see a new Squeeze album, if we find the money to record it, and my own solo album with very much the same story. Lots of plates to spin in the coming year. It may be dangerous to spin so many plates, some will fall and smash some will go on spinning for another year but if I can concentrate for more than a second something will happen.
The first order of play is to put my live show to bed, its been growing over the last few years and I think its reached a very good place, the last show I played with Melvin felt like a pinnacle. I have a few more shows to complete and then it will be time to set about a new script, and I have that plate firmly in a spin already. Edinburgh awaits. A very special Podcast to be recorded in the spring will I hope invite everyone into the new story and the lyrical content of that musical play, it’s been brewing for sometime and feels about to mature. Songwriting workshops are heading my way, one in March and one in June, both will be new and inspiring for me as I join forces with someone who is enthusiastic and completely inspired by the changes to be made. I normally do three a year but one needs to rest. Songwriting camps can be repeated virtues with songs that only really touch the sides, lovely but never much else. This time we need more focus and youth to inject fresh harmony into the songs written. I can’t wait to hit the cheese board and listen up.
In the summer Squeeze have a handful of shows at festivals up and down the land, and a nest of new songs to pick from, thats the plan. Beyond the summer who knows, beyond today who knows, it’s all to be revealed and it’s never been any different. Since my last post my health has been getting so much better although my Doctor says I should watch the weight and the cholesterol, she may be right but I can not turn down a roast or a pudding, its too wonderful. My teeth are being looked at step by step, it’s like re pointing a wall brick by brick but at least they are not by the side of my bed like my Dad’s were. No pain no gain. A few more days and I will be back in the saddle with the new words, normally I feel like its entering the inspired chamber of deep imagination, it can’t be quantified or educated it just is, I sit there and cling to the words as they appear, at least thats the hope. In 1972 there were pages of words I was in the deep end with words, the ambition was strong and the ego was yearning to be revealed, I was not diverted by social media newspapers or emails, phones were for your parents, the road was a bus ride away. Here at the shallow end I pose for a moment and breath. My creative being lept from stone to stone un those days across a stream of conciseness, today that stream is narrow and not as deep as it once was maybe because there is so much baggage to carry across the stones with me. What will people think, can I live up to the request can I not repeat the words I have already used, can I be brave and let go of my fears can I be who I am without being judged. All questions I can not answer the best option is to just be and be strong, be in the room with the words and see where they take me, if anywhere.
50 years of being in the 50p shadow has taught me many things but then none, all I can do is equip myself with me and get to work. Although work is not how I see it, writing is more like a hobby a place to build ships and planes a room of adventure and trust, a place to overcome fear. My website is being hoovered out and tweaked so come back soon and see if I managed to get out of the shallow end and to see what’s going on and what has been glued together, in the meantime enjoy the shows coming up, just a few, and I will see you soon down the shops or in the foyer of the next venue.