9 years ago
‘I wonder, would you do me favour?’
The very emotional realisation that i am 60 years old, it stops me in my socks, its seems like only last week when i was 21, standing outside the Three Tons in Blackheath. How did we get here. A longer story i could never tell. When the crypt of sadness appears in my soul i know something is up, and the tears of love fill the font where i see my reflection as time traces the outline of my face. I hear my Mothers voice and i feel my Father’s passing breath as he smiles above me. I am embraced by love. I am 60. Natalie flys in from New York and the girls gather in the country to be with me, Riley stays in New York where he now lives and sends his love. Almost a whole family. Louis and the kids help me celebrate a wonderful pre birthday meal in a local pub. The Jolly Sportsman. On the big day its dinner for 40 in London and im showered with wonderful gifts and cards. I am spoilt so badly. A whole office full of gifts a whole lifetime of love, and some chaos thrown in for good measure. Birthdays like this are big events in the calendar and each time i reach a golden number something very emotional happens and the past comes back to play with me, to haunt me and tease me back into my short trousers. At my dinner Louise gave a very loving speech, my brother Lew gave some kind words on how i got to produce one of the Archers on record, and thus a studio was born. David E was there by my side, his calls saved my life. Glenn as ever my secret brother, there with me at all times in love and with great harmony. Mark Smith who rigged up a transmitter and played our first demos on air, well just across the heath. Rufus who is working on my book with me, and Danny Baker who is so kind humble and at one with his life. Julian from Rocket, Angus from Brighton, all good people, all great friends. And more, all there with love, all there to eat too much pudding and some fantastic roast spuds. It was a good night, a deep night and one that i will look back on as it will never be repeated.
The tour sprung on. I really enjoyed the getting out of bed in our pyjamas and then changing into our suits, we looked dapper and interested in ourselves. We played well all nights and along the way added the man in the golden coat, Miles with hand held microphone roaming around the audience seeking questions. Some of them witty some of them odd, but mostly loving and kind. at the Salford show Peter Kay took over for the night, this was something else, i was finding it hard to breath it was so funny. What a good and beautiful man he is. Being away from home puts pressure on any relationship and being away certainly tested the depth of the water around my knees, i waded on and in time time itself passed, this is what i have always done and by being away iam me, which is a me i have conflict with. I always have done. Its the pulling and the pushing of loneliness and love, yet i feel safe in this gentle chaotic place. i have no idea why. Being away from home certainly needs patience and understanding on al sides. Its not easy. Im not quite there yet. There is a queue. Louise is being an angel. Even if our wings are caught sometimes on sharp edges.
On tour the road crew were as ever brilliant, our set was like building a house each day and then moving it later that night, watch this. It must have been hard bloody work.
This is our show, and our show works, its was so maturing to be on stage like this i felt like we co owned the shop, it was Marks and Spencer, it was collectively us. The tour curved around the country we ploughed on at a steady speed, a tempo that suited us both. The Barn seems to becoming a place of too much isolation, we are looking at moving to London where investments will be safer and a roof will not leak with emptiness and dissatisfaction. I love Firle and would like to keep one foot there if at all possible, its finding out how that might work that is pressing me like a flower on to a page. We will get there but it won’t be a simple journey, is it ever, and it won’t be quick. Our options are many, too many as collectively we have to find compromise and happiness in joined ideals. Not easy. like being 60, its an emotional time of thinking. There is seldom simplicity in calm, since the first smack bottom to the last breath of life nothing ever goes as planned, life is a mess, but knowing life is a mess is half the battle, its how we survive and how we learn to let go, im not there yet. Im still feeling the first slap bottom. On the hillside sheep graze, they carry on in the endless munch of their journey, there seems no end in sight as they walk in a line along well trodden paths, up the downs, and downs the ups. Is life a mess for them too? Bah hum bug. And in other news, The Strypes are forging ahead with album two, it sounds pretty good it seems like everyone is being heard and a cohesive album is on its way. So thats exciting news. It seems like each month i get a dose of reality, its usually a solo gig that bring me back to earth.
This weekend i took the train to Edinburgh to play at a birthday party. The hotel was isolated miles from anywhere except perhaps a trading estate and a motorway. Inside the function room of this bleak hotel children tumbled around on the shiny floor, the tables all set up around a wooden dance floor. I sat on a small stage and set off into my songs. Nobody listened to me as i strummed through ‘Junction’, but polite applause as a sense of terror filled my inner harmony. The host sat on his table and laughed with his friends, talking persisted and it was only when i sung ‘Muscles’ that people started to sing along. ‘Cats’ went down well. ‘Tempted’, not one i do very well, went down the best, and then i left with the local agent who had booked me in his car. I then found out the host was a multi millionaire. He sold his screw making company, and he looked happy enough. My wage a pittance but hey, i was completely screwed!. His Son, a really nice chap, ran a local brewery, and i sat in my hotel room with a sandwich and thought about my life from both sides now. Three sold out London shows with Glenn, a birthday party in a function room for me. On the train back to London it was almost December. A new month and a time to write, settle and restring my bow. Its a mess, but im learning how to recognise a mess for something good and wonderful. Like the dog above, i need some help, not all of the time just some of the time. As i write this i can see The Longman from my study, a hill on the South Downs, its covered in grey mist. Outside the cold is keeping me here at my desk. Mud surrounds the barn, we are living in a field, and as time staggers through the coming months i can feel the potential of my future. I have to be confident that in being determined something really great will come, and then i can rest, take a bow and be back behind the velvet curtain. Life needs a good kicking, a few tweaks and some melted cheese. I was 60 years young and i felt the emotional heave of the ho, the elephants in the room, the standing on the hill. I know where love is. I need for nothing now, i have shoes, i have shirts i have love i have food on my table, i need for nothing now. Yet to need for nothing is to let go of the need for prayer, this is all i really need, the deepness of being heard. I say a few words and i am alone, i will always be. I am 60 and i feel as stupid as when i was 18. I know i will make many more mistakes in my life, and i will be part of change, but as i end so i begin. Its incredible to think that maybe on 10 years time i will be 70 years old, in just ten years. I snap my fingers and im there. I love the friends and family that hold me. Its almost Christmas. Ding Dong.