Patrons will know this one. I was making a collection of new songs (“album” doesn’t quite sound right), which there was a series of behind the scenes webisodes made for. I’ll add those here soon, but this is Chapter 2 of that making of.
I put the idea to bed for a bit, partly because I was busy with live stuff, partly because I’d lost connection with it. But, it would be a great thing to finish off, so I’m picking it up. Dusting it off. It sounds awkward, and a little ugly. It lacks focus. But the stories it tells are worth telling.
So this is the Captain’s Log. Written word this time around. I’m not sure how useful all that footage of me sitting in a room is. Log II is this, me picking it back up. Log I as it’s now referred to is the series of videos in the Patreon. I will try and ship often, as the modern way. Snapshots of audio, images. It’s an open, unfinished book.
It’s fair to say, l’ve had a muddled career. 3 years ago, I thought it was over before it had really started. It sounds awfully dramatic, but I was fully expecting to have called time by now. I couldn’t move forward as a live performer. At least not in the model I was working in.
The solo acoustic troubadour model never really suited me, in retrospect. I play guitar, I’m solo, that’s just where I landed. I was never particularly good at it. My teenage obsession with Nick Drake was fully revived in 2015. I had a body of songs indebted to Pink Moon, called Flesh + Dust. It’s complex finger picking and open tuning felt authentic-I’d arrived at my place with the acoustic guitar. I’d finally found myself on this instrument.And then my hands really started to fuck up.
I was pushing myself HARD. And I guess, looking back, it was too far. My trands would tighten up, then shake, even after a few minutes playing. It got worse. I could barely get to the end of a song. It was no better in the studio. Comping takes piece-by-piece was a sin to me, and I couldn’t even do that.
So I figured, I was done.
If you’d told me then I was month’s away from Imogen Heap handing me a pair of A. I. Cyborg gloves that would mean I could play music in thin air, I’d be wondering what the hell you’d taken…
“Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the painter who dares and who has broken the spell of ‘you can’t’ once and for all.”
Bleary eyed, I’m staring at the white box. Where the text goes. There must be something meaningful to say.
It’s been a strange year so far. Everyone under this roof has been ill. Bugs, injuries, colds, flus; we’ve been wiped out. Cabin fever has me spooked. I’ve no idea how to make anything right now.
There’s good news. Strange news. I applied for a grant before Christmas. Arts Council England’s Developing Your Creative Practice award. I won. I WON. I keep saying it out loud. I’ve got the green light. I applied to fund the development of the new live show. My first tour, The Gloves Are On, was… all of the things. It gave me a career. It gave me an audience. It gave me headaches. All the things I wished I could have achieved, I get to shoot for now.
That’s important; you can’t do everything all at once. You just can’t. That’s totally obvious, and yet we try to. As an artists, we want to be every aspect of our expression immediately. Right now. But we can wait. We can take our time.
So the canvas is blank. The books are balanced. And the diary is clear. Now I have to clear my head, rub my eyes, and focus.