Creative Inconveniences

The more I lead this utterly crazy life of creating music, the more I realise that for the most part, your best ideas will come at completely inconvenient times and that you have just got to deal with it.

I cycle across the west coast of Wales, between Cardigan and Abaraeron. A musical phrase enters my head, syncopated and an odd time feel, my head continuously runs through the idea as my legs keep pedalling. I have another 400 miles and five days of cycling before I can lay my hands onto a guitar to process that idea. Besides the delirium of burning 9000 calories a day and cycling almost the entire perimeter of Wales, this idea ceases to leave my head.

I queue up for a coffee in my student town, an opening of a song comes in my head, and I frantically write it into the notes of my phone before I order a cappuccino, to which the caffeine adds to more frantic stream of ideas that are trying to pass through somewhere other than my neurological system.

A three-hour train journey, and yet another musical phrase sets itself in my brain and is wishing to be unleashed. Fortunately, I was savvy enough to take manuscript with me on my venture but alas, a baby persistently cries within the carriage and I must persist through the piercing sound frequencies that imperatively grasps the attention from a child’s parents and forge my own frequencies that are trying to express something entirely different.

And finally I have the time to sit down and pursue these ideas in my studio space when all of a sudden a light bulb sparks itself in my head and says ‘Hello there! I am a bright new idea…I’m all sparkly and stuff’ and I retort by saying ‘Go away, I’m busy, could you have just waited a week or two?’ (I could do with a cup of tea; shall I opt for the smokiness of Lapsang Souchong or the lemon zestiness of Earl grey??? Oh, that reminds me, I haven’t eaten for nearly 24 hours as I have been too busy mixing!)

As I venture through this creative wonderland, excited yet perturbed, happy yet miserable (***The Tortured artist may well be NOT a myth, we are indeed pitiful souls…read all about it I shall eventually create such a bizarre catalogue of music that most ordinary people will deem it the product of a crazed loony toon, and suitably conclude that it will fit in none other vicinity than Willy Wonka’s Chocalate Factory, only kept alive by loyal audience members that somehow see them isolated and estranged selves within this bohemian mirror.

Maybe one day, it will all subside and the endless lament of writer’s block shall instead vex me, and I shall disappear for five years (maybe grow a vineyard, or venture into carpentry, or buy a yacht). Then one day, inspiration will once strike me again, and I shall scheme a remarkable return to which I will alienate everyone by releasing my equivalent of Radiohead’s Tree Fingers.

Would I have it any other way though?


All the Love

An old lady dies of Multiple sclerosis in her late eighties. The funeral has an attendance of about forty people. The eldest daughter sits with her immediate family at the other side of the pub at the after party, as she is too disgusted to speak to most of her relatives who have not seen the lady in years and have attended the funeral as a formality. 

A man in his late twenties receives a phone call from his father, who he has not spoken to in years after an argument. The father reveals he has terminal cancer and has about six months to live. They cannot remember what the argument was about.

A son of an elderly mother only contacts her when he is in need of anything or only when it is a special occasion such as Christmas.

‘Only tragedy allows the release of love and grief, never normally seen’ – Kate Bush, All the Love, The Dreaming (1982)

Kate Bush really made an astute observation in the above lyric. The more I think about those words, the more I realise that it is entirely common for friends, family, relatives just drift away in time, and not see each other for years, or at least interact with them in a way that involves love.

The above three scenarios are all things I have observed from a close outer perspective and I have seen the anguish and regret that has been involved in all of them. It has taught me such a strong lesson to not let tragedy dictate the love you should express for those around you, because when tragedy strikes, it is almost always too late.

I am a graduate twenty-something with the blessing of still having a lot of my close but elder relatives around. As I have moved closer to my family, I am making sure that I spend time with all of them as best as I can.

I will re-iterate something, someone said to me with the most urgent conviction…it truly has stayed with me since.

Cherish them