Category Archives: Book

Why I Write Songs

ribbons ep blog postIn the interests of living in time, rather than killing it, which is a sentiment I took from a recent blog post by the wonderful poet Claire Pollard, who was also on a train at the time of writing, I decided to use my recent long train journey back to Cornwall from London to try to express why I write songs. My desire to do this was inspired by the weird feeling I have when I look at my various social media selves, which don’t seem to bear that much relation to my actual self, the self that spent the best part of the last decade writing songs in secret, usually whilst crying/drunk/stoned etc, without feeling the slightest need to involve society or media.

However, at the ripe old age of thirty five, two things have finally sunk in (better late than never). One is that life is ridiculously short, and the less time I have left, the faster that time goes, which is unfair, but true. The other is that I have to spend most of that time making a living, unless I want to perch in a shed for the rest of my life, which I might, but equally might not, because hot showers are wondrous things. Having tried many jobs, from labouring on building sites to flower picking to teaching to gardening to busking, I have decided that the only way I can hope to be at peace is to work as hard as I possibly can to create opportunities to make my living doing the things I love. Such as writing and recording songs.

Social media is one way to create such opportunities, being a great place to share and sell these songs. However, in trying to sell my songs, I seem to end up also trying to sell myself, which in turn seems to result in the emergence of someone who doesn’t exist – someone a lot chirpier/more confident/more sorted/less baffled than I am. Which leaves me with the uncomfortable feeling that I don’t exist. It’s not false, it’s just not the whole story.

Because the selling part is not the main event. It’s a necessary evil, a by-product of the making part. The truth (and this is probably also the reason why people like me find it so hard to demand money for their efforts) is that I will keep writing songs (and books) whether or not anyone ever buys them, because I am one of those people who is constantly at risk from drowning in their own thoughts, and songs are my life raft. And since that kind of embarrassing truth just doesn’t come across very well on bubbly old social media, I decided to risk not looking very cool (again) and stick it up here, just for the record. I have no idea why it came out as a kind of poem. Blame Claire Pollard.

Why I Write Songs

I write songs because I’m not okay, and songs make not okay, okay.

I write songs for you who don’t have time to wonder at the morning,

And for you, carrying all that quiet heartache with such fortitude.

I want to make you cry.

I write songs because I’m lonely and songs are my reward for being free.

I write songs because our world is crumbling and the light is hard to see.

I write songs and now I sing them, too, because time is shorter than I thought

And this will all be over soon.

I write songs because I’m here again, and again and again and again.

And because I keep falling in love too fast, with unforgiving men.

I write songs because I happen to be there when they land on my desk

Tired out from flying.

I write songs because I’m lost, and the cost of living is too high

And songs are the only way that I can afford to fly.

I write songs to fill the gap between my longing and my dreams

Because happiness is not what it seems.

I will be launching the Ribbons EP on Saturday (5th April) 6pm at Newlyn Art Gallery, and on Sunday 13th April 3pm at Strong Adolfo’s, Wadebridge. When I have figured out the technology you will also be able to buy it from this website.

Well, this is embarrassing…

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I wrote a book.

I put me in it. I put sex in it. I put me having sex in it.

Oh dear.

We’re not talking 50 shades of cello. It’s an adventure book about love, death, freedom and busking from Norway to Portugal. It’s got muskoxen, the midnight sun, cellos, guitars, mountains, musicians, surfing, skiing, out-of-body experiences, ex-boyfriends, broken limbs, sailing boats, french doctors, Lapp huts, reindeer, the Arctic Circle and the Cabo San  Vicente.

I didn’t think about the ramifications when I sat down in my shed about a hundred years ago and stared at my ancient computer screen. MAD stuff had happened to me and I wanted to write it down. As honestly and entertainingly as I could.

And now, against all the odds, it’s getting published.

Embarrassment is the discomfort that arises when we feel like we’ve done something socially unacceptable. In the past, I have held myself back from doing a lot of things for fear they would be socially unacceptable.

Like singing my songs in public.

But now I do sing my songs in public, because I finally realised, after thirty four years of overthinking, that embarrasment, fear and being socially acceptable just don’t add up to much in the face of love, death and freedom. We’re all in it together, this magical, mysterious thing called life. And let’s face it, nobody has a clue what’s going on.

So go ahead, read all about my sex life.

If nothing else, it’ll be funny.

 

Rainbows

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RAINBOWS are lucky. I didn’t feel lucky the day I took this through the windscreen of my big yellow Iveco, one hand on the wheel, one holding the camera. It was raining.

I was heartbroken, grief-stricken and terrified, heading north on Norway’s Highway 55. But luck comes in many guises, and that lonely road turned into an extraordinary adventure.