I’m a Poet but I Don’t Know it
This morning I have a small insight into why ‘Luvvies’ prostrate themselves on couches and chaise longues, mopping their brows with lace handkerchiefs, and snorting snuff (or worse) because they ‘can’t possibly go on’. Having previously wanted to inject them with 40,000 volts I now realise that actually they probably still wouldn’t have moved!
Yesterday was the culmination of a lot of practise and planning and a small financial speculation. I say ‘a lot of practise’ but actually the five musicians in yesterday’s video shoot at Todmorden Unitarian Church had never all played together in the same room. Four of us (plus Ali) had been able to put together a couple of short Tuesday evening rehearsals, but with Matt living a three hour drive away this was the first day the group of us had been able to play together. Having rehearsed only twice with him and Jad (Rajendra Jadeja) before our gig last November I was pretty confident Matt would slot in well. He did.
Frank Roper from Local Sound Focus put me in contact with Jo and Rik at Todmorden Unitarian Church a couple of months back. He had kindly put my name forward as a possible artist for the Todmorden Folk Festival and while the festival had already booked its artists for April, I saw that one of the venues for the festival was this fantastic church. Ali and I had been promising since about September to hire a church hall or small chapel for a video specifically for The Smile, but we thought a space of this size would be way out of our league. Well if you don’t ask you don’t get! As soon as Rik showed us into the church last month we knew this was a perfect venue for what we wanted to do
Ali and I arrived at the church early yesterday – by 8:20 in fact because there was no traffic. We used the time between then and when Rik came along with the keys to take stills and videos of the exterior of this extraordinary place. There is something different to feast your eyes at every corner of the building, but it’s when you spend time inside a place like this that you realise how much there is to see. Well we had our small bit set up by the time the rest arrived with their amps and guitars, voices and Sunny D just before 10:00 and the first recording is timed at 11:01. Apart from an hour’s break to recharge the equipment, eat pies, and thaw out, we recorded solidly until 3pm, knocking out not just the one song but two! That’s pretty efficient.
The Sun Goes Round The Moon keeps throwing out surprises. The first was that Ali didn’t expect the original to turn out quite like it did, and both of us were totally happy with it. The second was that unbeknown to us, Emma & Kate had spent a bit of time rehearsing it and when we let them at it in the recording studio it was more on the basis that ‘we’ll use it if it’s extraordinary’. Of course they nailed it, and made a track we were already totally happy with better! The third was when Ali and I drove to Poulton to meet Kieran and the girls to discuss rehearsal days and times ahead of the gigs in May, and somehow we ended up knocking out an acoustic version, all because Kieran was trying to work out the chords on Kate’s semi-acoustic guitar. And the fourth can wait until the video from the church is released, but it just reaffirms why we are so lucky to be working with them there girls!
I don’t think I properly thawed out until this morning, and when I woke in the night and looked at the clock thought it said 7:04 when it was actually 1:04 so had a cup of tea. A few hours sleep and a short dog walk later Ozzy is sat closely observing me in my semi-recumbent posture as I wail and moan things such as ‘I simply can’t pick up an instrument today’ and ‘will my voice ever recover?’ while simultaneously glaring at me in a ‘listen mate, if you think all that posing around and wailing is going to absolve you from taking me for my lunchtime walk, you are sadly mistaken’ kind of way. So nor a ‘Luvvie’ nor a poet can I be.
The videos for live versions of The Smile and The Sun Goes Round The Moon will be available soon. Getting the material is one thing, sifting it is another, and then there is the video production to do. Soon can mean anything!
Meanwhile there is the small matter of forthcoming gigs: Friday 5th May Sound Control Manchester supporting Headsticks and Under A Banner; Thursday 25th May is your chance to experience the fabulous interior of Todmorden Church with sets from me and Duncan and our guests from Canada The Lewinskies; Saturday 27th May is our experimental ‘invitation only’ day long music event at The Fuse. We will release full details of each soon and look forward to seeing as many of you there as can make it along, to one or all.