Wychwood and Friends
"Back at the Crossroads"
So, as I had said previously, I was very flattered to be invited by Catherine Williams to join Wychwood and Friends to play at The Horns. And unsurprisingly it turned out to be a very very pleasant evening, not only from the great performances (of Mojo: Cathy and Kevin Rowe; Wychwood: Catherine Williams, Brian Hurrel, Paul David Stone; Ian Cooper) but also the conversations I had. It was a very heart warming evening.
There's always a danger of reading too much into these things (no surprise if you've read Looking For Clues) but driving across to Crondall last night it did occur to me that the last time I was in that area I was at similar point artistically in my life over twenty years ago. After getting a degree, instead of getting a "proper job" I had a series of casual jobs whilst I pursued my fledgling interest in writing and recording. After a few years I eventually ended up working in a garden nursery, Goddards, opposite The Horns where I played last night. It was around that time, having "not got anywhere", that I decided to become a secondary school teacher. It feels like I'm at similar point now. I'm not making enough money and I need to address that. What do I do? Return to the corporate world?
Looking back I don't know if I made the right or the wrong decision all those years ago getting a "proper job". I became a successful teacher and then a successful technical trainer / writer but always, always, always there was this nagging inside that there was something more for me; that although I seemed to be doing well I wasn't quite firing on all cylinders, as if my life was always slightly overcast, as if it was always in the shadows. Since I left the corporate world I've never felt like that even though I've had some pretty dark times since then, such as when my PC went wrong and my dying comprehensively on stage. But during those times I never ever felt that I was doing anything less than really living, whereas towards the end of my time in the corporate world, I just felt like I was dying. This is not meant to be disparaging to those working in the corporate world, (or to those dying!) I'm just saying that I was far from fulfilled by it.
Maybe this is all pie in the sky stuff. Maybe I'm just a dreamer, unprepared to accept the realities of life. But these past few years have felt magical and I really don't want to let go of that. I didn't realise when I wrote You've Got The magic Back ten years before it would be so prescient. Remember that PC problem that I just mentioned? After two months of fighting with that machine, at the end of my tether, seemingly at the end of the road, I decided to look at what I suspect no one ever wants to look at: the motherboard. I'm not an electronic engineer, what was I going to do? What could I fix? But do you know what? I discovered a loose capacitor. And do you know what also? I fixed it with a bit of BluTac (a few years later once all the "important work" was complete I used a soldering iron). I hated those two wasted months; I was really cast adrift but I also learnt, and I continue to get strength from this, that if I sense there's a solution I have the tenacity to find it eventually. It happens in the songwriting too. (You think those songs came easily? Like blood out of a stone sometimes!) And that's also how I feel now. I'm back at these crossroads again but sense I'm going to take a different turn this time.
Okay, so there's a danger perhaps of taking myself a little too seriously here (and of course, just being plain wrong) but I guess I'm just talking about what I find interesting. I decided to go on this adventure and some people will relate to it and be interested. And some won't.
There was one other bit relevance to being at the Horns last night and that was that my first studio recording experience was in Crondall all those years ago. It was the first time I recorded Love You To Death - it seemed appropriate (in more ways than one) to finish my first set (I didn't realise there'd be two) on that one.