Several people have asked me about it and frankly ive fobbed you off a bit, sorry about that but no is currently where I’m at.
Obviously no offence to anyone who is, these are difficult times for the industry and people must do what they must do, it just feels unlikely to be the fix for me.
First and foremost – it’s nothing like a gig, sorry but it isn’t, I’ve always been of the opinion that good gigs are testiment to the quality of the audience rather than performer. There’s a specific alchemy that can only happen in that room together. As the audience you’ve got a job to do, you’re not passive, you’re not watching telly. The performer offers you something and unless you take it up, it falls, the songs have to land somewhere, you have to catch them. Like a weird emotion tennis! It isn’t possible to do that on screen even live so it may as well be, rehearsed, recorded and edited, a one sided offering.
I need to see you, I need to feel your presence in the room, no amount of encouraging facebook comments will be the same, they’ll simply be distracting. So for the foreseeable future I have no plans to stream you things, but that is not to say that I’ve forgotten you, I’ve thought about it and come up with something I can stand by, something more me, my own unique solution so please hang on in there and wait for news of that next week…
I always feel a pressure to say something at this time of year, I spend all year using words in a particular order to sum it all up and come to conclusions. This is harder than other years as we approach an entire new decade, we need to put the last one finally to rest.
Well for the good and the bad, I do feel like I’m ready to say to goodbye to it.
Goodbye to a decade long career in one seemingly inalterable duo form, to its beauty, to the success of it, to the power it had, to the dissonance of that and his resentment, to his thanklessness, to its positivity vacuum, its growing toxicity, to how painful it had become to sustain. It will never be undone. That work is there forever. A testament to talent and hard work, to my strength and endurance; and proof that however hard the lesson I can learn it. Sometimes the winning move is to give up playing entirely and leave the table with your head held high, in the knowledge you did all you could with what you had.
And so let it be buried at Sea
This year I began my new decade early by recording and releasing ‘In All Weather’ as a solo artist again. Brave and true as I have always been, prepared for failure but pleased to fly. That is how I intend to continue.
You know me, always got plenty of ideas, always planning a few moves ahead. So I have some small and some big plans ready for next year, professionally and personally, I’m excited to try them all out…
From now on it’s nothing but Poise, Poetry & Pride for me
Anything else can do one. Be nice or be gone, art is not a competitive sport, my love is not finite but it is precious and you can’t have it if you don’t acknowledge its value.
And finally… my Resolution with the poise of poetry and the pride to share it with you even though it’s rubbish
#Poem 9 I do not speak subtext anymore No longer do I wrangle with the entangled communication If you have something to say, just say it
However unkind. I promise not to mind more for your honesty
But don’t try to blind me with your offensive defensibility The trick you stick with is the cruelest of slights The slow trickle of truth from a sewn mouth The barbed knife, Insidious insinuation device
Regardless the work is all mine, to refuse to find the hidden messages To change my ears and the way that I hear things And what I take to heart.
A place of limited space must not have an open gate policy
I must finally learn that all must earn their time For a kingdom of carefully crafted kindness
I spent the afternoon rescuing these rare Formication Cd’s. Some of which is here on Spotify the red ‘Icons for a New Religion’ jewel case you can see isn’t on there so it was worth saving. Once these are gone it could all but disappear. Formication is the electronic industrial noise duo of my Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft formed in 2003
I had to individually wipe the dust and mud!?! off between 50-100 copies. They had been shoved in an attic or garage, some dank corner somewhere. Hidden away like a guilty or inconvenient truth. Alec had let them be and he needs to change that.
If you love someone you should take care of the things they care about. Artistic endeavour is so often a difficult one for those that do not make things to appreciate and handle with care. But your dreams are your dreams and you’re entitled to them however unprofitable and time consuming they may be.
These creations are no less a documentation of your life and times than a collection of photographs would be.
You get what you’re willing to accept in life, some people always seem come out of things on top, none of their dreams ever end up in the garage, and that’s because they will not accept less than that. They’ve got an idea of what they’re worth. So if you allow your dreams to be consigned to the basement you carry some responsibility for whether or not they ever happen.
If you neglect things they will perish and may leave you forever.
If you’re the kind of person that just likes to listen and decide for yourself what a song is about, or you don’t care about lyrics and you don’t care to know, then I suggest you don’t read on. This is for those of you who pour over lyric books and have questions about “why this line says this”.
My intention here is to provide a bit of wider context for this song but it’s not for the faint hearted…
Lyrics: You’ve got your problems But I’m the one that needs to change You’re so angry But I’m the one that’s acting strangely You don’t speak clearly But I’m not hearing you right And I’m the only person fighting in this fight It would all be fine If I didn’t mind Everything would be alright If I didn’t mind If I just didn’t mind
You say you’ve got feelings But you don’t want to talk You’ll only concede When you know I’m gonna walk I’ve never known frustration like this in my life Cos only you use silence like others use a knife
It would all be fine If I didn’t mind Everything would be alright If I didn’t mind If I just didn’t mind
You won’t give me words that I could use to feel ok You’d rather swallow them all than give any away I know you’re going to starve me until I waste away You’ve always pushed me further to try to make me stay
It would all be fine If I didn’t mind Everything would be alright If I didn’t mind If I just didn’t mind
This song is about emotional and psychological abuse by gaslighting and passive aggression. It’s about the distortion of reality and how the blame is shifted on to the victim silently and seemingly imperceptibly. Realising this is key to escaping it and being able to articulate clearly what it is that’s happening goes some way to resolving it internally.
nature of passive aggression is such that its difficulty to pinpoint gives it a
deniability. Complaining about the virtually imperceptible micro-aggressions
makes you look crazy, as each one taken on their own looks innocuous. And you
cannot prove the absence of something, the absence of kindness, approval or
is a slow death by a thousand slights, a crushing, cloying, cold and suffocating
strangling in silence.
led to believe that your response to this behaviour is the issue, that your
reaction comes from nowhere, an anger with no basis in the other persons
I thought for a good few years that I must be negative, paranoid, too highly strung and with an anger management problem. It turned out as soon as I ceased interacting with this person my anger and confusion receded and has all but disappeared now he isn’t in my life.
This song is my documentation of a toxic and dysfunctional dynamic. To redefine the hijacked narrative because its power is its silence.
Lyrically it started life as a poem I began to write as an attempt to explain what was happening to me, the first line I had for this song came from this section of the poem
I have tried to leave this house So many times I have nudged every window Climbed down the drainpipe Only to find you in the garden brandishing a silent knife Ready to twist my words to mince
The image of the ‘silent knife’ became – ‘Only you use silence like others use a knife’ . The rest grew out from there. The title/chorus ‘If I Didn’t Mind’ hinges on the idea that it is my reaction being characterised as the only problem. My attempt to refute muttered slights, or confront disparaging subtext was seen as confrontational, combative trouble making. Many times being accused of making something out of nothing but it didn’t feel like nothing to me, it wasn’t nothing to me, it wasn’t meant to be nothing to me, it was specifically intended to hurt me. To wound me and erode my confidence so I wouldn’t be strong enough to leave. The verse is made up of pairs of conflicting statements which encapsulates the psychological technique of gaslighting, where the antagonist projects their bad behaviour, anger and deception onto the protagonist invisibly.
‘You don’t speak clearly but I’m not hearing you right…’
My hope in writing this song was that I could define what was happening to me. I could give a concrete reality to myself amidst all the mythology I was being made complicit in. To take a mirror to my gaslighter and say “this is what you’re doing to me, it’s real, I can see it, I can explain it, so now it exists and you cannot convince me that it doesn’t anymore, fuck you, goodbye.”
So I did warn you! Thanks for making it this far, sorry it’s been a bit heavy but you know, it was. Don’t worry about me though I’m ok now, I lived to tell the tale and that’s what I’m doing.
If you’ve enjoyed this wider context I’ll be releasing a lyric book with extra info for each song (not all as dark as this one) with the ‘In All Weather’ album. It will be available to preorder on Bandcamp soon. Preorder the album here
As an artist you
HAVE to believe that your body of work has an Intrinsic value in the face of
figures and paperwork to the contrary. It is so hard to approach meetings,
offers and negotiations knowing that nothing on paper apparently supports this
It’s a struggle and I struggle with it but if you yourself can’t retain the notion that your entire life’s work has a value and potential to grow beyond its humble position it will simply be impossible to convince a prospective investor that it does.
Remember that YOU have been investing in it for years and at the point you wish to decline an offer in the hope of better you will almost certainly be told by someone that this is risky. It is risky but so is ploughing every ounce of your time, energy and available funds into it. You’ve already done that bit, the hard bit, this is simply holding your nerve.
Half the industry runs on that fear, that this is the best you can expect out of it, so stick, don’t twist and don’t shout. Not everyone is trying to drive down price in concern of nothing but the bottom line. But EVERYONE will tell you they are in it for the music, this will only be true in certain cases and you have to get good at spotting bullshit when you see it.
I’ve never believed
in the elusive and intangible “x-factor” nor do I believe that you
get your “one moment”. This is the weaponisation of fear, if you’re
talented and worked hard enough to earn an opportunity the chances are that isn’t
the only opportunity you’ll ever be offered, it doesn’t work like that. If you
haven’t had any yet well then there are likely to be a few around the corner or
down the line or along the road or whatever your favourite analogy is.
People in this industry predominantly back a winning horse, most wait for it to be within a hair’s breadth of the finish line before lending their support to it. This is the most infuriating bind of the whole thing in my opinion. That the universal perception of your imminent winning then makes it all the more inevitable and conversely the widespread perception that you are still many yards from the line makes it all the more so.
You kind of need
that one influential person to inadvertently misread the figures and correctly
or incorrectly (not a distinction worth making) identify you as this year’s
grand national favourite to win and thus it may well be so.
The only winning
tactics are perseverance and self belief as I can see it. The rest is time and
luck, neither of which can be controlled or circumvented. So you can go to a
million masterclasses on social media strategy and all the workshops on
co-writing, collaboration and creative collectives but it’s a waiting game.
Like most things in life what you really need is confidence, hope and patience.
So it’s a thanks but
no thanks this time from me, I’m waiting for a better offer than that…