hi guys and girls
are you in the mood for a diary? it’s been a while, but i find myself with a clear allotted space of time, high up in a sunny bay window looking over suburban porto.. so here we are.
this would usually be setlist time, but that can wait a bit. i took the tram down to the festival site last night to check out the vibe in the park, and the space we are playing in. i bumped into a few fans of the band, and they asked me to play certain tracks. i embrace the ones i want to sing, and smile politely when they ask for ‘modern rock song’, knowing it’s never going to cut the mustard at midnight on a friday night in music mad portugal.
the sun has burned through the mist this morning, and that could be a metaphor for the past 6 months or so, personally speaking. (and we are speaking personally here, for there is no one else listening)
you might think that ‘rock stars’ live guilded lives, and that everything is allright forever once you get your first gold disc. but of course 99% of my existence is the same as anybodies, as it pertains to the personal, to family, to work, to spirituality, to the desire for leisure, to the everyday pangs of worry and pain..
at the end of all that stuff, i get to write a setlist for tonight’s show. that’s the only difference. and on my days off i write a shopping list instead.
an aside: the gold disc.
certainly not a life changing entity, either in a material or status sense. i think perhaps 3 B&S records have gone gold. arab strap, sinister and tigermilk. and then only in the uk, when you have sell 100,000 of them over time. with each record we had, we just limped over that line.
and you have to pay for them, they don’t just ‘arrive’. it’s like being awarded an entry to a debrett’s guide, only to be bombarded by debrett’s asking you to subscribe to their various publications. the gold disc people pester you to buy them.
‘arab strap’ was the first one we got, and i got one for my mum and dad just for the novelty value. it hung over the telly at home, but caused awkwardness every time friends, and particularly the minister, came to visit, on account of the ‘funny’ title. my mum couldn’t wait to give me it back when she moved house.
anyway, back to today. i just had a lovely few days in castelldefels, near barcelona, with my wife and son. we parted at the airport, they headed back to glasgow. i popped over to porto for tonight’s show, then we leave for houston in the morning for the start of another american tour.
i’m genuinely looking forward to the tour, and tonight. absolutely savouring the feeling. and this is what i mean by the ‘mist clearing’. previous tours and recent times, i’ve just been holding on, clinging on. i often feel like arthur dent from the ‘hitchhiker’s guide’, stowing away on a vogon ship, leaving the house in little more than a dressing gown. DON’T PANIC. good advice. echoing the bible’s most oft repeated phrase.
DO NOT BE AFRAID.
yes, it’s nice to stop and effulge for a change.
that often accompanies a full stop on a creative work cycle. or even just a coming to the end of a particular phrase – the album done, new songs working well live, some integrated into the set.
we’re ticking along. now is the time when new ideas come along. when one starts paying attention to one’s dreams (literally, with notebook by bed) for guidance to where one should go next.
last night, after watching patti smith (which was so enjoyable, her voice being that same great instrument of pleading and honesty as ever) i walked through a hole in the back of the festival site and out into the city park. at dusk everything smelt of pine and thyme like the scottish highlands. no one was around.
i got buzzed by a drone, in a grove of trees, it nearly taking my fringe off, as it zoomed wasp like over my head. it crashed into the foliage, and then the man controlling it emerged spookily from the bushes with big headphones and goggles on.
i walked on, jumped on a bus, but it veered off from the course i wanted to take. (when should one get off? it’s like holding on to a rising balloon. you keep holding on to the rope thinking it’s going to lower you back down safely.) i kept holding on till i was miles away on the wrong side of town from the hotel.
so i had plenty of time to think as i wandered through the misty neighbourhoods of porto. sometimes i think about people and times with such a fondness of remembering that surely they must feel some sort of jolt of gladness, wherever they are, whatever they are doing. that’s what i hope anyway.
i hope you are doing well whatever you are doing. i just wanted to mark a day of radiance with a few words, after being a moany faced bastard for the past months. i’ll be back to being that bastard again, don’t worry, but if you do feel good, don’t keep it to yourself. no one will count it against you if you feel good, and if they do, you really shouldn’t bother with them..
oh oh. message in that after we get back to the hotel tonight at 1, check out is 4am. A 5 hour drive to lisbon precedes our 15 hour transfer to houston. bollocks.