Ginger | 3rd October 2013
I love a drink, me.
Many people say it, some mean it, and others definitely shouldn’t even think it. The bane of destruction in more than enough situations, I’ve witnessed it reduce the loving and conscientious to dribbling derivatives, and lead the naturally peaceful into pointless aggression. But for me it’s always been a constant comforting agent, a friendly manipulator of the harder edges of reality. That’s not to say it hasn’t gotten me into trouble, turned me into a mad one or threatened my body with physical closure, it has on all three counts and more, but, like any troubled yet intriguing, and ultimately rewarding relationship I’ve learned to take the the skids with the cruise and arrived at a slightly complex, wholly optimistic notion that me and booze will never stop being mates.
So when I offered to get sober for a whopping two and a half months (a pinch to some, a salt mine to others) you guys seemed to acknowledge the gravity of the offer. Many of you, presumably wine lovers, whiskey connoisseurs and real ale supporters – like myself – may even have been impressed at the levels of commitment that a feat such as this would undertake, compared to, say a simple triathlon or attempting to circle the world on the back of a pigeon.
It is with steel of conviction and jut of jaw that I accept your challenge. It’ll be tea for me until the Birthday Bash, when I will join you in a toast and probably fall over from that glass of champagne.
Speaking of which, the Birthday Bash looks likely to be the maddest, busiest and most insane of them all. And why the Hell not? Another year on this planet, facing unrealistic goals with uncommon relish and winning? What’s not to celebrate? And many agree, as the guests are already lining up to join in the messy fun. Of course I’m not going to tell you who’s appearing, largely down to the fact that names and availability change within hours of the lights going down. It’s that kind of event. A potentially heart attack inducing rush of frantic activity resulting in what can even (sometimes) appear to be a smooth and deeply organised show.
Who am I kidding? It’s mayhem. You’ve been, you know. But it’s still the gig of the year.
In other news I wrote the first song of the next album, which I hope to record as an acoustic album. Yes, I know I’ve often said I would never make such a stripped down album, but after writing the first song, and imagining the most simple accompaniment I’ve ever almost-not-even imagined, I’m starting to develop a sense of ‘what’s in the cave’ like wonder, that of a little kid more amazed at what lies within the dark than an adults experience of darkness itself. There are few things I’ve never done before, and those few precious challenges still have the power to unlock the imagination, wander the shadowy recesses and discover new creative elements. I’ve done noise, but I’ve never done quiet. I’m slightly nervous.
Don’t worry, I won’t be throwing this NEW new album at you any time soon. I’m very much committed to getting Practical Musician finished and in your Xmas stocking (like a big old cheesy foot, there to kick ass and stomp on the remains – oh yes), it’s just that I can’t write a new song without getting so excited about that I want to tell everyone, so consider yourself told. I’m so grateful for the ability to wrangle the next tune out of my guitar, and I usually consider the lyrics to even more perfectly capture what I’m feeling than ever before. It’s at this point where I can’t help thinking if you really do believe yourself to be improving through experience then you are exactly where you should be in life, and just as happy as you have a right to be. Unlike Practical Musician – the lyrical sum of all my thoughts on Great Britain, the person it has made me and the life I have as a result, the proposed acoustic album will be as autobiographical as I want to get. A trawl through memories, inspirations, resignations and reflections on the death of so many people that I’ve loved. I’m not rushing the songs, they will come as the recollections arrive.
Believe me, that collections of songs will be a very humble ‘then’ album to follow Practical Musician’s bombastic ‘NOW!’ stance.
Damn, I miss those GWB guys already. Really can’t wait until the Birthday Bash when I can rejoin my peeps in sonic matrimony.
Until then I’m gonna be finishing off Practical Musician (which still needs overdubs and some major recording, not to mention mixing and mastering) keeping my nose clean, staying fit, living well and being thankful that I have my three families around me. My direct one, my musical one and this wonderful community of ours that make all things worthwhile in so many ways.
I tend to think too much when I’m sober – which, admittedly, hasn’t been for about 5 years now – so expect more updates as they leave my fingers and onto these pages.
Meanwhile, be grateful for everything you have, thanks for donating if you have, and thanks in advance if you haven’t. Trust me, I had a rough childhood but it’s never worse than at Xmas.
Hey, why not leave the house half an hour later next time you go to the pub, and donate that money for the pint you didn’t drink? If I can stay sober for over two months to help children then you can do it for one pint, right? Okay, game on.
We were all little kids, and most of us had happier childhoods than some of the children that we’ll be helping this Christmas. The difference is we all deserve a happy childhood. Let’s do what we can so that we know we tried our best to help.