Facebook has this feature called ‘Memories’. When you click on it, the app shows you everything you posted on this same day, going back a number of years. On News Years Eve in 2019 I posted about how my mental health had declined in the previous year and jokingly said that my mind Failed Under Continuous Testing (FUCT). I had identified that I was spending too much time trying to fix the unfixable. I had somehow smashed the pottery into a thousand pieces and was berating myself for not being able to put all the pieces back together. This is such a common theme for me. I am completely unable to let things go, to sweep the pieces into the bin and start again.
I admire those people who can do this, intently, the ones that can accept with good grace the deal that life has dealt them and start again. For me, the agony is continuously replaying the trauma on a loop. I still want to replay the same sorry scenario over and over, like some demented software engineer who’s trying to find the exact line of code where it all went wrong.
For me, 2022 has been all about fear and loss… I lost an old school friend to cancer back in August and it deeply affected me. We barely spoke in recent years but we were connected by the whole life forming experience of being great mates at school and subsequently bandmates with hopes and dreams of rock stardom. Rob was an extraordinary character; he couldn’t see any barriers in the world, just opportunities. He suffered appalling circumstance on many occasions, but just got back up undaunted. It seems such a cruel irony that life turned around and finally pulled the rug from under him at just 52, when he was so well equipped to deal with its numerous downs.
I was and still am the opposite.. I can see hurdles from miles away, perceived hazards, pitfalls, possible things that can go wrong, and people with dishonest intentions. Some would say that this is a fantastic life skill, and it’s certainly saved me from disaster on a number of occasions, but also it can be all so overwhelming, putting plans in place to achieve anything of worth is often too anxiety-inducing to contemplate.
I very recently discovered I may be suffering from something called ‘Hypervigilance’ which is the mind being in an elevated state of constantly assessing potential threats around you. It can have all kinds of unwanted consequences, but does have at least a flipside in that it unleashes a wonderful creativity for writing concept albums.
I wrote this song called ‘If Things Don’t Change’, and it’s very clear things are very much going to have to change in 2023, and for a lot of people.
Increasingly in 2022 I found myself incredibly angry about politics, and I have subjected friends and family to more than a few rants. But I think we are heading for disaster… Just on one level, my energy bill for December was £400. Just one month.. I can’t afford this, and I don’t know many people who can, where will this all end?
I am thankful for a few things. The very few genuine friends I still have. The adage about finding out who your true friends are has never been more resonant. Also family and the opportunity to keep trying, even if every year it feels like an ever increasing incline. I think of Rob and also former bandmate David Longdon who will never get that chance… As I wrote in the song..”As long as I can feel the sun, I’m willing to try..”
Cosmograf reached its most critically acclaimed heights yet, this year with the new album, even though the sales remain frustratingly low. It’s the latter point and the growing cost of living which is causing me the most anguish I think… The constant mismatch of putting your heart and soul into work that for the most part is not valued except by those very loyal dedicated fans that continue to support me. I joked to my parents in law at Christmas, that I could have built another company by now and retired, but like so many of my fellow muso friends struggling at the moment, I sold my soul to rock and roll.
To be honest, I don’t know how much more time I can dedicate to music, when it pays so poorly…and I think 2023 will see me put more effort into building other income streams, including my watch repair business.
Forgive my lack of positivity for the new year, but at the moment I feel like that great quote from Noel Gallagher describing his brother, Liam:
“He’s a man with a fork in a world of soup”.