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I get by with a little help from my friends

April 26, 2007

Here I stand head in hand . Not exactly… It’s Sunday night and it’s balmy in London’s Gatwick Airport. I’m going home.




On Friday I flew into London and drove to Kent,Tonbridge to be exact, killing time until early Saturday morning when I ate breakfast during the 4.7 earthquake (no, I didn’t notice it) and drove to Bore Place (link to follow).

Arriving at Bore Place I have to say it was all I imagined it to be: a tranquil retreat in the countryside. What I hadn’t counted on was just how breathtaking it was – and there’s an over-used expression if ever I heard one. Sue (hellllooo Sue !) gave me my welcome ‘pack’ (ok – a name badge and a few sheets of printed information) and brought me to the orange room. Good thing I was wearing my bright orange shirt – I blended well with the room. With some time to kill before the day ‘proper’ started I took a stroll around the house which is one of three main buildings on the farm. The walled garden with the pond is pretty cool but it’s the labyrinthine house that I loved – all the wooden floors, 16th century cupboards and I’ll bet there’s a secret room in there somewhere.

As everyone arrived we stood in the kitchen drinking tea, coffee and sizing each other up 🙂 strangers in a strange room. The first session was in the studio which is a large white walled room with light coming from all sides. Some classic ice-breakers and introductions from Tom, Nick and Sue started the ice melting process. After some games and singing warm-ups we were already beginning to relax. I’m sure that the performance masterclass was at the top of most people’s minds. In advance of the weekend we were asked to learn the first minute of a song so that we could use it for the masterclass where we would be guided on how to stand-and-deliver in front of an audience.

I found the session on how to sit down and write lyrics to be the most useful. I’ve struggled with lyrics (not anymore though!) and struggled to finish songs. The rule-of-9 is how I’m doing it now: write 9 songs and maybe 1 will be the one. Just write, finish it, get it onto a tape and move on. It’s ok to cliché ! Thinking about this part of what I’ve learned I am listening to songs in a different way. Far be it from me to compare myself or even use my name in the same sentence as Neil Finn…. I’ve been listening to Crowded House today while driving and I can hear how the songs were written now. Not that I’m about to match anything by Neil Finn anytime soon ! But I’m not saying never – that’s another thing we discussed: Demons.

Demons are the voices that have told me the song I’m writing is crap, it’s not God Only Knows and let’s face it what am i going to do with the song anyway ? Respect. Respect for me and what I can do. So what if it’s not a classic: IT DOESN’T FUCKING MATTER ! Get back on the horse and ride. Songs are like buses : there’ll be another one along in a minute.

Morning Pages: the writers discipline and habit of getting thoughts on paper first thing after waking. It was an interesting experience when I tried it on Sunday morning. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I’m going to try it. I’ve chosen my favourite place (our sunroom) and I’m going to sit with a mug of tea, my notebook and my ideas. { more to come tomorrow … part two gets interesting… live performance… song-writing and collaboration.. the music business…. }


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