I have sat in so many dressing rooms over the years and waited for the knock on the door, the call to arms. Being in lockdown has been like that, a dressing room of home. Im not sure I want to go back to the real World although I really want to, I have mixed […]
I have sat in so many dressing rooms over the years and waited for the knock on the door, the call to arms. Being in lockdown has been like that, a dressing room of home. Im not sure I want to go back to the real World although I really want to, I have mixed feelings, I miss the touring World of my life and long for the stage. Here it comes, here it is. A tour of America back on the road with Hall and Oates, with some of our own shows in the mix too. More dressing rooms with chairs, but this time in a bubble. Touring is all about the bubble, it’s the bong of music and song. The tour bus and the overnight travel, the hotels and the morning shuffle to the coffee shop. Our bubble returns.
A year and more of being at home has been wonderful thanks to Help Musicians who allowed me to work with songwriters around the country also in lockdown and in need of zoom smiles. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. Many great songs were written and I hope friendships have been grown from the screen of ideas. This time last year we were many weeks into lockdown and into my second month of writers retreats, and on one of my many Zoom shows. My Zoom shows have been a success, we have raised well over £55,000 for various charities, we have shared the fun with so many wonderful guests. I loved doing them and sad to see them coming to an end. I could do one from the tour bus I guess, the bubble club? We shall see. But that’s enough trumpets.
My last blog I posted was way back in March a takeover by Juno the dog of my life, she has given me so much joy, it has been tough to leave her at home now the touring begins. She is smart and has a routine like no other, I almost know it down to the sit. Right now I bet she is upside down paws in the air ready for tickles and then a walk around the Cricket ground. I never thought I would be so attached to the day of this puppy, up at 6.45 bedtime at 10.30 all snuggles and treats. I was wrong about other people and how they loved their dogs, I get it now. They seem to bring another dimension to family life, nothing like cats or budgies who just sponge off of you all the time. Dogs create connection to self. In someways very selfishly. I want to be the man she thinks i am. I will miss her. More than Juno I will miss Lou who has been a massive inspiration for me over this last 18 months, I have been well looked after and she has had to put up with me like you put up with a bad smell. She is a solid backbone who provides love for us all at home on the funny old Dock.
In the past 5 months I have been entertaining the songwriter, again, he has returned to my desk, he flounced in and off we went into story. I have 23 words that I really like and more will come as I reach full stride, but then what? Who needs another record from Chris Difford? Times have changed music has changed and the sad industry that wraps around it’s stage. On reflection its a very reflective songbook, a look back at how I looked forward and scored home goals and a few back of the net winners. I feel blessed that the songwriter came back to the pen, it’s been a good energy to share, and I hope you will hear something soon.
As I tinker with the future in my head I wonder how the play will roll out, what will be the script for the final act before the curtain falls? I feel positive about so much and have learnt so much this year from being still. The love of the journey and where I have been and who I have loved. I sense a change as the seasons skip a beat and we fall into Summer out of a tom bowler of Spring, my prayers are for the ones who have not been as lucky as I have been here in the green and pleasant sidings of the track. I have hardly been in my car this year, it has been very strange to travel once again. Im not sure I’m ready for traffic. If this is a taster for retirement then it’s not attracting me, I was not born to be at home for this amount of time. I have spent many years at home before but never restricted like we all have been. It’s looking good, the bubble may be bursting like a fairy liquid moment above the sink, but let’s stay safe.
Four weeks of June and then the rain fell and then out of the blue came the Sun, a heatwave. My first show in many months was in a warehouse in Deptford, the last building still standing and not new posh flats. It took awhile to get back into the swing of the set but a stride was found. Tiring as I fumbled with sing and storyline. Melvin was brilliant as always as my wing man. Things are opening up but not many signs of masks or hand gel, no social distancing or dancing. Another show in Sutton followed and it was amazing fun, so much laughter and vegan food, a great way to wrap up my pre tour anxiety. What a mood covers me in shroud, oh hell I was a nightmare for one and all. So sorry so very sorry.
A 7 day fight with the bad apple, he tells me that control is power and letting go is weakness. Weather apps good friends who are pilots my head is like a lift filled with people none I listen too, the bad apple speaks louder than words. I change my flight twice and jeopardise my journey my friends are fearing the worst but much worst is the pain I cause Louise. I’m torture to be around. I hate myself and cry into pages of screen information about flying. Against the wire I get driven to the airport. Louise at the wheel. I check in and the airport is empty of passengers as Corvid keeps people away from travel, no cues it’s pleasant. Saying goodbye is hard for us both it’s a very long tour, another investment in my past for the hour which is now.
On the plane I settle into my journey saying hello to both pilots who are fans of Squeeze. We talk about routes and the weather. Slowly I fall to the letting go of flying as massive clouds sink below our wings. Bumps and smiling faces. Sleep of the drug and off I tip, soon it’s eight hours soon it’s Atlanta and immigration. Cues, but I boldly walk to the front and it works, must be the suit and briefcase. My tour bus is outside and driver Charles introduces himself, suddenly the tour springs into gear. A tour bus at the airport! Wow this is all about dreams. Four hours more and Nashville standing in a storm of lightning and rain but by midnight I’m in my room connected to my prayers. Thank you. The support I have is incredible and the bad apple is back in its crate, there it waits for me to do the work. The core of this fear is dark and deep it confuses me it’s like the honey of a poisoned flower. As my focus dims I challenge myself to work harder on this irrational fear. I’m here the breakfast of all tours slips into view with its differences and many similarities all to be carefully navigated each day one day at a time one show at a time. Letting people down is crucifying and it’s time now to change the things I can. First breakfast, second Sunday, third showtime and the countdown.
A few days into the tour and some sleep, sleep indeed, and without being shuffled like a deck of cards on a bunk in the bus. This has given me some breathing space to reflect and maintain my place in the day, these days won’t come back as they say. Everyone is in fine form and the set is the most comprehensive we have ever had, its very grown up and in a good way I think. Our songs sound like they have just come back from the cleaners and with our new bass player Owen we are possibly better off than ever on stage. It’s all very emotive, the audiences and the being there, it’s often hard to hide the tears from falling, in a good way. And if I could slice a tear in half you would see inside the love for my Wife my family and the life I have been given by the grace of God. More on touring and the steady climb into a two month sandwich of song badly made suits and after show food on the bus.
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