The usual fare, me in the car, 160 miles a day plus. Up to the studio where Squeeze are recording more and more for the new album, stroke show, stroke of luck. Some nights i have to stop the car pull over and take 15 by the side of the road. In the studio the songs are forming, Glenn is going boss eyed with the amount of work he is taking on, he loves the swim of the studio the constant front crawl of recording, me less so. We have galvanised a few older ideas while working on some new. Its been a challenging record to make for me, i have lost some of my normal confidence and mojo, whatever that is. Its hard to judge the past with the present sometimes yet you have to, its a gauge of the now. As i struggle to sharpen my pencil Glenn forges ahead in the general direction of the end of the pool, however far away it always seems to be. I admire his vision and love the way he puts all of himself into his music and production, nothing is left to chance. Its like he is knitting a very long scarf for winter and outside its snowing. Working with Laurie Latham again is having a steady hand on the tiller, as we wind our way along the rivers between Glenn’s studio and Jools studio where the songs are being mixed. In the car, my Audi sanctuary, i listen and learn, and love. So far the album exceeds all expectations, its a wonderful collection of new and nearly new songs. Proud indeed.
Meanwhile in April there were showers. Squeeze played at the Music Week awards, we cleared the room, we were on so late and the party was over, everyone was tired and or pissed, and were leaving their tables for Uber cars, and in true Squeeze fashion we almost excited. The music industry gathered there looked tired and worn, awards like prize day at school are only as good as you think they are, nobody else cares. Glenn was fresh back from Japan, a quick tour and family holiday. He looked shattered. Boss eyed even. Lou and i had a few days without children so we hung out in London and had some us time, us time is very precious these days and its like being in the womb of wonderful harmony, food and happiness. We have embraced the barn more and more as time has passed, it now feels more like home which is good, as we are here now for five years. Its tranquil and distant, and one of the reasons why driving is always not far from my mind.
Life is where it is and what it is, its all that it can be without being a place of standing still. I stood still at my friends funeral and took in all the friendship there in the chapel where he was being laid to rest. Matt Irvin and i strolled in and out of each others lives over the years but when i was in his company i felt nothing but love and kind. He helped me as a therapist many times when i was living in Brighton while off on a few limbs. We wrote a few songs together and walked. We eat breakfast a few weeks ago, he looked drawn and white, he was at the boarding gate, i said my farewells there in the chapel, where i stood still and swallowed whole the happiness of his life. Then from the grave to the cradle, The Strypes are back on the UK road and im so excited to see them again, fast and youthful, spot on and loud. Just how we like it. From here on they tour for the rest of the year, yes i remember these days well, and it might be that they are back once again, but im not 18 years old so the pain of touring is harder to understand. I feel quizzical with it all but perhaps have always been. God knows. They re great people, talented and bright, Niall has become a close friend and without him there would be no band, he holds the key. He is a top person. As they all are. Ritchie Clark is also there for the boys, so hard working and i wish he had the time to do more, for me too.
I like my brother Lew, walk to the left, we are one sided people, and on that shoulder a few chips. I shoulder so much and play second fiddle to many knowing that not everyone can play centre forward, and i have always seen myself as defender anyway. Its the parts that i play that keep me on the stage one might say. A team player rather than the run away ball keeper. We can’t all be King Lear, some of us have to be Edmund or indeed the Fool. Waiting in the wings in my car i travel to the side of the daily stage poised to be part of whatever life rustles up for me, and i guess im ok with that. We all like control and power, me i like both too. Chips and power, how many chips can you eat in one sitting i wonder? how much power does one man ever need, apart from the subtle power of manhood. To be a man is another subject and one im not sure how to shoulder, i think being a man is to be the one on the outside of the cave with the stick, the fire and the dead meat. Me, i like the man cave and sometimes in my life i have found it hard to come out of the cave, there might as well have been a boulder stopping me. I am mostly defined by my manhood, i laugh at certain things and walk with the swagger of a man, sometimes, yet im very happy being with the feminine. I loved my Mother. Together we ruled my younger years, cakes and wool, bath and bed. She gave me the chips but they are hers and not mine. I must learn this if im to feel confident in my later years. Chips all day long. When im in a bad mood or being distant Louise says she will light a fire and wait for me outside the cave until i smell the coffee.
In other parts of my life im not seeing my girls and my boy as much as i would like to, i miss seeing Riley and indeed his new lady wife Natasha. I also miss very much seeing Natalie. Years go by and we are there in family spirit but not very geographically close. I miss them but im so proud of their independent life over in New York. Perhaps later this year i will see them more and we can hang out together on tour in the America’s, as is planned. See dates. Grace and Cissy are close by in London and i see them for dinner now and then, we are all so busy, me in the car 160 miles a day plus, and them at work and at Uni. They both have wonderful energy and i feel plugged in when i do see them. I feel boss eyed. Sometimes I wake up and wish i was still asleep, as i close my eyes and roll over my head fills with voices and the Architects of nonsense gather around to talk shit and keep me in a levitated state of mind. I try hard to be in sleep, i want more sleep as i grow older i want to be asleep and stay asleep, its a safe place for me to be, a place of great harmony and snore. Im at the adolescence of old age. We as one sleep like spoons in the quite of the deep country vein, there in the drawer of green, in fields where the seasons are changing. Its beginning to look a lot like summer. Time for a Donkey. Perhaps one with a straw hat.
There’s a lot of red tape in recording, as you can see above.