I woke up after a bad dream, i dreamt that i had gone bald, i rolled over in a cold sweat. Im thin on top but for my age things are not so bad, my hair has a reasonable amount of colour and it can look wild in the wind. Anyway grass never grows on a busy street. Its never changed much from the look i have today, a constant in my life in many ways. Dirk Bogart. A constant is what we all need, something that roots us in the past as well as the present. They say far away fields yield the healthiest crop. This month i played a show for Kenny Jones, he of the Small Faces, a charity afternoon at his Polo club, in a small field, and very nice it was too, relaxed and well attended, they say 6,000 people.
I played with a wonderful band full of amazing players, i felt at ease on stage as we played the three hits. Geoff Dunn on drums, it does not come much tighter than that. It was lovely to meet Kenny, he does so much for the Prostrate charity. Check yourself men off a certain age, its worth it. Meanwhile in the studio Squeeze forge on with said album, and its sounding so good, very good. Glenn is taking the full weight of the recording and producing, Laurie is doing a great job too, i feel very lucky. In a twist it seems we may be going to Universal to release the album, back in the tall tower first time since 1995, 20 years. I have been in and out of the offices myself with The Strypes so i know it well and i think its the right thing for such a potentially big record. If not it will return in 7 years, unlike the others. Universal have our albums by nature of contract, we signed a deal when we were young and here in the vaults they stay forever, never to return. We wanted a record deal so badly but never really knew what it might entail. Giving up our rights to a manager we trusted, i can’t fault or blame the people who work there now, they may not have been born. Its not a policy that can change, to give us back our rights, so we live with the facts and if we embrace them we can at least get to hold the puppies we once bred unto this World. Who knows not me, I’m not the man who sold the world. Julian at Rocket has become a major part of my life and has helped so much with this deal, i can’t thank Rocket enough, and indeed his nibs. He who has his own DJ slot on the the very new Apple Music site, radio around the World no less. EJ the DJ.
And so we move on to Glastonbury a home of wonderful vibes and collective being. A place of great historic depth and lay lines. Crystals and angels, a place of whole food and natural therapy. The festival was so inspiring for many reason. Lou and i stumbled through the busy fields taking in the huge amount of human’s there was tough at times. I loved Mark Ronson, his show was so brilliant, it was worth a few tears of joy, as tears are never far away at live events, not sure why, i wish it were me springs to mind. Never jealousy. Later the same day we saw Dead Mouse, a guy in a cage surrounded by keyboards and samplers, his head dress a mouse head with lights for eyes. The music loud and hypnotic, humorous and full of beats, i was transfixed. I was glued to it in a way i was once glued to Hawkwind. The music and the lights all part of the drug, all part of the journey, i was there in the cage with the young lad strapped to his imagination like a fly on a windscreen. Lou and i stayed in a small cottage, clean sheets and a shower, up the hill close to Pennard where my songwriters week had just taken place. Another high point was seeing Nick Lowe with Paul Carrack with Andy Fair-weather Low. What gentlemen, and back stage there before my very eyes, Jake Rivera our once manager, with Dave Robinson, the two Stiff builders. The architects of cool, now a little older but none the wiser, but as entertaining as ever. A rare treat. The Strypes, they were very cool and did a great job of filling in on the afternoon stage, it was good to see them and to hear all the new songs. As ever I’m in awe. Glastonbury is where the Difford tree seems to begin, and in local grave yards you will see the name Difford, perhaps thats why i feel so drawn to the place, it seems like home in some odd and familiar way. Cider drinking hippies of old, floored on the skittle alley, gone for cats. We were of beard and sheep, we were a very long time ago. The railway came to town and the Difford’s helped to lay tracks, once the line was open they hopped on the train and came to London where it all began, a few family generations before me.
Songwriters weeks have come and gone over the last 23 years, but this one was above all overs, so brilliant and thank you Peter Bradley and the Buddy Holly Foundation. Without Peter this would not have been half as good, as his vision and dedication to the week was outstanding. I’m so very grateful. I even ended with a baseball cap with my name on it. The four day retreat was full of joy, more tears and friendships that will last for a lifetime. I was humbled. Bob Harris made a very valuable person to have around us, and his wonderful family who helped film and gather the troops. Gary Clark gave his love as did the wonderful Mark Nevin, from America Beth Neilson Chapman and Travis Meadows, Mike Lindup and Egg White. She, Siddy and so many others who gave their love, I’m so indebted to them all. Kimmie Rhodes, Bernado, Tim Laws, and the names go on, but most of all thanks to the wonderful Pennard family who looked after us so well. Thank you. The songs will stand the test of time, and one or two of them blew me away, Anna Kranze penned two of the most emotional songs i have heard for many a year, she knows how to hook, and she knows how to lead us to the deepest place. Pennard will be our home for many years to come, for it is the deepest of all places with heart and soul.
Speaking of heart and soul, we have now been at the barn for a year, time has raced us to the summer, its beautiful here now as all is green, in the other months its a struggle as green fades to grey and brown like a painting fading in a warm loft. There is a feeling of hollow about being here, there has been so many misunderstandings along the way, yet i feel very grateful that we are in this wonderful position below the downs, nestled in the womb of such great beauty. We have four and half years. Its a very complicated story, we are in a place of complicated reason. There is little to complain about when you come down the drive and you see the barn, like a large tug boat, sitting in shallow waters. From the side at night it disappears as the blackness of night obscures the nature of the building, there is no light on this angel of approach. Its mystery is soon broken by the amount of windows, the house lights and shape. It sits there like an ark. Two by two. A year has jollied by, here we are and here we might stay. In a year so much can happen, and as i get older, and balder, i note that today is really all there is. Without the slices of day and night to make the sandwich of today there is nothing much else. The wasp and the bee know more about this than i, as they hover around the windows drunk on light and expectation. The very heart and soul of this barn is in being here within its walls, we are the first, the ones who will learn more about this place than the next people who come to rent, the future birds who nest here like us, on a journey that nobody really owns, ownership is more about self than belonging, we only really own our egos and our personality, anger too, once we are gone, we have no ownership at all say for stone and dust. God owns the earth but he has no mortgage, we pay for his ownership and we rent this space in time as we travel through hand to mouth, foot to sock, strum to string.
Lou and i went to Southampton to see Elvis Costello perform his one man show, it was incredible, a night of great songs from a great person, and backstage we had a few hours to catch up. In our history together we have seen many words come across the nib of our respective pens, his more than mine capture the real and the well furrowed fields of life. His voice and guitar playing are stealth like power, and the catering was not bad either. Old pal Steve was there on hand to crack jokes with, and share some ice cream, if only. Larkin Poe the support band were so talented and lifted the show when they came on with EC, well worth a listen. Its been a creative month in many ways, it seems like every day is full of doing, rather than being, a human doing is not a human being but for now seeds need to be sowed for the future, in my far away field. More miles in the old jam jar. More hours in traffic. But we have been there before. June has been a very Gemini month, darting around in my head, doing lots of things but not doing one at all, a pinball in the machine hitting bells and rolling down the hole. Ahead only tours, ahead only more of the same as i sow the seeds in my far away field. There is Apple Pie on the way too, so hold on to your caution horses! To love is to recognise yourself in another.