And so my month started with a writers week at Arvon in Devon. Myself and Kathryn Williams holding court and being a great team. I stayed in Chagford for the week and almost bought some walking shoes. 16 lovely people, great songs and some drama to boot, but all in all a lovely week of muffled song and dance. Home and things are changing, the barn is looking like a mistake as isolation embraces our lives, and with grey sky and mud its all looking and feeling very upsetting. Our Eden slipping from our dreams, and London calls again, but i fear the loss of Firle and the love found here in these wonderful shadows now falling longer than ever on the fields around us. Rehearsals, and then out on tour with our Glenn, we start the show off in our pyjamas and end up with smiles on our faces, its a really good feeling to be out on the road with his nibs. We were going to have a tour program but it a fell through at the last minute, here is my piece what i wrote.
When we first started writing together and being in each others company the sun seemed to shine everyday, i would write pages of rubbish words and Glenn would beaver away at the piano or guitar coming up with the most amazing melodies. Our friends would support us and listen with open minds as we stumbled through the ever changing moods of youth and our songs, Glenn was patient and gentle with his often complicated chord structures. I would wrap my hands around the guitar and try my hardest to lean into the work in hand. I never felt as if i was ever on a level playing field as Glenn was such a natural player and i was not, i was earnest but never dedicated. In 1973 when we first met we spent that summer up to our ears in music, his record collection and mine all bound together in one big listening booth which was Maxine’s house, Glenn’s first girlfriend. Our days were spent writing and discovering ourselves. Our days were filled with sunshine. Our journey slowly gathered pace and between then and now, 41 years later, we have written hundreds of songs, played hundreds of shows and swallowed our dreams on 13 + albums. I have been in awe of Glenn’s musicianship all of this time, even when we were not talking to each other. From a distance i watched as he recorded his solo albums and most recently ‘Happy Endings’ which to me is the pinocle of his cannon. Some really great songs recorded simply and with great passion. Along the bumpy road i have always wondered what it would be like to be Glenn, up on stage sweating like a goose but being able to pluck any song out of thin air and deliver it with such accuracy. Its a gift. I love Glenn for being the persons who holds a mirror up to me, i often see things i hate seeing, and sometimes i see things i like, but every time i learn more about myself from being in this sometimes fragile friendship. He is a genius in so many ways and in his finest moments can produce wonderful melodic songs that embrace even the most absent of ears.
The At Odds Couple Tour is something i have been looking forward to for such a long time, and unlike previous acoustic tours i feel more at home on stage with Glenn and with myself. Our touring normally consists of turning up with Squeeze and playing through our set list of hits old and new, this is a very different kettle of fish. Both are wonderful and different from each other and with our solo sections we have made our combined musical journey join up. Our respective solo songs stand up really well alongside the well known songs such as ‘Tempted’ ‘Up The Junction’ and ‘Black Coffee’ we have managed to gently fall back into what is a fruitful set list of our favourite songs. The nakedness of acoustic music brings honesty and fear in equal amounts to the table. Im very proud of where we are, this tour and where our songs have taken us. Not long ago i found being on stage a real struggle, not from nerves but from confidence. On stage with these songs and Glenn makes me feel more at home than i used to be and slowly my confidence is returning, now i actually like being under the lights. Being in Squeeze has its moments and being on stage with Simon, John and Stephen makes me feel confident by numbers. Our songs drill deep into the history books of my life and there i hear myself tumble through so many performances like a buffoon high on the deepness of it all. Chords twanging away like glasses smashing on a barroom floor. Shapes being thrown with hips like Elvis and feet shuffling like a thief at the doors of jewellers shop. The dance of it all kept me and the songs intwined as tours flew by like calendars on fire as time lapses in some sordid drama. That was then, but now time has slowed me down and the stage is more of a feast, each footstep is a carful calculation matching energy levels to how much breath is left in the lungs. Its often a long walk from the amp the the microphone. On this tour im there at the trenches with my head above the parapet as glances and stares beam my way, but mostly Glenn’s. Glenn delivers the songs with such a voice, its a stunning cocktail i could never swallow. Just the two of us, no band to hide alongside, no massive light show and no hiding place. Its so exciting and im proud to be here.
And that was October, sad in places and happy in others. Like all things in life things change and we move on better for the experience of getting it right or getting it wrong. Being on tour gives me a place to reflect on those very long car journeys up and down this beautiful grey country. I hope in time all will be revealed and happiness and home are part of our everyday. October hurts, but in the hurt there is a lesson, a story to be told and a circle to join. The Circle Game springs into my head, it seems to follow me through the stages of my life proving what a great song it really is. As i struggle to hold a pen anywhere near this tender moment i reach out and know that nothing can be wrong.