Welcome, how times have changed, I really hope you are coping and following the rules laid out by the powers that be. As you will see the website is updated with new tiles, please explore. I am trying to keep busy and use my imagination to the […]
Welcome, how times have changed, I really hope you are coping and following the rules laid out by the powers that be. As you will see the website is updated with new tiles, please explore. I am trying to keep busy and use my imagination to the standing still, the sitting down I can cope with. Here in my writers garden May is whispering at our door, the birds are louder than ever, the sky is blue like never before and empty of planes heading for Gatwick. The village I live in has gone back to the early 1900’s and for me it seems like the early 70’s with both haircut and void. You could say it’s lovely and just what we all needed. Sadly all of the touring for this year has gone by the wayside and we hope with many fingers crossed that the stage lights up again next year. We all need to feel safe thats the main thing.
It had been many years since I last walked out on stage at Madison Square Garden, sadly I can’t remember much about the times before as my mind was elsewhere, not sure where. In early February Squeeze played in support to Hall and Oates on that biggest of all stages, it was impressive and memorable. Our two week run of dates served as a way of meeting the headline act and being plugged into their touring machine, all boxes ticked right there. It all seemed so simple. Louise and my kids flew in to be there, it was emotional and lovely. I flew home after the tour and made my way back into solo World. I caught a train to Glasgow the Saturday after Madison Square Garden but after 30 minutes the train stopped suddenly, like life. The overhead cables came down on the roof, after an hour or two we made it back on a relief train to Euston station, but by that time I had missed the last train up to Glasgow, sadly the journey for me was over, Boo stood in for me, what a chap, and by all accounts went down well as expected. I went to fetch my car parked up in Soho and thought about getting a hair cut on my way home but didn’t, and that was London for the last time I guess in many a month of Sundays to come. I was sad to miss the show in Glasgow and seeing a full house again.
During the following week the country began to grind slowly to a halt, like the train I had been on. Lockdown began and in fear I walked about the house finding it hard to take in the news, but remained glued to it nevertheless. Corvid 19 blew in like a storm over the White Cliffs of Dover and the rest will be history. People all over the country are in pain, people all over the World in sorrow and living in fear, without hope but in prayer. Here we are six weeks later and the calm is edible, there is a rhythm to each day, and having been on the road all of my life hanging about is all I really know, so it’s been tough but not as tough as it could be. My kids are all safe, two in Brooklyn two in East London and the steps at home are fine if not bored. And who can blame them. Louise has been amazing at putting food on the table and cutting my hair! The garden looks amazing too, I almost know each blade of grass by name and slowly my head is getting back to a place I can call my own. It feels like being at War, although I can’t see the enemy from here, no pitch fork will quell this assault on the human body, this ambush upon us all is like a game of Russian roulette. From here in the country it is all a little Dad’s army, the whole village on Whats App, mostly to find out how best to empty the kegs in the local pub cellar. Our Vicar sends us his sermon via email each Sunday and a good read it is too. One person in the local shop at a time, the playground closed, walkers asked to avoid our village and the sun shines on us all here in April.
Radio has never tasted so good, FIP and KCRW to name but two, and the usual suspects. TV and Netflix, I have been a convert to Curb Your Enthusiasm, I have now almost seen them all, hooked on the tele like I was a ten year old. Thats how most days end for me, on the sofa watching documentaries having face timed the kids, having eaten a lovely meal, its all in the day. A bird lands in the garden, sheep come by in the back of a farmyard vehicles, its a busy day on the track outside the house. In the background I’m streaming Tidal, and all of my albums on screen, I bounce between the old and the very new, we stream all the great and the good, the music wallpaper of my life covers me in calm, it’s the swaddling clothes of safety. Todd Runtgren, The Stones, Charles Brown, Paul Simon, Fiona Apple and Jazz Sabbath, a new one on me, and the beat goes on for lockdown Larry.
There is so much to do, clear the loft, sort out old tour pictures and lyrics from 1971, things to do. So much to do, like rearrange the shed, clean the car again and hoover the house, dust and wash up, and walk, walk like a caveman across the Downs here in Sussex. Sid, our dog likes a walk, Lou and I take him out and he seems to smile, soon we are home again and he sits long faced in his bed beneath the stairs. He looks up and me as if to say, ‘call that a walk’. Me exhausted on the sofa with yet another cup of tea and Tidal on in the kitchen. So much to do and now I have all the time in the World to do all things I never thought I would have time for. Most of all I want to write songs, but for now that guy is inside trying to find the right things to say. The value of all of this is immense and I feel grateful that each day brings with it more of the same, its like being in a dressing room but never going on stage. So I sit here and think, walk, eat and pray.
The band will not be in a dressing room together anytime soon, but we try to keep in touch via the phone, Glenn is busy in his studio each day working on tracks to raise money for The Trussell Trust, and great they are too. I hope to contribute once I get a studio set up in my garden in a few weeks time. Melvin is laying low. Simon is doing his best, as we all are, to stay out of harms way and maintain humour and fatherly love. Steve Smith is always busy, and Stephen I have not heard from. The crew are out there and I miss them too, we are a clan of sorts and when we are not on the road we always slip away into our own spaces, our own Worlds. This World is different and even though we are not eating cheese together after a show we are still very much in each others hearts. I miss the stage and the roar of the amps, the crowds and the love that always surrounds us, and when we do get back out there I have a feeling that it will be very emotional. I pray.
Out there in the wide beyond it’s tough for us all and I want to cry when I hear of the loss people are suffering, the food that is hard to find and the mental fatigue this is causing so much anxiety. I watch the TV specials and find it hard to feel anything but pain when I hear songs being sung with such emotion, and all in this invisible war created by someone eating a Bat. The future is so uncertain for us all, my work has dried up and I doubt I will be back in a tour bus again for at least a year, thats the way it is, so one day at a time has never been so meaningful. Sober and willing to come to the moment with this virus I sit here and pray for all those less well off than me, but also for the future when empathy will be common place I hope and a new World will be filled with peace and love. Less pollution and more nature to enjoy now that everything is so green, its so blue its so full of Bee’s its so full of silence, its so wonderful and in some ways I want it to remain like this, but I need to work I need to be with my chums on stage and return to the chapter of my life that was just turning in real love and joy into a happy routine. The sun has been out now for six weeks, the place to be is in the sunshine and in the day provided for us by our life on this planet, the trick is not to fall over with all of the information given to us on the radio and on the tele. Social media is full of people posting pictures from their past, chubby pictures, funny pictures and snaps of cats and dogs. There is humour in all of this too, there has to be, oh, and everyone is baking bread. Welcome back to this page there will be more shortly, but for now see if any of the new tiles apply to you. Workshops, at home concerts, podcasts, all something for me to give back to the people who gave me this safe place in which I do the standing still very well, but do the sitting down much better. Thank you from all of my heart, see you on the other side of this pendemic.