Sunday, October 07, 2012


So I've been in a song writing mood lately. I've posted a couple to YouTube, and I thought I'd link them here as well.

Song writing is a strange thing. You get ideas, for tunes, for lyrics, for the journey of a song, and then you run with them. I've had songs which have stayed on my back-boiler for years before I've eventually finished them. And songs which have trundled out of my head virtually fully formed. I have dreamed songs; one of the best songs I ever did with the old Groove Heroes band in Oxford twenty years back was one I dreamed in the middle of the night, woke up & pounded out on my piano there and then.

These are love songs. One is about meeting someone out dancing and never quite getting the chance to make it work. One is about feeling unable to put into words the emotions that are going on inside. Of course, when I write songs there's something of my experience that goes into them. But if they were simply autobiographical I wonder if they'd work? It might be curious to hear a song about something I did, but is that what it's really about? I mean - the point is that the love songs that stay with us do so because they strike an emotional chord with us as we listen, their journey is one that we too can relate to.

And it may just be that we have never been on a ship that hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage. We never have fallen in love with our bodyguard. We may never have lived in Sherwood Forest.

Yet these songs work because they aren't about one time, one place, one person (two people, even).

So you tell a story, explore an emotion, work through an aspect of life and love that may have been kicked off by something that happened to you or that you read or that somebody said. And see where it leads, hoping it wasn't just you after all.

That was a story song; and this - this is about an emotion.

The very observant amongst you will have noticed one was a guitar song and the other a piano song. Honestly, that's just how I wrote them. I think the feeling of them dictated where I started, what instrument I went to as I was working on them. But I can't say for sure. I may have started the Dancing song at the piano, actually, but I quickly realised that wasn't working. Whereas, when I try the Tongue-Tied song at the guitar, it feels wrong somehow. I don't get it there - I'm probably not good enough a guitar player to do it right. The instrument I'm playing does shape how I write a song.

Anyway - thanks for listening. And I hope you enjoyed! These are still songs in process; even with YouTube videos in place, I haven't stopped working. It will take me a while before I'm finished. I think that craft should never be quite satisfied! And as I look at the songs that (for me) really work, I think that my efforts have plenty of room for honing yet.


I'm beginning to re-find Matt.

After he died, the shock, the pain, it robbed me of him completely. All the joy. All the love. All gone.

Of course he's still gone.

I mean, I've commented before about the tricks of grief. The noise a chair makes - a noise that exactly replicates the sound of Matt turning as he would make himself comfortable. And there's no-one there. I just look at it, and feel alone.

But now...

There's a shop where I'm buying a lot of my food. It sells ready meals, frozen, so I don't need to cook. they are home made, not like the sort of thing you'd buy in a supermarket. The guy who runs the store always chats with me. Asks how I'm doing; if I'm getting over Matt.

When Charlie died, years ago, I ate rubbish for a year. I couldn't bear to cook. So I gained a ton of weight. At least this time, similarly unable to cook, I'm doing better on the diet front.

And yet - I'm beginning to be ready to cook again.

I think of Matt and I can smile.

I see him looking at me in my mind's eye. The way he'd wait for me to be ready when he wanted to run in the park. The way he'd get excited when I'd come back from shopping and he knew I had something he loved in my bag. The way he'd be thrilled when guests were ready to leave...

He loved it when we went for a drive. Last weekend I went for a walk with a friend. I haven't been for a walk really since he died. I don't walk alone. We went to the woods just across the road - it was OK. I missed him. I haven't yet been to the park around the corner; that will have to wait.

The point is - the sharpness of the pain, the inability to understand how I could live through the next day, these things are fading. Grief moves on. When I think of Matt my eyes still fill with tears. That remains. But the range of emotions that come with the tears is growing.

So I am re-finding Matt.

Finding his fun. His stubborn-ness. His charm. His energy. His excitement. His love.

It's been four months. I miss him beyond words. When Charlie died I had photos put in frames and filled my walls with them; I still haven't yet done this for Matt. But I will. At first it was simply too hard; too searingly awful. And now, life after Matt is becoming - possible.

The after Matt. The aftermath. It doesn't get better; but you get better at dealing with it. Mostly.