Today

Today was a horribly historic day, in which Awful Orange President Man continued to dismantle the freedoms and rights of his country. So, I spent it with excellent and dear friends and a baby made of light and red wine and old music, and everything was ok for a while. 

Still in the booth

Today was hard. Not because of the work I had to do or the shifting political landscape that needs thoughtful navigating or the lack of sleep. (None of this was helpful.) Today was hard because my head was still on an industrial estate in Bermondsey, spending lovely time in a cosy recording studio. 

That joke about figuring out who you want to be when you grow up becomes a bit less funny when you hit your mid thirties. But for me, it’s always had some truth to it. I’m good at my job – I’m organised, I write well, I learn quick, I work hard. I’ve only ever been a fundraiser, and I do it well. New job is adding some interest thanks to the politics and giving me a wider range of things to do, and I can certainly see a future there. 

But when I think about what I want to do every day and where I feel happy, and where what I’m doing is the right thing for me to be doing, it’s all about music and creating and singing and playing. I currently don’t have the security (financial, familial, whatever you want to call it) to pursue that kind of life full-time. Maybe knowing where I want to get to is enough for now? Let’s see. 

This vague ramble of thinking brought to by someone avoiding writing about politics. It’s inevitably going to happen soon, but not today, Satan, not today. 

Check tuning please

Some lighter posts in the next few days, as we’re about to go into the recording studio – today was a prep day, tomorrow and Sunday for music making. (And next weekend too.) (And my axe.) So, two points for today.

1. I tweeted about Jeremy Corbyn and it got picked up by the Huffington Post. What a world we live in.

2. A Portrait of Drummer with Dog

Some thoughts on what it’s like to record to surely follow.

Golaço!

To finish the trifecta of self-reflection for the New Year and also because I can only write unimaginative things because of the most inflamed and painful sinuses I have ever had, here are some things I’d like to achieve in the next year. I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t do all of this, but it’s useful to have some focus. Also, I really like lists.

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Have I gushed about magic whiteboards yet? They are the best and I love them and want them around me at all times
  1. Write! The whole point of this blog – I’m going to try and write something every day. I love writing, and always have, but haven’t yet found my voice. I’m hoping that if I keep to the discipline of one piece every day, even a trifling list like this, I can develop a style that’s engaging and create work that has a point. (I’m not very good at points – my tendency is to waffle round a subject I’m interested in and not conclude anything concrete from these wafflings. ) This probably has something to do with the fact that I think while I talk, rather than before. Perhaps this process will change that.
  2. Music! My goal is to write more songs. I have a hit rate of about 3 or 4 a year. This is not a lot. I get hung up on perfection, on capturing the spirit of the idea in my head in the best way possible. In 2017, I’d like to get to the point where I can throw lots of songs out there and have lots of them fail, and still end up with 3 or 4 songs in the repertoire. (This is also writing, I guess. There’s a theme here.)
  3. Relationships! I said in my post that I owed lots of people emails. And I still do! Life is busy, yo. But I say it again – I would like to be better this year at visits and seeing people and catching up.
  4. Travel! I haven’t travelled nearly enough in the last few years, mostly thanks to a lack of disposable income. I have a list of places I’d like to go to, which I’m going to save for another lazy list post.
  5. Career! I’m pretty good at fundraising and while it’s still interesting, I’m not completely sure it’s what I want do forever. I’m luckily currently in a workplace, where there seem to be opportunities to develop in a different direction, which I’m keen to take. So, a vague aim – by the end of the year, I’d like to have a better idea of what I want to be when I grow up.

Right, 5 things, nearly 500 words, it must be Ibruprofen and sleep time. May Lord Azrael spare your life until we meet again.

2016 in pictures

When I was thinking about where I am (as described in lots of detail yesterday), I sort of thought I hadn’t done a lot in 2016. Then I scrolled through my phone gallery. And blimey, I did quite a bit of stuff! And took way too many pictures. And let too many babies figure out selfies. Edited highlights in vague chronological order below.

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New Year in Colchester with this beautiful lot.
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Band strategy day 2016! We got quite drunk but also set a good plan. Which we’ve nearly carried out.
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The X-Files came back! The anticipation was more exciting than the reality.
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I bought some stylish new glasses and went a bit hipster. I took the label off.
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BTS tour of Sadler’s Wells – amazing. Theatres are well high, man.
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My birthday! There were many cocktails. And karaoke. Of course.
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Went to Namur with Lani. Walked a citadel to find a man riding a golden tortoise. (We also ate much cheese.)
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Spent Easter helping out with Family Weekend at Sadler’s. This is my dream future living room.
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There was a cheese festival. Not sure what the occasion was. Love of cheese transcends all time.
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I moved to N4 and got welcomed by the SGS collective.
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A picnic in May! Sounds like a good idea, but I have never been as hungover as I was on this day.
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AC DC at the London Stadium! They rocked, natch.
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One of my favourite 2016 shows – No Body at Sadler’s.
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Visited beautiful Charlbury and the lovely Hats. There was an actual old school fair on the village green.
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We played our first festival! It rained. A lot.
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Went on the March for Europe with lots of others and got yelled at by an old man. Neither of these things seemed to have helped anyone.
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Went to Wimbledon for the first time and it was excellent! One day, I will see Andy Murray there.
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Sad times – left Sadler’s Wells for different climes. Had a v good send-off.
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Went to the British Museum in my week between jobs. Scarlet unimpressed at the magnificent Rosetta Stone.
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Visited the delightful Ushi! Paul and Rick were also there.
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More picnics! We did a lots of these. They were awesome.
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Super enjoyable cocktail at the German Gynasium, I think my favourite restaurant of the year.
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New work summer party, overseen by the watchful gaze of our blessed lady Kate Moss.
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Went to the Globe to check off the last of Clare’s Shakespeare plays. Was suddenly unsure about capitalism.
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This dog was the best thing at the Labour Party Conference.
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Was trying to take a picture of a nice view and ended up with a nice picture of face instead.
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This poster was the best thing at the Tory Party Conference.
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Hair cut! Only one in 2016, weirdly. Must do better.
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Had a big work launch thing in November, then celebrated late into the night. This marks the moment in 2016 when I got quite ill, from which I’ve only just recovered.
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I bought an Amazon Echo. I love it. Plus, Christmas started happening.
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I got a wand and had dinner in the Great Hall at Hogwarts! It was pretty awesome.
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Ended the year with lovely people at Christmas, which is how it should be, right?

Takeaways from all this? I did a lot more than I realised. And I really like wearing stripy tops. In conclusion,considering the trifle of 2016. Photos good. Fun good. Meat good. What’s not to like?

Hello 2017

I’ve been quite ill for some time, with a nasty cold – nothing super serious, but enough to knock me out of action over the holidays. I didn’t let it affect Christmas, but New Year was a quiet night in, watching as London exploded from my attic room. See the potato quality picture above for proof.

Being just a bit ill for more than a few days means you end up doing a lot of thinking and reviewing and watching a lot of TV. I realised that 2016 wasn’t the worst year I’ve (personally) ever had – that’s firmly reserved for 2014. But it was a year in which I was still recovering from all the stuff that 2014 did to me and all the quick changes I had to make n 2015 to make up for it.

So, I began the year staying in Kent, having gotten out of one of the worst flat shares ever and being exceptionally lucky to have a Lani. I changed jobs, having sort of fell into my previous one due to some debt and desperation. (It worked out incredibly well, but I’m not going to claim I wouldn’t have been in a lot of trouble if it hadn’t come along when it did.) I took a lot of time finding a new flat that’s perfect for me right now in terms of location, flatmate and being forced to confront my hoarder tendencies. And I spent a lot of time figuring out what I want and who I want to be. I don’t have that one cracked yet, but it’s a work in progress.  Looking back, it’s been a much busier year than I expected.

Where are we now? Herewith the current State of the important bits of the Terrie Nation. Yes, I’m grading myself, have you met me?

Home: I love my garret. It’s private, it has all my stuff in it and it’s in Zone 2. I do have the occasional hankering for a big house with a garden and a music room, but who doesn’t? One day, for sure. I’m lucky that I have a great flatmate who understands the boundaries of privacy, but is also turning into a good friend. B+

Friends: I wasn’t so good at maintaining relationships in 2016. I don’t know if that’s because there’s been so much more going on than I realised or if it just needs a greater level of organisation to fit into the changed lives we’re all living. I want to do better. Expect an email. C

Music: The band’s been moving along – we set out a list of things we wanted to do at the beginning of 2016, and have, for the most part, done them, with only slight spillage into 2017. I’m excited about our upcoming recording sessions, in which we’ll get to experience working with a new producer, as well as laying down songs which I think are the best we’ve ever written. More importantly, I’m starting to discover what I want to do with music, largely down to having regular singing lessons. I have a good voice, and I’m hoping that 2017 is the year I figure out how I get to use it a lot more. B

Work: Work is busy and challenging and out of my comfort zone and in the right direction if I want to continue down this career path. See above though – I think I occasionally resent it for taking time away from something I truly love and always want to do (music, not friends – I don’t think you can get a salary from a nice social group?)  2017 is the year of working out how that all fits together. Generally, I seem to be having some success, so…. B- 

That averages out to a B-, I guess? There’s a lot to do in 2017, but I’m feeling personally positive if still completely snot-ridden. (I’m ignoring the sense of political foreboding – possibly more on that at a future point.) Anyway, hello 2017, hello blog, hello good things to come.