Some years ago, I kept a regularly updated music blog. It was mostly snippets of my day-to-day, along with favourite poems and song playlists, the kind of stuff that was keeping me inspired. It was an enjoyable, harmless pastime. Until one day it wasn’t. Alas, hate mail had arrived. Personally targeted and vicious. I shut the blog down.
At the time, I thought I was protecting myself. I thought I could channel the energy I once had for posts into creating more songs. I thought withdrawing was the right thing to do. I was wrong, of course. Be wary of the digital poison arrow. It’s ugly and if you let it permeate one aspect of your creativity, it will happily find a way to sour everything else as well. Without explanation, I woke up today feeling like I’d like to blog again. I’m no more resilient than I was before. I just want to write again. So here we are.
I am tapping away in England, where I’ve been playing some festival gigs. It’s summer in the northern hemisphere which means it feels more or less like Australia in the autumn but with generous servings of warm beer, which is how they serve it in the homeland of my ancestors. London is as iconic as ever. I’m an enthusiastic, dorky tourist and have managed to make it to the top of the London Eye, drink cocktails from the top story of a double decker bus and visit the British Library, where the 40th anniversary of punk is being celebrated.
My travels were timed such that I arrived in the UK on the day of the Brexit vote and grieved with my pro-Remain friends when the results came through. Since then, the world has delivered many blows. Australia has re-elected a fear mongering conservative government and yet again, we seem years away from changing our marriage laws or having a humane refugee policy. Meanwhile, my heart is broken for my adopted home of America, where gun violence and racism refuse to die. I’m struggling to take it all in and trying to work out how I can become a better human.
There are many articles online about recent events written by intelligent and articulate people. Please seek these out. I’m just sharing how I feel. Mostly, that’s hopeless and useless and listening to a lot of Vic Chesnutt.
I was recently turned on to his majestically sad songs by a friend who figured I needed to hear this:
“Imports and altercations
My faculties on a shoe-string vacation
I settled down on a hurt as big as Robert Mitchum
And listen to Lucinda Williams”
I was converted within 20 seconds.
Lucinda Williams remains a hero as ever and later this week I’ll be rattling towards her on a York bound train. She’s playing at an old train station in a place called Pocklington, an event and location too quaint to resist. I’m going with my youngest sister, an effervescent and lovely 23 year old who has no idea who Lucinda is but believes this will be a quality experience based on last year’s excursion to see Fleetwood Mac play in a field on the Isle of Wight. We waited three hours for a taxi in the rain after that show.
Thunder only happens…
Peace and love until next time.
Now playing: Lucinda Williams
Now reading: nayyirah waheed