Saturday, 29 August 2009

Flight BA 183 – 22nd Aug ‘09

“I feel like now’s a good time to start writing a diary” – were my exact thoughts the moment our plane lifted, magically, majestically, magnificently, off of Heathrow’s latest, most controversial runway and up into this beautiful cloud streaked, multi tonal evening sky… 5 minutes ago. Usually at that moment I have my blindfold on, earplugs in and am blissfully ready for sleep to take a hold of me. It works every time without fail. Today however, has been one of those “green light days” and I didn’t want it to end yet. As if the day has been performing a ballet around my every move and thought. I’m inspired from it’s flow and the cogs are cheerfully clunking.

I made a call on the way to the airport from the cab I’d been putting off for a while, that of course turned out, after worrying about it for ages, to be fine. Invariably I find the mind’s projected outcome is 10 times worse than the actual reality. This is good to know as then you hopefully stop worrying about whatever it is and just get on with it for crying out loud. I got upgraded to club class ‘cause the plane was full in economy. In over hundreds of flights, that has happened to me only once before. I got my first choice of window seat. There was no queue for security. The waiter at the restaurant gave us (me and my manager Mark, who was also upgraded) “the best table in the house” he announced proudly while pulling my chair out from under the table for me to sit on, continuing with “Sting and David Beckham have both sat here” – I said that they were now, with us, in good table sharing company. I decided to stop worrying about Letterman and just accept that whatever happens, happens and that I can only do so much, a philosophy that I’m beginning to put into action more and more, that is actually a lot harder to do that it seems! So today is a good day that actually now just got 5 hours longer as I set my iPhone to eastern standard time.

I’m bound for NY. For Letterman. For general promo during release week of my latest and most beloved album (for the meantime) “Ellipse”. I’ve never before thought about publishing a book or thoughts or anything but literally just now, that opening line “I feel like now’s a good time to start writing a diary” - looking along the line of the artfully flexing left wing – came to my mind and it then evolved swiftly into something that wanted to exist, not just in my mind but out there with you.

I couldn’t write this down yet though because as you know, laptops and all other electrical devices aren’t permitted for use until the seatbelt sign is switched off. Meanwhile my musings went into a cold panic at the thought of something that could quite possibly take me another 4 years before it sees the light of day. So I decided, in order to get around this, why not write short entries and then release them at different points over the course of a few years? So a book written more in the fashion of a medium I’m very comfortable with– a blog. A mixture of spoken, written and filmed entries. I don’t know where it’s going to end up but it feels right and I do love to have this company along the way as I did when coaxing out Ellipse from the stubborn recesses of my brain. It would, if nothing else, prohibit me from going back and forth, constantly re-writing it as it‘d essentially be published as it was being written. Once it feels like it’s reached some sort of conclusion, or natural end – I’d like it to read as one body of work. So I’m going to write the entries as if they were chapters. I’ve never written a book so I may be terrible at it. This could be the worst read of your life and it promises to be the possibly the longest too. It’s your risk. Perhaps just in doing it I’ll actually get good at it and what we’ll experience is not only a real time writing of a book but also a study of a real time learning and hopefully improving writer along the way. One wishes. I like to think the more we air our wishes… the more likely they are to happen. Even though they are just wishes still, they are slightly more real just in having put them into words.

I really want to start living my life more in this “real time”. In the moment, rather than waiting for things to materialize or function after months of toiling over and talking about it. It just feels wrong to exist like that in these exceptionally creative, increasingly socially connected, open, interactive times we’ve lucked out and found ourselves in.

I want to write my next album in the same way - writing and releasing songs as I go. Album cycles are 3-4 years with me, so after writing and releasing 4 songs a year, I will have enough work to then compile a physical release (with one “bonus” track for good measure). I will of course get stuck into other projects in the meantime. One being this book. Trickling out songs takes the (worst kind – self imposed) pressure off me creatively. I always have more fun with “b-sides” or one off songs written for films. When I hole myself away for a year to make an album my life goes on hold. Everything else takes a back seat. Goes into stasis for this monster that I wrestle with and try to tame. Including my personal and (sadly) horizontally physical growth, as I’m not interacting with life outside the studio. I have tried but I just can’t seem to do it. The 12-13 songs I’m juggling in my head during the album recording period completely consume me and leave me paralyzed to do anything else. I don’t want to do be like that and I quite often, strangely, don’t enjoy it either. At the same time I HAVE to get these songs out of me. To create something, to give birth to something. A nutshell of me at that point in my life. That I’ll get to look back on, fondly, like old photographs of me with old friends in the old clothes I used to wear.

This next phase of my life I intend to try to get to grips with what fuels me - and how to get more of that into my life.
My list so far contains –

- more inspired conversation - which would firstly involve socializing more.
- Collaborate creatively often.
- Plan less, do more,
- Find my dream team and delegate.
- Fold my days around one form of exercise. So could be a walk, a swim, rock climbing. Who knows.
- find sustainable love. To share all these nice times I’m going to have with.
- READ more and learn to read quicker and better. I always HATED reading as a kid and just found out about a month ago when talking to my dad about it that he and mum had terrible trouble trying to teach me. Give me a piano, a pad to draw on, something to make or build and you could leave me for hours. I had no interest in reading whatsoever. It hurt my eyes. It was too hard. It annoyed me. I had nothing but what remained in my head to show for it. If it wasn’t for my dad forcing me read word for word, slowly, I would maybe have been dyslexic. That’s what he says anyway. Up until now I was deeply embarrassed about it. I feel a lot better knowing the full picture. Thing is I so crave information and have a desperate need of trying to make sense of everything. Like we all do. That’s what drives us. To know how stuff works. Why are we here? What’s the point of all this anyway? If I’m single I read an hour every night before bed if I can stay awake. If I can’t, I read until I can. I’m currently single, reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” and recommend it. I feel another little piece of the puzzle just clicked into place.
- Find another word for more.
- Other stuff I haven’t thought of yet.

As I’m shaping this book up it’ll be shaping me. If I don’t do stuff to write about it’ll be pretty vacuous in content. - In a micro everyday way, perhaps “tweeting” does that? - So therefore, I’ll have to do interesting things to get me to want to muse, hopefully insightfully upon them. This will also double up as a record for the tax man when detailing the reasons of some of my yearly account’s expenditure.

“Flight into outer space” - £1,000,000 – Research for book on chapter 8 –
“A quest to better understand humanity’s cause, effect and role on earth and within the parallel, multi, holographic or just plain old Universe.”
Perhaps a more succinct title, if that does indeed end up being a chapter would be good.

I’ve just had my first club class meal and I have to say it was significantly tastier than what I’m used to in economy! As I was masticating my chicken ceasar, a thought occurred to me. Most of the interesting happenings in my life involve other people and I’ll want and need to protect their privacy in the process. So I’ve decided that in the same sense as when I’m writing a song, the lines between fact and fiction blur somewhat, creative license and all that, I will sometimes write my entries in this way too. So if you are going to embark on this flight with me, please take into account, not everything you read here may have happened exactly as I write it and with whom I experienced it with. Equally, some things that seem totally out of character may indeed be true! You decide.

That may put you off but that’s ok. You don’t have to carry on reading! You will be investing your time in something that may turn out to be a big waste of time. I may stop writing in 3 months, I may never stop. I just don’t know. I do feel certainly compelled to do it now though. A new project.

One of the other things I love about blogging if that you feel like you have to follow up what you said you were going to do. So if I say, I’m going to write a song about that moment when you’re in bed with someone and time warps around you. Beautiful together, in just being close. I then felt compelled to carry on my idea because you (or maybe not you) were expecting it of me. I wrote Between Sheets. As I work on my own mostly and don’t have a partner to egg me on, I need the impulsive excitable side of me to drive it’s dreadfully, debilitating, procrastinating equal to get anything finished.

So what shall I say I’m going to do? Well… I think I should start with love. I want to love someone or many but certainly someone and soon. A woman has needs! Actually, I am mostly always, hopelessly obsessing over somebody. I have a plan for Wednesday night and he’s very cute indeed. He has also been almost impossible to pin down for a dinner date. No less that eight months! I guess that’s what’s been intriguing me too. Perhaps he knows that, is ridiculously busy or he’s not interested and just meeting me to get me off his back. Anyway… I’m very much looking forward to it. Going out to eat at a good eatery accompanied by a handsome, smart and slightly curious man… is for me one of life’s great joys and I intend to do a lot more of that.

So there we have it. Chapter One. Are you going to stick around for the next? I don’t know when it’ll be but there’s no hurry to this book of mine. Let’s see what happens….