Friday 12 February 2010

It's been a long and hideous winter so far and I can't see it getting any better for a while. Not that I want to bring anyone down, including myself. Or not actually including myself, just myself because I can't imagine many other people reading this.
There's so much crap on the interweb these days - stuff used to go away, you got a bad review and you could console yourself with the yesterday's papers adage, and someone might say that they'll be eating fish and chips off that review. Or it would become one of a wad of six inch newspaper squares hanging on a hook in the outhouse...
There's a lot to look at on that there internet - the entire history of the world in minute detail. In our eco-aware society nothing is bio-degradeable anymore. I wish bands were, though it's a shooting myself in the foot sort of a wish. But it occurred to me that that's the problem with the music business. In any other business people retire, die off and get replaced, but in music no one ever goes away, not even when they're dead. In fact dying is often the smartest career option. Indifference turns to adulation. I can hardly wait!
I spent yesterday sorting through a roomful of old paperwork. I actually threw out some old tax returns and bank statements, and this made me feel like a real upstanding member of the community - I 've been filing tax returns for so long now that some of them are way past the statutory limit. What a waste of time all that was.
I seem to have kept every publishing and PRS statement I ever received. I don't know why, fear of throwing out something important I suppose. Sometimes I daydream about adding up all the payments, see if I've made a million yet. That might be depressing though - what if I have? I'd be wondering where it all went, torturing myself with thoughts of savings I could have made, costly financial mistakes I could have avoided. It's a fucking ridiculous idea.
I always wind up broke and I'm beginning to think I must like it. In the full flush of my early success I felt guilty, it was all too easy. So I went on the road in a seemingly endless downhill spiral until there wasn't a venue small or crappy enough to fit me. I paid my dues.
I always wondered about that dues paying business. What are they? Is there a window with an opening at the bottom to slide the money through? Do you get a receipt and if so are they tax deductable? I don't think I want any dues unless you can use them to heat the house. I'm avoiding going into the barn at the moment because the needle on the oil guage is way past the red line, heading towards empty again. It has to last until the first week of March and then it won't matter because we'll be on tour.
We could always burn my old paperwork to keep warm. I found all the press for my Bungalow Hi album. Reams of it - paragraph after paragraph of complaint about my bitterness, negativity, lack of singing ability - one reviewer even said that the album adds to the thought that people over a certain age should be banned from making music. He went on to add that there are of course certain notable exceptions, which was big of him. It's the stuff of fascism surely. I wonder who's going to decide on who's still allowed. And how's the reviewer (who didn't put his name on the piece) going to feel in thirty years time. It's all right to knock being old until you actually get there. I'm sure Pete Townshend has had a few uneasy moments with hope I die before I get old.
I'm going to be a grandfather in July. And there I was unable to imagine life after the age of thirty. Twenty years ago I thought about planting a tree in the garden where I lived but the idea of not seeing it grow to maturity bothered me so I didn't. I went passed that house last summer and the garden was so grown up that you couldn't see the house anymore. When I lived there you could see for miles across ploughed fields. Now my tree would fit right in - it'd look like it'd been there for years.
I just googled (since when did that become a verb?) the online magazine with the fascistic review and they don't exist anymore. So some things do go away. And underneath the sheaves of indifferent reviews I found a load of mail from fans who'd bought the album directly from me, telling me how much they were enjoying it.
I'm almost feeling strong enough to go and have a look at the oil guage.


  1. If it helps at all..... man, I love your writing. And also - those 'Bungalow Hi' naysayers don't/didn't know what the hell they were talking about. That record is brilliant.

    - E

  2. Can't believe that Bungalow Hi received *any* bad reviews! It has to be one of the best albums of the last decade (or more).