Sunday, 4 December 2011
Hopeland (Notes from Corsica) 2. Abide
Abide, a strong word with a true meaning.
Endurance was never one of my strong suits. I’d always craved more than the ‘making do’.
I needed to find the best view of the finest sunset and then share it with someone. No selfless act,
more a need to have a ‘moment’ endorsed. The pleasure would be in the sharing.
My childhood was transient, always movement, activity, fresh pasture, and new challenge.
I developed the outgoing nature of a vagrant. I could hang my boots anywhere but nowhere was ‘home’.
Later, the discipline of a boarding school would redefine the broad and delicate vagaries of character;
survival was paramount and a uniformed thick skin the perfect cover. I could punch my way out of a
corner and kick a ball further than most. If I could tolerate, I would be tolerated.
After the routine and discipline of a grammar school education, college offered too many freedoms.
I forwent study to pogo with punks. Music became my meat. Drink became my drink. I bought a guitar.
I talked other feckless fools into joining me and I had a band. My future was defined: I was lost to music.
I developed an insatiable appetite for sad songs, melancholy my thing. I needed to be moved. I needed to understand why I was moved. As I began to decipher the language of loss I started to write my own songs. Things didn’t begin well. My first ditty went by the title of ‘I Think I’m Going to Kill Myself’.
The title was the best bit. Gradually I honed my craft and learned to love creating something from nothing. Having an untidy mind I soon came to realise that by mining my memories and placing them in song
I could put my past in order, even edit out unsavoury moments. I found myself. I reinvented myself,
polished my little gems of self-indulgence and waited for the world to beat a path to my door.
Thirty years and a hundred songs later I was still waiting.
As I recognised the limits of my talent, a malaise, a diffident need to be elsewhere, overcame me.
I needed to be anywhere but here.