The soundtrack to a Mermaid making music across three continents.
Where: Yorkshire to London
When: 01/01/2015 – 03/03/2015
Lesson: Don’t post Facebook statuses when under the influence
Achievement: Launch of 3 track EP ‘Elusive Yusef’ (24/01/2015)
Lyric: You wouldn’t let me stay, I wouldn’t want to not go
Quote: “Pigs and troughs”
I often find there are songs that stalk me for various periods of time. I can’t decide whether my ears pick out the song after hearing it on repeat everyday, it’s just a coincidence or that perhaps I have a super power that controls the soundtrack to my life in public places. So I thought I’d take you through my last few weeks in the UK via the soundtrack in my brain, here goes!
1. Crowded House – Weather With You
“It’s the same room but everything’s different”
I have been absolutely milking the leaving dos to get plenty of attention before I jet off on my tod for over a year. The dos began over 5 weeks ago alongside many ‘goodbye’ social media posts. I am finally ACTUALLY leaving England in the next few days.
Leaving Yorkshire involved daily drinking of my body weight in proper ale and dancing around to Crowded House’s ‘Weather With You’. This track has accompanied some of the best memories of the past 10 years with my two besties in Leeds. My superpower kicked in on our last lunch together as it came on in the pub we were in just as we were saying goodbye.
2. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing in the Dark
“You can’t start a fire without a spark”
The final pint with “Paddy the Daddy” was emotional to say the least but we had our last Bruce Springsteen singalong a couple of weeks before, so I’ve had my fix for the next year. I was probably looking at Bruce’s lyric ‘one last chance to make it real’, which is tattooed on my forearm when I booked flights to the other side of the world. I’m bloody glad I did. This track warms my Boss obsession as one of the few covers I’ve played and the added feature of Monica Geller in the video can never be a bad thing.
3. David Bowie – Sound and Vision
“Blue, blue, electric blue”
David Bowie follows me everywhere. On the rare occasion I listen to the radio, he is there. When I’m flirting with barmen with ponytails, he is there. When I lunch with Paddy in numerous greasy spoons, he is there. His greatest hits has been blasting in my ears continuously these last weeks and every time I hear him sing ‘blue, blue, electric blue’ from ‘Sound and Vision’ I actually hear someone else’s voice barking the line, someone who I spent a fair bit of time with in my last weeks in Leeds.
I’ve said goodbye to my mini home studio by recording a couple of demos, whilst also making the most of my last hours with my true love, my Gretsch. I made this demo combining my true love and ‘blue, blue, electric blue’ boy. I assume I’ll be meeting many Chads, Austins and Brads across the USA and Australia for new sources of lyrical creativity.
4. Lennon and Maisy – Ho Hey
“I’ve been trying to do it right, I’ve been living a lonely life”
In anticipation for the America dream, I managed to watch 2 and a half series of Nashville in a fortnight. I am aware it is ultimate cheese and although I usually pride myself on having exquisite series taste, I will admit I love it and I will be sorely disappointed if I’m not signed to Highway 65 within the first day of my arrival in Tennessee. The first time I listened to the two sisters cover was on the way home from work, walking through Leeds I burst out crying realizing I would not see my own sister for over a year. That was pretty mortifying.
I had a long weekend in London saying bye to chums, which has been intensely emotional. Most people have been assuming that I’ll never return, either from achieving my wildest dreams or dying by my reckless behavior. Most tended to sway towards the latter.
My last London performance was held at The Montague Arms with three other great bands. It was refreshing to play with musicians who I didn’t spend 3 intimate (and magnificent) years studying a Popular Music Degree with, hearing completely new bands and sounds. A really great band played called Sula Mae who are a funky five piece including a lovely Irish drummer with whom I chatted whilst munching a delicious hot dog. My feedback from the crowd was encouraging and “haunting” is an adjective that has been repeated frequently to me post show. I like that and I think it is captured in this demo, also recorded in my last week in Leeds.
On my second night in London, I left a party on my own at 7.30am to get a bus from Brockley to Peckham (a 10 minute journey). In true tradition, I was awoken by the bus driver and as I looked out the window, blinded by bright Sunday morning sunlight, I realized I was in Holborn. I proceeded to inform the bus driver I was trying to get to Menston, in Leeds. “Where the fack is Menston?!” my new best mate asked. A moment passed and I gathered my surroundings and informed him I would actually like to go to Peckham. “Just don’t go back to sleep, yeah?” I awoke again with my new mate shaking me as he had turned off the engine of the bus to come upstairs and ensure I got off when we’d arrived at my stop. I will remember that man for a long time. The many other London bus drivers who have found me in the same position have been much less forgiving. Here’s a rather flattering selfie I took around that hour.
5. Laura Marling – Love Be Brave
“How does he make love seem sweet?”
I have seen the whole of London during 5 year’s worth of unintentional slumbers on night buses. One record length night bus journey was with this track stuck on repeat constantly while I dreamt. I have never worked out why I love the beginning of the verses so much; it never seems to get old. The outro on the other hand, well that is pretty crap.
To finish my time in London, I lunched with my main mermaid who has played with me since I began writing solo five years ago. I think I owe her a pint, or ten. A friend’s birthday meal reduced me to the verge of tears, I attempted to sneak off without having to say goodbye because knowing that I won’t be snuggled in their arms for so long is sad.
Off to Paris to meet more Elusive Yusefs, say some more goodbyes and make some more musique.