Four seasons in one year

Sydney ParkinsonA couple of weeks ago I watched Mike “not Spike” Leigh’s new film Another Year on DVD. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s one of those films where the camera doesn’t move much and the characters talk a lot (rather than run around and dive for cover). They also drink a lot of wine, making it definitely a film for adults… Anyway, it reminded me that the events of my first year of living in London in a strangely synchronised way seem to have mirrored the four seasons.

As the leaves fell, my wife and I arrived in London knowing that we personally had let go of a lot. Although there were all the feelings of excitement that accompany major life moves, there was also the shock of no longer being surrounded by the familiar and well established network of care that gets built up when you’ve lived with some amazing people for an extended period of time. Our branches were becominge bare again. As a 4 year told us the day after we arrived: “You two need to go out and make some new friends!” He was right.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but winter was marked by a disappointment and a quiet response. For a few months I had been pushing for a new publishing contract, writing some new songs and spending time in the studio recording them. They were well received I and got as far as the equivalent of an offer of match funding if a suitable label came on board to partner with me as well. Hope became a sense of desperation in the proceeding weeks as none of the people who I was looking to work with came back with anything stronger than a “not at the moment”. A trip to Berlin was really worthwhile but not that fruitful. Not the kind of fruit that puts food on the table and albums in the shops anyway. So it was a case of ‘back to the drawing board’, which at the time felt a bitter pill to swallow.

There was a marked change when spring came along.  I was most struck by the little buds that began to form on the trees I could see from our balcony. It carried with it a sense of something new and a determination to keep going. There was a promise in those plants that, given time and the right conditions, something truly spectacular was on the way! It was at this time that I started writing and recording the songs that form Tel Aviv, my new album. It was just me in my flat working on something new. No fancy studios or budgets of any description, but an idea and a compulsion that it was right to bring some new songs to the table. (You can read more about this in the post “Tell of Spring 2″).

Summer was a lot of hard work. After announcing that new music was on the way, my computer died just at the finish line. It wasn’t something that could easily be fixed as it required a new motherboard, which happened to be the most expensive part to replace! Thankfully the harddrive was recovered and put in a little plastic box so that the files I had been working on for Tel Aviv weren’t gone forever… (never again will I fail to back everything up!) Getting everything finished took a lot of waiting, persevering, reimagining and hard work.

Where was the Summer fruit that was conceived in Autumn, fought for in Winter and promised in Spring?? Well Tel Aviv has finally arrived this September and I am very excited about sharing it with you. But the fruit of this Summer was an altogether different crop. It was the unglamorous and often under-acknowledged stuff of hard work and perseverance and just keeping your head down and keeping going. And although that isn’t the sweetest fruit in the garden, it is the one that has all the nutrients required to make something truly remarkable…

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