So, 2023 and another new album. After I had released 'The Jellyfish Doodles' I had a few songs left over plus some other fully realised instrumental tracks that didn't have any lyrics. As I started to review those particular musical bits and pieces, as what often happens, I started writing new songs again. I've never, luckily for me, maybe not for the listeners, had a problem composing music or writing lyrics, at times it just pours out of me and it can be hard to keep up - hence all the odd's n sods's I have hanging around.
For 'Mystery' (which was originally called 'The Mystery Of The Trees'' - as a nod to the artist Declan Comerfords' studies on that same subject ) the title track was one of those unfinished pieces of music that I luckily rediscovered when looking through the archive. The music was composed and recorded many years ago but (modestly) it has a lovey melody (it actually has a few melodies going on in there) and the new lyrics came to me as I was browsing through the artists on-line catalog and saw the tree paintings. I bought one, the cover of this album, and was subsequently gifted one for my 60th birthday by Declan. With 60 trees on the canvas :).
I've had some very humbling and positive feedback from several people outside of my FB friends (and, let's face it, FB friends are not generally an 'audience'', they're your friends! You hope they say nice things about your art, but very few of them would consider their little bald mate as an artist. And that's ok. I don't write for any audience, I just do it for, me.
It's a legacy thing I think? What will be left of me when I'm gone? There'll be an awful lot of physical music and instruments to find homes for, maybe a few pictures of me, not many though, so I guess, at some psychological level, I'm leaving a trail of musical breadcrumbs behind so that I can be remembered for maybe a generation or two.
As for 2023 itself, Amanda and I continue our journey, we're 17 years down the road at this point, and that road has often been difficult to say the least. You're a fighter kiddo.
I alo hit the big 6-0 this year in May, and although I wasn't filled with any existential dread about the milestone it does make you reflect that the journey is coming to an end. For my 60th birthday I took a week off work (yeah I did!) and I went to 3 Springsteen concerts in 7 days (that makes it 52 shows now). I 'allowed' (no option) a party in my name to happen on the big day itself (I'd have been happy enough watching the football that evening on my own) but the wonderful Amanda organised a 'surprise' celebration attended by all my family (and Justin Evans who's as good as family) and it was lovely. I'm not too enthusiastic about celebrating myself, I'm actively anti-social in many ways, I'm sure there's a 'scale' somewhere with my name on it, but I was grateful that this get together in my name happened. And Amanda orchestrated some cars and rememberence's from friends near and far.
In 2022 my friend Pat (Cusack) celebrated his big milestone and it was wonderful to see him receive the appreciation and kudos from his friends from over the years. It was a struggle for me to physically go to Clare (I have such a hard time being in a room with too many people) but again I am so glad I did. It was a great occasion and wonderful to see so many of the 'old' faces. Such a good bunch of people, but then, they're Pat's mates, why wouldn't they be.
I still miss Bowie. It's been 7 years and I often ponder just what he'd have done in that time? He was never less than interesting. Prince is also gone 7 years. I feel he had probably done all he was ever really going to do musically. He wrote SO many songs over his time on this planet that I think he exhausted every genre available to him.However, still, he left us way too soon. And Stu Eccles, sigh.
Sinead O'Connors' recent passing has manifested a sense of national grief. Such a sad loss of another great artist. A troubled soul, I felt she often polarised a lot of people with her strong opinions, and she was skilled at prompting a response. She was right in so many ways, long before the rest of us copped on. I think sometimes there was a tendency for the message to get lost, for example, the continual adopting of new religious alignments (Sinead in priests clothing, rasta Sinead, muslim Sinead etc), and bold pronunciations are rarely ever welcomed by the general population, particularly if there's a sense of provocation. There's a huge amount of retrospective virtue signalling recognition going on at the moment, it happens when famous people pass, some of it white washing (not in any racial sense - funny how you have to put disclaimers lie that into context these days) the actual facts that Sinead was a complex woman who tested many bboundaries. She was a human being and all that goes with it. Its hard to start the on the road to adult life with the childhood she had. I saw her once in concert, an it was a revelation for me. I bought the audio book of her autobiography when it was released a few years ago. I suggest people read/listen to that first before they make any glib glorifications. But could she poke the bear! She will always be a legend, certainly in Ireland, and for good reason. It is gut wrenching to know the things she went through, particularly the tragic loss of a child. You don't come back from that. The human body might, but the soul never will. RIP Sinead.
Everton have continued to be the bane of my life for the past two years (or, 30 years). I really shouldn't care any more. Football has become completely amoral and beyond greed, and it's not about the sport, it's all about money, cultural sports washing, gambling companies etc and at some point I'm going to have to walk away. There's nothing (in football) more reprehensible than watching soccer players kissing ''the badge'. I don't begrudge (hmm? maybe I do?) players making a good living an setting themselves up for life. But when middle range players are now regularly ‘sold’ for £100m, then the world has gone crazy, and there are supporters of these clubs who can't put food on the table. Our society is breaking down year after year, and getting further apart on the ends of the scale. Young adults hopped up on drugs with little or no future roaming the streets in gangs with what appears to be very little consequences for some awful behaviour. Who's to blame? I have opinions however the global political system is not going to help anyone except itself and its protagonists. OK, 'nuff said.
I have to say I've enjoyed watching the World Cup ladies football, it's still got an open and honest attitude. But no doubt that will change when it too becomes all about the money.
I'm going to be a grandad early next year and it is a very emotional feeling (all good!). It seems like yesterday since Ben himself was born and now he's going to be a Dad himself. I can't dwell too long on that or I'll just be a puddle on the floor :D. He has his own journey now. When we had him I was 26, and an immature young man (as I had been a very immature boy). That middle of the night coming home after his birth from the hospital in Drogheda, I had to pull the car over in Slane village, and I don't mind admitting it, I bawled my eyes out for half an hour. Just the thoughts about the enormity of this new responsibility and worries if I would be able to look after him. It passes and we get aligned with life as he will too.
Ok! Going to go and torture myself by looking for an illegal stream to watch EFC vs Sporting in preseason friendly. Masochist. (edit - we won 1-0! There's a surprise).
Hopefully there'll be more music in 2023 and I aways aspire to get better on each release around the technical aspects of the production stuff. The songs will always be there