Damn.

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Well then.

I’m sorry. I went away for a while there. I left you alone.

Where have I been? Well, mostly realising that the whole “Season affected depression” thing I always suspected I had is 100% a thing. So, four months of the year have just been spent in a box of misery, which is nice.

In those four, endless, stupid months, I thought I’d do anything but play music. I thought I’d go back to uni, I thought I’d get a real job, I thought I’d do lots and lots and lots of things that weren’t the thing that I enjoy most……

I did a lot of reading, I did a lot of learning.

I realised that I am feral, that I am not built to be tethered, that I am designed to be my own boss and that all of my worries are based around the idea that I do not think I am good enough to deserve the life I want to live. That what we have jokingly called “the wiggles” for that unending desire to leave and explore, to not feel trapped in tiny towns for so many years is an actual part of my DNA that I cannot beat, that I cannot evolve out of, that I have to embrace and try to build a life around.

And then the sun came out. And I decided to make a new record, I started tentatively writing new songs.

The new songs and I are slowly sidling up to each other and hoping something magical might appear if we don’t look each other in the eye too hard, lest we scare each other off.

I decided to head back out on tour with my dearest friend Tom and his Lions and Wolves.

I decided that my last record was lovely, but I was in a period of my life where things were not good, so I did not get to enjoy almost any part of the process. I waited so long and then rushed it. I fumbled the play.

I decided that this time I would enjoy the entire process and feel no pressure in making it. (Apart from finding the money, which I will find in due time).

I’m not sure what it’s going to be called yet, but it will be named. It deserves to be named.

There will be songs on it about running away to sea, about The Heron and what it stands for, and one song I’m super excited to share with you all which is an open letter/apology to my girlfriend in advance – because we all know I’m going to screw up real bad one day – you can all borrow that one if you so wish.

I decided that this time is it, one more year around the sun, one more year of trying hard, one more year I hope you join me. I promise to stay in touch more. I promise that I’ll enjoy myself more, and by proxy, I hope you will too.

I will be coming to your town. Please inform any and all promoters about this as a possibility.

I’m sorry I don’t have new songs for you right now, but I thought I might give you some songs that other people made that have lit the fire under my butt to make a new record.

Oh, and I bought a super sweet new jacket.

My dear friend. I’ve missed you so.

x

December (and November), oops.

(What I thought was a simple Instagram across to here IFTTT thing turned into an unmitigated disaster, sorry if you got a bunch of emails for junk you didn’t need).

So, the year is drawing out and I’m contentedly writing, as glacially as ever, in as many different formats as you can imagine, so that whilst I’m busy, I don’t actually feel like I have much to show for it. Such is life, I guess.

I’ve been home just a little under a week, after a short tour and then a five-week stay in Germany and I’m coming to realise that, whilst I’m still eager to write and create, I definitely have bills to pay and could do with a little more security towards the future.

As you’ve probably all noticed, HoO (as absolutely nobody has ever called it) has been a little quiet this year, deliberately so, splitting my life between England and Germany is and has been fascinating and I’ve wanted to dive into that some more, to put some money away and to not have to struggle too much to pay the bills (I managed nearly all of those things, but money is money – I did open a savings account though, like an actual adult!).

So yeah, a few end of year posts coming up, probably the usual “talk about films, talk about music, talk about what you’ve learned blah blah blah nonsense”, but I wanted to take the moment, purely because I’m notoriously slow in updating these things to say thankyou for being here and for taking a little time with me – next year will hopefully bring new songs and a few tours – I’ve no desire to “make it” anymore, no desire to chase bigger audiences, but I still, desperately want to write and create and make new things, so hopefully next year will allow for much more of that.

Here is a video of me doing a sing in Koln a few weeks ago, I had the best ruddy night, made lots of really delightful new friends and got to cuddle a dog – I think this video reflects that perfectly.

Happy Christmas friends!

x

 

October.

The last leaves on the last trees. Autumnal passing gifts of big skies, first frosts and storms.

You get busy for what feels like a few days and a month goes past, autumn arrives, October passes. Halloween and Bonfire night, my favourite week of the year, the last before the darkness.

– Lots to catch up on, but firstly; many, many thanks to everyone that came out last week, those three shows were some of the best I’ve played in a long time and reinvigorated my tired (and occasionally quite lazy) butt into doing more. Thanks to the various friends from Sofar Sounds Cologne, Teilchen + Beschleuniger and Studio 672. Thankyou also to Robert Grosse and all at Noisegroupie for all their help.

I started this year unsure about music and, to be quite frank, poorer than I’ve been at just about any point in my adult life. Thankfully (hopefully) that time has passed and I end the year in a much happier and more positive place. Between these shows and Sweden, I have rekindled my love for making things and tried, at least a little, to quiet the ever panicking “pay the bills voices” that haunt us all.

I’m going to spend the rest of the year, and probably the start of next chained to a collection of desks, guitars and coffee shops tables in order to write, not just new music, but a few other projects that have been waiting on the backburner for a while. I’m also going to try and keep this place updated at least semi-regularly and rather than just talking shop, I’m hoping to share a little more of what I’m reading, what I’m spending my time consuming and where I’m at creatively. For the most part, I will use this as a hub for everything, but may also expand into email and a regularly scheduled “mailing list” for those that remember 2003 and how good they use to be. Facebook’s continual search for the destruction of all non-paying customers at the hands of algorithmic obscurity means I feel, we may all have to go back to being a little more creative in our search for connection and “audience reach”. For me, that slightly longer, more longform approach might also work a little better – I’m never one for pithy, witty and concise.

And so my friends, it’s back to the office, I shall be back in a couple of days with the first of our regularly scheduled conversations after I’ve had a little chance to get some rhythm and reality back into the world.

J

x

 

 

Outside it smells like bonfires. 

It is cold enough for me to see my breath in the air. It is cold enough to feel the winter, waiting.

 It feels like the fire is needed for the first time.

Sure, we lit fires in July, but they were smaller, more sentimental creatures. Little ways to hold on, to keep the party flowing. The fire had no meaning other than congregation.We lit them because we could, not because we needed too.

Tonight the fire felt like a practice run for the hundreds of nights that are to come. 

For the winter.

And what of me? From here, I start to become wistful, to watch the evenings for the first signs of trouble. Soon will come the final bookmarks of the year, Pumpkins, Fireworks, Fairylights, Gifts. 

I will start to nest, to put on weight, to worry about new coats, new boots, new ways of working. I will watch the Geese as they leave and wish to join them, the Swifts and Swallows left already, to avoid the rush.

I will write. I will tune down to Open C and seek blindly for inspiration.

One evening, not too far from here, I will feel the dread, the sudden realisation that Winter is here, and I will panic in the afternoon darkness. I will become morose and wish that I had done more, had gone swimming, had spent more time outside. 

It happens every year.

There is no change in the Winter, the clocks will still work as they have always done, and Spring will roll around when it desires. In the meantime, I will seek the rutting Deer and the crashing tide, the final flourish of the falling leaf. 

My favourite months, the inbetween seasons.

Very little will change, but I will feel, so desperately like it needs too. Outside it smells like bonfires and it has made me feel like I need to prepare, that there is something on the horizon.

Next year I will do the same. I will feel the same way.

This will be my Thirty-Third winter, and I’m learning how to cope.

So then.

Summer closes, the shadows get longer and we slide delicately into my favourite time of year.

It’s been a quiet year so far, but an important year. For a time there,I thought I was going to walk away from music, get a real job, settle.

I sort of tried it, but I got restless, I got down and I got annoyed instead.

And then I went to Sweden.

Four days at a tiny, beautiful festival in the middle of nowhere reawakened something within me – the need to travel – the need to experience – the need to feel something. It was, dare I say it, a “soulful” experience.

There was a moment, each evening, where the sun started to drop and the air pressure changed – a moment where the sound somehow carried up and through the pines, stretching somewhere towards forever. It was a beautiful experience and one I am so desperate to hear again.

I have needed to regain control, to feel like this was mine again, for it to become personal and less like work. I think I’m starting to find my way around that. I’m starting to inch back into the process of writing, of experiencing, of enjoying. Let us see what the year can bring.

Welcome to the new site, all built by yours truly, I’m rather proud.

Announcements to come next week, meanwhile, I’ll be testing this out for bugs, patiently writing and spending the last few summer evenings watching the sea roll in, preparing for the oncoming of sweater weather.

2017

Safe to say, Tumblr became a nightmare to use. Too much social interaction, not enough “it actually worked as a website”.

So hello new wordpress site, let’s see how this works out. There’s bound to be a handful of teething problems along the way, but if you notice any give me a yell.

Lovely stuff.

 

x