Sunday, 7 April 2013

Further adventures, slushy roundabouts and Easter Santa

Hi again blog fans, Holly here to update you honestly on the goings-on of the recent musical lives of me and Chris. Just a disclaimer: we have always promised to be completely honest here on the Honest Music Blog so, whilst the majority of the following post will in fact be really positive, you might be missing a bit of whinging and moaning. I can, hand on heart, say that what you’re about to read is 100% true and factual. It’s mostly just been a super-awesome few weeks. 

So, our last blog ended on our germ-ridden, but strangely well-received performance at Cambridge Folk Club. By the time the following Saturday rolled around, we were completely free of the girl flu and man flu and more than ready to play again. We had a show booked in Glossop, to support our good mates The Old Dance School (we’ve supported them a few times before and they are really excellent musicians and great people too), at a gorgeous venue called The Globe Inn. The gig had been booked for about 18 months and we knew it was going to be a corker. But on Friday evening, tales of HUGE snowfall across the West and abundant road closures with it, we knew it might be a struggle to get across the Pennines from York. We phoned the promoter on Friday night who said it was fine in Glossop, just light snowfall and that if we did get stuck and had to stop overnight on the Saturday that we could kindly stay at her house. So, on Saturday afternoon we ignored the horror stories of massive snowdrifts etc and chucked our guitars, sleeping bags, toothbrushes and change of pants in the back of the car and set off to the gig. I’d always rather just attempt the journey and see what all the weather fuss was about, on the off chance we could actually get there.  It seems that our optimistic good intentions were to be ignored by the hands of fate and 13 miles away from Glossop, we hit a really slushy roundabout, almost skidded into the ‘ROAD CLOSED’ sign and had to turn back. Absolutely gutted. Both roads we needed were closed from that point and to make matters worse, I’m not entirely sure that the promoter believed we were telling the truth in the following phone call to explain we couldn’t make it. So we came back home and sulked. For a long time.

Large snow fail.

The following week, the snow had melted, my guinea pig Jonathan had gone on a week-long vacation to my Mum’s house and we were on our way to London to play at Portobello Acoustic Sessions (or as it’s affectionately known, ‘PAS’) in Notting Hill. Now, having driven into the centre of London a couple of years back and getting stuck in the car outside Kings Cross Station at 5.30pm on our previous visit to PAS, we knew by all means NOT to take the car this time. So on the day of the gig we drove from York to Bishop’s Stortford (home of bankers, blue road signs, teeny tiny roads and unfathomable car parks) to park our Seat Leon overnight and get the train into London from there. After a mildly ridiculous escapade with me trying to park the car, we finally got on the train and into London Paddington, walked to Notting Hill and had time to eat some mighty fine Mexican food before the gig. Fortunately, we had booked a stopover only 15 minutes’ walk from the venue, which was completely brilliant as we were able to relax and enjoy the show without worrying about driving anywhere afterwards – a rare and wonderful treat. Regrettably, the drinks prices in London were so extortionate that we only could afford one beverage each – but it was still awesome. 

We enjoyed playing alongside some wonderful talent that night – the incredible Aaron Douglas (, fine songwriter Sami Sumner ( and the harmony laden greatness of Apples I’m Home ( . Also, people came to see us! Someone I barely know left his wife and kids at home in Croydon to come and watch and stopped for the whole night. It was brilliant. If I’m being completely honest, the sound was utterly shit on stage (and off?) due to a vaguely distracted and frankly rubbish sound man. I think he was too busy doodling to use his ears and did the usual trick of blaming our equipment (our equipment was in perfect working order, funny that). But apart from that, our sets went down well and the other acts were all really lovely to meet too and we were able to walk back to the hotel and grab some £1 closing-time white chocolate cookies from Sainsbury’s Local for a post-gig pudding. ROCK.

Our London fan Nadeem!

The following day we went back to Bishop’s Stortford and drove on to High Barn in Great Bardfield, Essex. If you haven’t heard of this venue or been already, I strongly urge you to do so! It’s in a beautiful part of the country and is, quite frankly, a stunning place to play. They have a varied programme of music which includes frequent ‘Unplugged’ evenings, which is what we were playing at. We arrived on time at the venue and from then on were treated to some absolutely gorgeous sound engineering from the very happy man doing the sound. Makes such a big difference dealing with techies who are passionate about what they do! We knew we were in good hands and the building is perfect for acoustic music. We met some wonderful artists at this show as well – the guitar God we now know as Robert Castellani (, from Belfast the super-lovely, crazy travelling Owen McGarry ( and a great local band led by Jon Hart ( People came to see us there as well - a man who looked like Santa waved if I asked the crowd if anyone had been to see us before, which felt really good. We sold a bunch of CD’s to new followers and the whole show was broadcast across t’Internet to Canada & Portugal and somewhere else. Also, the compere Flora was really nice to us and we had a really good chat about knitting & crochet in the Green Room beforehand. I expect that this wasn’t a highlight for Chris but it was very interesting for me. The whole gig was brilliant though and we loved playing, in particular we felt really at home on stage at High Barn so it was a real pleasure to perform.

A very high barn.

We returned home the next day, after a whole two days on tour, and had a few days enjoying Easter with our families (and much chocolate). I instantly started to email to book shows again after having such a blast in London and Essex, despite having barely covered our petrol expenses on the last stint. I actually don’t care – that’s what I have a day job for, right? To pay for what I LOVE to spend my time doing? 

We then returned to Norwich to play at Grapevine @ Bedford’s, a regular acoustic evening organised by the ever-wonderful Steve & Jan Howlett (we’ve blogged about them beforehand). Even though we have performed here twice before, we love to return and always find something new about each show. This time, we learned NOT to follow the Sat Nav on the journey from York – Norwich, as it takes you on a very long, slow road through Lincolnshire and at times, it felt like we were never, ever going to get out. Fortunately we did though, grabbed a Desperados and some hot nuts at the venue and played the show alongside the stunningly talented (makes me feel old and envious of her youth and talent) Freya Roy ( and our wonderful new friends Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe ( 

Beer and hot nuts. The sign of an impending good night.

One thing that makes the gig even better is when the other acts are really good to chat to before the show – makes me feel relaxed and breaks down any hint of ego – and tonight was no exception. Cole and Joseph had been on tour for ages and were rapidly wilting by the end of the night but it didn’t dampen the witty banter and story sharing we had throughout the night. It was also lovely to meet Freya who was just so, so good and she didn’t know it. The audience was fairly subdued to be honest, but sometimes this is the way and everyone did applaud – I think it was just one of those nights where the crowd were naturally quiet. Perhaps, like me, they were still suffering from a post-Easter chocolate hangover and any whooping might have induced unpleasant side-effects. We did however, meet a couple who came to see us who we had met in Dent at the Music & Beer festival last year, which felt brilliant as it reinforced my theory that every gig we do seems to bring people back further along the line. We know you’re out there and we really do thank you for it. 

Back home. Thank you car.
Phew – OK, I think that’s everything updated for now. We’ve got more shows coming over the next few weeks (including one in an actual working launderette – I kid you not) so please do come and show your support ( . If you’re nice to us, you might make an appearance on this blog. If you’re not nice to us, you might make an appearance too. So please come to our shows, be nice to us, and revel in your glory. 

Most love to you all,
Holly x

Monday, 18 March 2013

Gigs, colds, snow, driving, fans, show, cake, hi fives.

    I bet you thought we’d forgotten again, hadn’t you? Or maybe you know us better than that and realise that sometimes we just can’t be arsed. But, never mind all that. Here’s a blog that actually contains references to our music. Hooray!

   I’m here to bring you up to date with all our musical shenanigans, and guess what? Our 2013 gigs have begun with screaming vengeance. In a good way. Truth be told, I personally can’t say I was looking forward to getting back in the gigging saddle. Our winter break had left me lethargic, I couldn’t remember any of my parts to any of the songs  and I certainly didn’t want to have to practice. Well slap my face and hush my mouth because every gig so far this year has been awesome. In fact, I’d go as far to say they have been AWESOME.

  It all began again with the rather odd task of setting off for a gig at 9:30am. We had been booked to play two sets on two stages at Moonbeams Folk Weekend in Driffield, the first at noon. The audience could have been described as sporadic, but keen none the less. It was actually an ideal first gig back as it felt like everybody was just waking up from a deep sleep and finding their way into the day. It was helped in no small part by some excellent sound courtesy of  Ian ‘Hippy’ Baker, the only soundman who has ever offered us a choice of entrance music and not batting an eyelid when questioned about his rap and metal collections.
Setlist on the hand.

  Having time to kill until our next set at 8pm, we set about exploring Driffield’s charity shops, eating too much cake, listening to the football and nodding off. Motley Crue we are not. Our second set went well enough and gave us chance to air out some different songs. Despite a distinct lack of Guinness, the audience seemed to enjoy themselves with one particularly enthusiastic man complementing the ’metal’ of my finger-tapping guitar solo during our version of Michael Sembello’s Maniac. I get the impression he’d waited along time to hear such out of place guitar widdle.

  Next, in celebration of International Women’s Day, came a rather rare solo set from Holly. Myself, banished from the event for not being an International Woman, was given the night off to tediously categorise sound equipment (this I actually love to do. Really). Despite reports of Fibbers being “freezing cold and smelling of wee,” the gig itself was considered a success and a wide variety of performers made for an interesting night. Holly reports that even though she had rather wobbly legs from being nervous and her head being cold because of her new ‘up-do’, it was a good thing to test herself on stage playing without me and also airing a new song.

Fibbers (good job no smell-o-vision yet)

   Our busy schedule continued with our own show, The Underground Acoustic Club which takes place rather exclusively twice a year. This time we opened the show for the quite simply wonderful Alastair Artingstall (, who not only played an excellent set but gave us insider knowledge into some top sound engineering skills and helped us pack away, all the time in Cuban heels. Brilliant. Closing the show were our scarily good American friends Stephanie Lambring (www.en-gb.face and Ben Danaher (, who’d come to England all the way from Nashville and seemingly brought some hidden York fans out of the woodwork at the same time. It’s wonderfully refreshing to hear Americana done by actual Americans and everyone seemed very happy with the mix of music and cake (is there a theme here?). Top marks must also go to both Holly’s mum Tricia and brother Mark for manning the doors and the raffle (we raised over £50 for Arts in York Hospital) and to my mum and dad for dealing with the cake requests and braving their loft for fairy lights. Also the fact that anyone came out and paid money for a gig on such a rainy Saturday night was greatly appreciated. Also apologies must go to Ben Danaher, who rather too late realised that our inflatable camp bed had a hole in it.

Underground, overground
   What followed next was that we opened the show for Stephanie and Ben again, this time at the fantastic (makes me very jealous) Wombwell Wheelhouse. It’s a log cabin. For music. With excellent sound. In a garden. With beer. After playing, we were fed pie and peas. I squeezed in more cake. We met Rory, a dog who looks a lot like the Luck Dragon from The Neverending Story, but smaller. Minus the flying (as far as I know). It was an excellent night and huge thanks must go to Hedley and Lynne for being such wonderful hosts.

Rory (Roary?) - AKA The Luck Dragon
   The week after saw us both struck down with various cases of lurgy, myself with the sneezes and Holly with the coughing. We had a gig booked at Cambridge Folk Club at the end of the week, and while I recovered somewhat, Holly’s cough got worse and worse. A quick run through on Thursday night left Holly sounding a bit like Kurt Cobain and a phone call to the promoters telling them it was touch and go. Friday came and it turns out it was go. Were we going to drive the three hours to Cambridge in the pouring rain to snuffle and splutter out way through five songs and then drive all the way back again? You bet we were. Our sound check did little to dispel the idea that we’d made a mistake. Holly was really struggling with her voice and I didn’t have enough breath to sustain long notes, meaning we had to hastily rearrange our setlist to include songs we hadn’t really practised. It wasn’t looking good. To compound all of this, we were supporting local based band The Willows ( who were not only excellent, not only one of the nicest bands you’ll ever meet, but had also sold the club out. It was standing room only. People were hanging out of the fire exit. Suffice to say, when stepping onto the stage, we weren’t at our most confident. What followed was an exceedingly bizarre situation whereby the worse we sounded, the more everyone cheered. We apologised several times. People didn’t care, they loved it. They laughed uproariously at all our befuddled Northern banter. Upon leaving the stage to rapturous applause, people were patting our shoulders and congratulating us. I felt a lot like Hulk Hogan, which was nice. Holly had promised that any money made from our cd sales would go directly to Comic Relief. After stuffing my face with Nachos and Guinness, I wandered to the merch table in the interval to find a queue of people waving cash at me. For some crazy reason, our snotty, coughy set earned £150 for Comic Relief. Top stuff Cambridge, top stuff.

To prove how nice we are.
   Much medicine and Red Bull later, we find ourselves here, right now in the middle of our month of March madness. The end of the month will see us taking in a Southern Tour again, so be sure to stay tuned for more accounts of our travels and hopefully a continued run of excellent gigs.

Until then,


Monday, 21 January 2013

This week, Aquatic Ape. Or, is a swimming pool anything like the music business?

   Welcome back Ladies and Gentlemen, to The Honest Music Blog. This week has seen myself temporarily left to my own devices - with Holly away on a no doubt thrill-a-minute trip to Oxford with her day job (that’s right folks, music ain’t paying no bills), I found myself adjusting to life without my partner in crime. And what did I do you ask? Did I trawl the internet making contacts and enquiries about gigs and venues? Did I sit down and work on my modal scales? Did I do anything musical worth mentioning on this blog about music? The answer is: No. I went swimming. Which did in turn lead me to ask myself - is a swimming pool anything like the music business? The answer is: Yes. Yes it is.

   Now bear with me here, because I thought this up while slowly paddling round the deep end. Imagine if you will, a swimming pool. This swimming pool is the music business. Its big, its potentially fatal and full of strange people. Upon arrival, you never really know what you’re going to find. It smells funny and is slightly confusing. It’s not really like anywhere else. Your response to all this? What is the first thing you do? You take off all your clothes. Now, I not saying that being part of the music business requires you to get naked. Maybe it would help, maybe it wouldn’t, but that’s by the by. My point is exposure - is changing into Speedos in front of a room full of people really that different to getting up on a stage and playing a song that you have written? Both open you up for potential criticism or possible admiration (in a weird way), but the fact remains that without this initial vulnerability, nothing would happen. You can’t swim without your Speedos and you can’t play music without people hearing it.

  Anyway, having braved the first stage, you find yourself with two options: sit on the side and watch everyone else having all the fun, or take the chance and chuck yourself in. You may as some people do, dip your toe in to test the water first. What do you always find? Its lukewarm. The water, like public reception, is never quite as hot as you’d hope for. Some people may be put off by this and pack it all in before even really starting. They go and sit next to the vending machine and read Heat magazine. Some people don’t even notice and dive in anyway.
   Now, assume you’ve got this far and find yourself in the water (music business). This is how my train of thought started - my approach to swimming is pretty much like my approach to music - I don’t take it too seriously, I change direction without warning and mostly wish I was a bit better at it than I actually am. I then wondered whether everyone’s swimming style was comparable to people’s musical style? In both instances you meet the same types of people. You have people like myself, changing strokes like I change instruments, going backwards and forwards and sideways, making big noises and little splashes. I’m the musical equivalent of an impressionable youth with a short attention span. There are those who hurl themselves in with an almighty crash and thunder down to the shallow end. These are your Rock’n’Rollers - noisy, hairy, short lived and really only in it for the women. There are those pairs who swim very slowly, holding long conversations between themselves - these are your folk musicians, using far too many words which are only really relevant to themselves and wondering why anyone else bothers to swim any differently. There are those who bring all the swimming paraphernalia - caps, goggles, nose plug, verruca socks - these are of course the prog musicians, never leaving home without far too much kit and taking an age before anything happens. Those who insist on fighting a losing battle with the water - groping their way along with pleading eyes and shocked faces because in truth they’re slowly drowning (those who want to be in it but just aren’t good enough to get by), those women, the pop stars, who enter the water with full make up and a salon styled hairdo are an example of style over substance, those kids who think its all such a laugh until one of them has a asthma attack (read drug overdose). What about the opera stars you ask? Overweight men involved in situations that require them to strain every sinew in effort while everyone else strains to understand what they’re doing? Look around you. Somewhere, there will be an overweight old man using a beach towel to strenuously floss his undercarriage, gleefully unaware that people around him are struggling to hide the horror on their faces. I could go on. And I will. Look at the Life Guards. These are your audience. Are they paying attention? You hope they are, but in truth, they’re not. Unless you do something crazy that is. Or you are so crap at swimming that they are forced to intervene. A musical audience would leave. A Life Guard would dump you on the side, cold and embarrassed. They’re really the same thing.

   On leaving the pool and returning to the changing room, I noticed a genius piece of scrawled graffiti. I once read that the novelist Stephen King writes down all the graffiti he sees, because he says that it is the closest, most concise insight into the human psyche as you can find. I hope for Phil D’s sake that this is not true - ‘Phil D has shitty wort nob’ it read. Poor Phil D. Although, this analogy once again serves to highlight the plight of another swimming pool/music business contender: The Groupie. Stay safe kids, stay safe. You don’t want your dirty laundry (or in Phil’s case, your STD) aired in front of strangers via shower room walls.

   Maybe I was onto something. Maybe a swimming pool is just like the music business. When I eventually left the bath house, I had less money than I went in with, a lingering doubt that I probably could of tried harder, and bad hair. Would you not be in exactly the same state if you gave up music right now? I know I would. And that’s why I’ll keep on trying. Music that is, not swimming. But probably swimming as well. But not simultaneously. That wouldn’t make any sense at all.




Sunday, 13 January 2013

Getting my head round the concept of fandom

Hi folks – Holly here, checking back in on the Honest Music Blog. I hope you all enjoyed Chris’ offering last week, I sure did. He doesn’t let me read these things until he has spent a lot of time poring over them, reading and re-reading, then when I finally get chance to see what he has come up with it always reminds me of how funny, dry and honest he is. Sometimes I think you forget appreciating something when it’s right there with you all the time, so to be reminded of it once in a while is very refreshing. Thanks Chris. You should be a blogger for a living (and still find time to gig with me, of course). 

This leads me nicely into the subject of this week’s blog. We had a rare January gig this week at the Last Drop Inn, York. When Winter is in full flow, I try really not to book too many gigs, partly because there’s often inclement weather conditions which make it difficult for audience or performers to travel there, or everyone’s just too cold, miserable and skint to come out of Christmas hibernation and you’re playing to nobody. However, happily this was not the case this Tuesday evening! We played a couple of 45 minute sets at the Drop, which is a long gig for us but is a good way to air some songs we play less frequently, in a relaxed atmosphere. Imagine our surprise then, when we turned up expecting a fairly quiet night and waiting for us to play were a couple who had travelled all the way from Rutland in the second week of January to come and watch us. Brilliant! 

Picture: Acoustic encore of Toes, 08 January 2013, Last Drop Inn York

Also in attendance were my friends Matt (birthday boy of the night) and Guy, several of their friends too, the two Irish chaps who work in York during the week and always come to see us if they can, two younger chaps in hoodies who correctly guessed the ‘Name The Artist’ game, our housemate James and of course my ever faithful Mum, along with a whole bunch of other people in the pub who had happened on the gig by accident – as well as the super excellent bar staff, who are always so welcoming to us. 

I am not trying to impress you here with how many people we managed to get to our gig. The point is that human beings are wonderfully surprising creatures. The way I approach gigs at our level is to just get there on time, play as best I can and perhaps introduce our music to a few new ears. I’m never expectant of anything coming from the show because I think if you do that, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. And after each one, I am pretty much instantly thinking of the next one, glowing or otherwise from the experience and thirsty for more. But the more gigs we have done, the more people have seen us and somehow felt a connection with us, enough of a connection to create enduring relationships (ideological or otherwise – I do like to chat). For the past few years, we have been gigging, writing, recording, playing everywhere we can, playing for free, playing for charity, emailing the world and his wife to ask for opportunities to perform or for radio airplay or suchlike. This kind of input from our side is not an instantly gratifying pursuit – often we don’t get replies or there aren’t hundreds of people queuing to buy CD’s at the end of a gig. HOWEVER – all that giving from our side is seemingly coming back to shake our hands further down the line. Just when you think that nobody cares, people actually will show up to support you. Those little seeds we have been planting do occasionally flower and have a habit of doing so just at the right time. 

Tuesday evening at the Last Drop was one of those vintage evenings, full of much laughter, lots of songs and, I assume, lovely beer (I was driving, boo hiss). We even got an encore from our gathered audience, my song Toes which we did completely acoustic as we had turned the PA off. There's a pic above of that. Thank you to everyone who was there this week. And really, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has, or ever has had, any interest in us whatsoever. I am sorry if I sometimes forget people’s names and I’m sorry if sometimes I forget where we have met before, but please know that I truly do appreciate having just a few moments of your brainspace and your heartspace, even once a year or less frequently. I hope that the effort that we put into what we do makes your day a bit better or makes you forget your troubles temporarily. I am going to continue to give whatever I can unconditionally to the world, not in the hope that it will pay off for us in the future, just in the hope of making some sort of positive change somewhere, for someone, at some time. But just this week, it has been really good to reflect on the impact that this positive change has had on the people at our gig – enough positive change to bring them to our show. Our fans. FANS!  :)

And as an extra thank you, here is a video of my version of Joni Mitchell’s gorgeous ‘A Case Of You’. It’s a favourite song of mine and a favourite for several people who were there on Tuesday.

Over and out for now,
H x

Sunday, 6 January 2013

‘So long Astoria, I’ve found a map to buried treasure.’

 So, here it is. It seems we’re back. Not that we went away physically, we just lost our virtual way somewhat. But since Holly has reignited The Honesty Blog fire, I’m here to stoke the flames.
  Or actually, I’m not. December and January find us with a self-imposed musical exile, partly because it’s cold, partly because there’s so much chocolate to get through and partly because everyone is skint. This is our time to be merry and jolly, not bellyache about the state of the musical nation. And so, my blog isn’t about music. It’s about Hollywood’s representation of kids in the Eighties.
  While spending the post Christmas Holidays in a sort of calorific stupor, shuffling around the house, gazing out windows and occasionally going into rooms and forgetting what I’d gone in for, I found myself with a kind of mental unrest. I found myself putting rather too much thought into the purchase of a pair of slippers. As much as I appreciate the new level and warmth and comfort engulfing my feet, the depth of thought going into this was leaving me a worrisome nagging in my brain. Is this what I have become?
  Whenever I don’t feel right, I’m a big believer in going with one’s instincts. You know sometimes you get a random craving for a particular foodstuff? I believe your body is in need of a particular thing found in that food, and your brain responds by telling you to eat that food. I’m not talking about constantly stuffing your face with cake and crisps, but say your body is in need of vitamin B6, you may suddenly find yourself wanting a tuna sandwich. You get the idea. I listened to my body and what did it want? 80’s kids films.
  I was born in 1985, so while missing out on most of the classics of the genre at the cinema, I was ideally placed to reap the bountiful supply of these films in the 50p section of the local video shop. They all made sense. I related completely to every aspect of them. Fast forward twenty something years later, and here I was finding myself watching them all over again. They soothed my mind. But why? They mostly follow a similar pattern. Kids (preferably in a gang) are faced with mild peril and respond with adventures. All adults are either evil or dullards, there’s an innocent love interest, and at some point they all ride bikes. Job done. But why was this putting my mind at ease? My best guess is that although as a child I never found pirate treasure, or hacked into military databases with my BBC school computer, or met aliens, I truly believed that I could. What I was missing was that sense of childish imagination. As adults we retain an imagination – imagine a pink elephant, right now. What you see in your mind is an image of an elephant and the colour pink. This is your boring, grown up, logical brain computing what a pink elephant might look like. As a child, your imagination took you so much further. It didn’t just stop at the elephant and the colour. The world seemed like a much more interesting place.
  This was highlighted be the scene in E.T where Elliot is explaining to said alien what the things in his bedroom are. ‘...this is Lando Calrissian, and this is Boba Fett,’ he says, holding up worn action figures, ‘and look, they can have wars you see, Pioww! Pioww!’ Can you imagine what that scene would be like today? Should the child be able to tear its attention from their inexplicable need for a mobile phone, it would be all Ipad this and Hi Def that. Would E.T care anymore, or would he still just want sweets and beer? Is there an app for that?  
   What I realised was that sometimes it’s far too easy to become bogged down in the world of adulthood and it can leave you exasperated.   It’s all pay this and plan that, drive here and work more. Health and Safety legislation forbids it. Your account is overdrawn by...

   Bizarrely, kids today act like little adults, and given that a lot of adults have developed into materialistic simpletons, I wonder if they will ever feel that liberating sense of adventure that used to seem just around every corner. Now everyone knows what is around every corner, because the internet tells them. There’s an app for it, so you can sit on your arse on work’s time and not have to find it for yourself.  

  And so my New Year’s Resolution is to live my life more like my Eighties self and retain a sense that however unlikely something may seem, it just might still be possible.  There is still pirate treasure out there, aliens do exist and while you may not ever have any closer friends than the ones you had when you were young, count yourself lucky that you were there to actually experience it all in the first place. There wasn’t an app for it.
  Now, I’m getting out of this horrible virtual reality and going to ride my B.M.X wildly through a building site.   

Until next time, party on dudes.


Sunday, 30 December 2012

Goodbye old year, Hello new

Firstly – a thousand apologies to those of you who started to follow this blog when we first appeared online in the Spring and have since been disappointed with our lack of activity on it recently. To be quite honest, we did a few blogs early on and then went away for a little tour and then once we’d missed a few weeks on the blog we just sort of, didn’t do another post for a while. There we go. Nice and honest.

So a big well done if you have stayed with us this far, thank you and we promise to be more timely and regular with these things from now on.

Which leads me (Holly) nicely on to the topic of this particular post. With the closing of one year and the opening of another, combined with the lovely time off that some are fortunate enough to have (we are amongst the lucky ones), I’m always drawn into the trap of thinking what I will do differently next year, what I want to change, things I would like to do more often etc. This sits fairly strangely with me, as one part of my mind says that real change should come from within at any time and shouldn’t need a different year number to prompt it. But it just so happens that I have some idle time right now and therefore I have had some time to think about it. Here’s my list.
           Listen to even more music
I had a bit of a panic early in 2012. Years ago, I wore out my iPod because I walked around a lot listening to it almost constantly. I now cycle far more and, since I don’t listen to music when I’m cycling, I often found that a day went by and I hadn’t made time to listen to just one song that I’d either never heard or truly loved. On realising this, I hastily got hold of a new little pod and invested in some new music and have felt completely enriched by the whole experience. Recorded works are often completely different to the artists’ live show as there’s more space to play with imagination and work beyond the realms of what is achievable live. Only by actively listening to recordings can you fully appreciate the artistry which has gone into developing them. The music truly can and will speak to you through those headphones. I want to do even more of this. I want to listen to music whenever and wherever and however I possibly can.
     Go to more gigs
Live music plays a big part in my life. However, the times I spend listening to live music are often a result of us also performing at the same event. This can lead to listening to similar types of stuff which, although wonderful, might get a little restricting. I want to experience a much wider variety of live performance. I want to challenge my own assumptions about what I like and what I don’t. I want to travel somewhere to take a chance on a show I’ve never seen before and I want to immerse myself in it. I want to be surprised. I believe I have a fairly open mind when it comes to most things but I want to actively expand my horizons in this way in 2013.

      Make more things
This encompasses quite a lot of things, not least of all songwriting. Over the last few years, I have been learning so much about being ‘free’. I once thought that this solely meant not working and writing music all day. I now know that it doesn’t work like that. My current definition of ‘free’ (which relates closely to my definition of ‘successful’) means enjoying every single thing that you do. And when I constantly put pressure on myself to write better and better songs when it’s not coming naturally, I start to not enjoy the process of songwriting. But what I have realised so far is that by occupying my brain and hands with other creative things that I enjoy, the songs will formulate themselves and all I’ve got to do is pick up my guitar and play them out. So I resolve to SEW, COOK, KNIT, RUN, DANCE, READ, LEARN A NEW GUITAR PIECE and do anything else that I fancy and not feel guilty about doing something else other than songwriting, because they are essential activities in the formulation of a healthy mind and hence good songs. (It also helps that many of these things can be done whilst listening to music, which can only provide a catalyst for those good ideas to come). And when I have made said things, I am going to share them with the world – which leads on to the next resolution.

     Get better at keeping in touch
I have always been useless at this. But in the age of the Internet, there really is no excuse. I am going to remind people that I exist at least once a day in the form of a little story, quote, pondering, link, gig plug or new video. Without you lovely people supporting what we do, we won’t be able to do it any more so the least I can do is say hello.

      Love everyone and everything
This goes without saying. There have been a few acts of fate happen this year which have made me lose a bit of hope that it really will all turn out alright in the end. But you simply cannot go through life being miserable, can you? So I am going renew my enthusiasm for laughing in the face of adversity when it hits me and finding the positive where there seems to be none. Nobody else can do this for me and it should be an enjoyable process for me to do anyway.

So there we go. Five (admittedly broad) things that I vow to do more of in 2013. Previous resolutions of ours have included 2010’s ‘Never Shop In Tesco Again’ and 2012’s ‘Go Vegetarian’. We have kept both of those faithfully and life has been immeasurably the better for it, so here goes. Come on 2013. Show me what you’ve got.

HT x

PS Here's a lovely video we did last week to say thanks for your support in 2012. Turn up the volume, it's quiet xx