End of July
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23/07/14 – Wednesday
Oh, today was much more like it, thank you.
New pens, lots of unhealthy snacks and a day of guitar playing madness. The Halloween show went on sale to GASS members only (for 48 hours) and they’ve already bought half the bloody tickets!
Great hearing the songs fleshing out. Oliver is being amazing on this session. Tireless and very nice, he reminds me of the super engineers that were around in the late 80s/early 90s, most of which went on to be producers in their own right. I predict great things for Oliver.
Great day, great work and some absolutely amazing guitar sounds. I sleep sound, so much that I forget to lie down and wake up sitting up in bed. Still, it seems to work well.
24/07/14 – Thursday
Wake up to the news that Courtney has scrapped the idea of a Hole reformation. This puts me in a great mood, which is a good frame of mind for a day of singing.
First song goes well, a spite-filled Geordie rant called ‘Toxins and Tea’, which a brass quartet turn up to add that magical thing that brass adds to any song. It’s great fun to get them all to yell ‘wanker’ in the song too. My camera runs out of battery so I’m unable to film any of it, but the memory will have to suffice.
Then my voice turns to shit. Well, not compete shit, I just lose all tone and am left with a raspy yelp that has to suffice as we record vocals on a song called ‘Don’t Stop Loving The Music’, a track rendered far less poppy than intended due to the smokey drawl that replaces any hopes I had of copying Steve Perry.
No doubt about it, the problem hampers the session. Looks like my day with the family won’t be happening tomorrow. Back to being two paces behind schedule.
25/07/14 – Friday
Get back on track, or at least as on track as time will allow, and by the time Jane and Taylor arrive, we’ve completed 90% of the tracks, and only fatigue (and inebriation) stop play at the very end of a very long day.
A quick couple of glasses of wine and about 3 minutes of a movie, with Jane, signal bed time. Bushed, beat and ready for a break.
Only tomorrow we’re going to spend a few days with all the kids, so a break won’t be happening any time soon.
26/07/14 – Saturday
Travel day. Early start. Get kids, check into hotel, swim, go to see Planet Of The Apes at the flix. Taylor is scared then bored – an accurate review right there – and I leave the movie early to take him home, leaving my cap in the movie theatre. I will spend the next 3 days trying to locate said lost hat, but the staff in the cinema are just about as helpful as diarrhoea on a bride’s wedding day. In fact this attitude will be a recurring theme for our entire stay in Boldon.
27/07/14 – Sunday
No vegetarian breakfast available? Surely you could just design one omitting all the meat from a Full English? Oh Boldon Quality Hotel, you are a lovely place to hold a wedding (as the daily matrimonial armies would indicate), but your staff are, at best, ill-equipped at dealing with basic problems, and at worst a thorough worry.
Later, a barman will inform me that the hotel have no water. No water?!? Not a bottle on site. Astounding.
Not half as astounding as the two (count ‘em) assistants sent to deal with a locked door to the adjoining room we are booked in to. The door opens from the occupants’ side. On our side there is no handle, no keyhole – just a large wooden door. It takes the two hapless girls a good ten minutes to struggle to find a key that opens the no-lock in the door.
Tomorrow we will endeavour to spend as much time out of this place as is possible.
28/07/14 – Monday
The heavens behave themselves, and the rain that ruined yesterday’s airshow stays at bay. As do the pillarbox red drunks that effectively ruined a scenic open-air music festival by the sea. Well, those and the oddly annoying atonal warbling of Heather Small.
Decide that today will be spent in the company of immediate family as my sis, mum, and nieces join us for fun and frolics by the seaside, culminating in a costly blast around the fairground and a trip to the supermarket where the kids are given free rein to buy any party crap that they can keep down. Party night in the hotel, and the debris left in the morning would have done Led Zeppelin proud. Nice one kids.
29/07/14 – Tuesday
Leave the North East with mixed emotions, but feeling a lot more settled as we arrive back at Chairworks studio to finish off vocals on the tracks we started last week, until we find that current road works have cut off all power to the studio. Sweet.
Eventually, electricity is returned and Chris Catalyst hammers through his parts like a pro. Gonna get the kids on the songs later. I’m sure they’ll get a kick out of swearing on daddy’s new songs!
Never work with children or animals, as the saying goes, and with good reason. The weather takes direction better. Still, they all finish their sweary, over-eager performances with little signs of nerves or reservation. Jasmine impresses the most with an angelic solo section, complete with harmony. She’s a natural and will do great things. Jake gives so much punk rock that he loses his voice and Taylor is hilarious – yelling ‘wanker’ with superhuman glee. Politically correct parenting? You’ve come to the wrong recording session mate.
It’s a long and very draining day that I bid goodnight to some 19 hours since it kicked off.
30/07/14 – Wednesday
Woke to screaming. Apparently there’s a tarantula in the kitchen. On further investigation, the truth reveals a very large garden spider frantically attempting to pull itself free from another spider’s web, which has it held fast by the foot. And then a remarkable thing happens.
Seemingly strong and presumably able to escape its predicament, the spider loses footing on the ceiling and hangs helpless by its one trapped limb. Almost automatically it begins twitching in frustration and then, with a series of tics and leg movements, the helpless arachnid assumes the death position – all legs curled inwards – and dies. Just like that. gives up on its curious situation and decides to give up on life. It was so strange to see the lack of survival instinct that we as humans take as a natural part of our design. What did this thing actually die of? Auto-suicide?
The strange display stays with me for the entire day, and will no doubt follow me around for the rest of my life.
After a trip up Abraham Heights, and a private wander around the caves, I drop the kids off at a family wedding in Derbyshire and return the rest of mine home. Still haunted by the spider’s death and unable to avoid the imminent absorption into despair that threatens. The Dog is strong this month. Resistance, it appears, is futile and naïve. This is how it is for me.
31/07/14 – Thursday
A day to get packed for the family holiday, get the podcast recorded and film the video for the new GASS competition. With a sack of anvils following me around. Hey ho, let’s at least give it our best shot, eh?
A spur of the moment return to Facebook for a Q & A session lays to rest a few ghosts and rumours, as does a chat to CJ – which has been long overdue. As usual, it appears that the problems stem from bored outsiders with an overinflated sense of importance.
By the time I record the podcast I’m thrust deep into a huge depression that renders the recording dull, manic and – ultimately – worthless. Still, I decide to issue this sad documentation on the hunch that it will give comfort and solace to fellow sufferers, and maybe illustrate the helpless nature of this illness to outsiders unaffected by its wretched torment. And no doubt it’ll give a few heartless bastards more ammunition with which to fire at my open target. [Editor’s note: this podcast was not the finally released version]
Filming myself spray painting the logo on a disused railway wall is done on total autopilot, and I return home to a delicate atmosphere caused by sweeping moods, surely the absolute worst result of this awful affliction.
01/08/14 – Friday
Two hours’ sleep is made bearable by Tramadol, a drug issued for my back pains but, on which, sleep is a tattered and fragmented assault. Handy when one needs to sleep light for a very short while.
Traffic, dawdling and a lack of planning (due to simple lack of time in general) sees us missing our flight to Minorca, meaning we must return home until tomorrow, where two seats have been located for the next flight. The dog has its teeth in deep by now and I simply don’t care if a third seat is found, feeling, as I do, like a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and solitude could provide any joy that a beach and sunshine could do.
A remark about my voice being “shit compared to what it once was”, the penalty for returning to the thorny path that is Facebook/All Things Wildhearts, sucks any possibility of resurfacing from this murk and I accept defeat as my default response. If only people knew how close I come to ending this all on a regular basis, and how absolutely steel my reserve as I make it through another day.
People are enjoying the Courtney duet on this month’s GASS playlist. I’m relieved. In fact, all the music has been positively accepted this month. It is this that talks me down from the precipice today. Again, if people only knew how much their kindness affects things…
02/08/14 – Saturday
Arrive at Manchester Airport where a third seat on tour flight is located. There are some wonderful people on this earth, and the lovely Christine of Thomas Cook is certainly one of them. As I continue to fight the sure to sleep, writing this on the plane towards Minorca, I’m exhausted and confused and unsure of myself and my future. I am leaving myself open to the whims of the universe and hoping that she will provide wisdom and solace. This empty shell has nothing to lose. And so I submit freely myself to the chaos of improbability and chance. We could go down right now and I am absolutely prepared to meet my fate.
Get to the hotel, where the mood is about to dramatically change. We pick up the key to our apartment, number 555 (I am later assured that had we arrived yesterday, as scheduled, we would have most certainly not been given this room. The universe is at play in the most mysterious of ways once again). On opening the door, the view strips me of any angst, stress, frustration and despondency. As I look out on the perfect sea view, complete with hour glass sand and turquoise sunburst water – framed perfectly by majestic cliffs – I can barely remember what anger feels like.
Ah, so this is why people go on holiday.
03/08/14 – Sunday
Alarm set for 5.55 to catch a sunrise that the houses and trees will deny me, it’s enough to catch the morning chill slowly being burned away by evasive sun. the smell of fresh pines and the birdsong, like an orchestra of flutes, more than make up for lack of morning colour spectacle. Anyway, I’m on the search for water. Like fools (or tourists), we gamely stocked up on liquor, snacks and a few bottles of water that we consumed during the night after waking with the thirst that the aforementioned liquor guaranteed. And snacks? With three huge meals a day, I doubt that even the huge red Brits peppering the beach have room for extra munchies.
Being entirely unfamiliar with holidays and the like, I give sunbathing a bash, taking a nap on the beach – palm tree, lounger, the lot. I’m thinking I’m passing myself off as a regular sun worshipping pro until I wake up and realise I’ve slept with my hands linked on my belly. I will suffer the indignity of sporting a white wrestling belt design as I desperately try to match up my tan during the duration of my stay.
Honestly, what a twat.