I love nothing more than an empty diary. Suddenly some space seems to have opened up for the exploration of new music. In September I asked Nelson, Mary and Ms Fi to help me launch Roadblock for a period of three months: October to December. The intent was to focus on out-of-town, to find a new audience. (Momus once presciently said ‘in the future everyone will be famous for 10 minutes to 15 people’.) Unfortunately that period coincided with two great difficulties arising in my non-musical life, both of which greedily ate time, emotional energy and morale. One is approaching a happy resolution in the next week or two; the other is ongoing in a lightless tunnel. So I couldn’t find the time or oomph to search for out of town gigs and we played a few in town gigs, which we discharged honourably and at which we were warmly received. A good feeling developed between the four of us, the playing was fun and it somehow strengthened the Roadblock songs, particularly in the sense of convincing those who thought this particular set was too gloomy to take out on an audience (I had to count myself among them!). Simultaneously Bespoke decided it was time to go public, estimated the number of weeks rehearsal we’d need in order to do so and set a date (tomorrow). Sadly, the condition that has taken drummer Pete out of the game for that gig looks like stopping all Bespoke activity for a few weeks.
So suddenly some time is becoming free. I’m holding back from declaring the Roadblock band over, but I won’t be actively seeking gigs for it for the next few months; if someone asks us to play, as Darren Thornberry did for the Lot, that’s different. I’m going to pick up the Wright Brothers with Nelson, returning to the basic original premise – what can we do as just the two of us, guitar, bass and mandolin? We both have some new ideas to try out, without any pressure for them to be viable. There’s the tentative collaboration I’ve begun with Torpedo Buoy, which hasn’t really had a chance to find its level yet. And I’ve another set of songs from my archive, mostly unheard, to start recording. I also want to invest some time in becoming a better guitarist, for the sake of these recordings and for Bespoke.
I know from exhaustively repeated experience that I waste 70% of my ‘free’ time on nerdy noodling, surfing, compulsive organising and occasional entertainment, but now it looks like I’ll have 30% of more than 0 to do it with, so I hope I’ll bring forth something pleasing to the 15 people to whom I’m famous.