A look back at my 2004

The obligatory look back at the year. I haven’t been keeping such a good paper diary this year so I don’t have the details I normally have to look back at, but  at  a quick reckoning I guess I’ve played more music to more people in more ways this year than in any other.

The first few months were a rush to get my first album finally completed. I ran past (self-set) deadline after deadline in my effort to make the music and artwork something I could be proud of, or at least live happily with. In this I was helped by Dave Watson, although I had to restrain his perfectionist tendencies towards the end. In fact he said only a few months ago he’d have liked to have done just a bit more with the Wolf song if I hadn’t prised it away from him!

I then had to learn about artwork and publicity. Gil Murray helped with Photoshop and Hannah O’Reilly gave me a lot of tips about publicity, culminating in a launch party at the Cafe Royal. I would never have had the confidence to carry off such an event, but I did it and people came and bought the CD. It helped that we also had Hannah and The Other Band In My Life – then called Brundlefly – on the bill. It was probably the most enjoyable gig I’ve played.

May to July seemed to be all about publicity as I tried to get reviews and airplay. I got some of both, which was pleasing. OK I still have lots of these CDs sitting on my shelf but I finally did it, it was good and a lot of people have enjoyed it and come back for more.

It’s been a great year for playing live, thanks to OOTB, Full Moon and a pile of Edinburgh Festival dates that suddenly fell into my lap. I’ve enjoyed being a part of Brundle – oops – Lynsey’s band and have found what it is to be a bass player. It’s good. There have been other collaborations I’ll remember – a couple of gigs with the G, recording with Val Densmore for the film Godot and even a live soundscape with Cloudland Blue Quartet, to an audience of 3; I listened to it today and it’s surprisingly good.

Work took a sudden lurch to the serious when I got involved in a project to implement a megabucks Learning Management System, but that’s meant a lot of new learning for me and some stretching of my comfort zone.

This year saw a real flowering of Plague and Pestilence as their own people, growing into their own lives, which has been (mostly) a joy to watch.  Although I lost my lovely mother-in-law, I gained by meeting for the first time my birth brother and sister and, finally, my birth father. I also met my birth mother for the second time when she visited my family here. We went together to my adoptive parents’ grave to thank them. All of these encounters carried enormous risk on both sides and they all turned out to be great. I felt blest.

Plans – futile to make ’em, stupid not to.  The main things for Jan and Feb are to pull together the threads of the tentatively-born New Innocents and get a cohesive unit ready for more live dates, and at the same time finish the first Romantic Fiction EP (can you still call a 5-song CD that?).  At the moment it’s looking possible. From Lynsey’s plans there will be a lot of activity with her band and I’ll have to keep the right balance. Then there will be a lot of crazy work for the implentation of that system at my employer’s in August. And if the world survives till then, a trip to New Zealand   with Madame and Pestilence in October.

I suppose this Blogging has become a major part of my life this year, too. I’d like to thank everyone who drops by  to read this stuff and listen to the noises I utter, and wish you everything good for 2005!