A profound experience I had in Ed Sheeran's bathroom
And with a title like that, who really needs a preheader
Perhaps this is not the right moment… or then again… what better moment to share with you a profound experience I once had in Ed Sheeran's bathroom. True story, from a while back.
It was late morning. The night before we'd played a show nearby and he'd very kindly invited us to crash at his place. He's a nice guy like that.
Feeling good but a little groggy, I emerged from guest bedroom #3, shuffled into the corridor and noticed a bathroom just across the hall. I figured a shower was probably a good idea.
As you'd expect, this was no grotty entry-level student bathroom. It wasn't even a properly employed grown-up adult's bathroom. It was a I've sold 150 million records elite-level wet room.
I placed my clothes in a pile on the floor and approached the shower area. The shower head was attached to the ceiling. This is maybe how it works in the big leagues.
I turned on the shower. A cascade of water came down from above. It was nice and hot. So far so good.
But wait... something was wrong. Several rogue jets were shooting water across the room. I turned in horror. By a twist of fate they were spraying on the exact spot where I'd carefully placed my clothes on the floor. Nooooo.
Ok I thought. This is clearly your classic dried limescale in the shower nozzles situation. Ed's obviously in a hard water area, I get just the same thing at home.
My instinctive reaction was to reach up to fiddle with the shower head, but it was fixed to the ceiling and too high for me to reach. For several moments I was frozen with confusion, powerless, watching my only set of clothes get more and more drenched on the other side of the room.
As I stood there, naked and helpless, I couldn't help but ponder the possibility this could have happened to him instead of me. Perhaps the day before he could have decided to use a guest bathroom for a change and placed his clothes on the floor in just the spot where I had?
Perhaps exactly the same dispiriting scene could have unfolded before him.
Now he's a lovely guy, definitely not the diva type. No way he's ordering hired help to fix this. So he's probably nipping to another room, perhaps dripping water everywhere, increasingly chilly, looking for a chair he didn't mind getting wet. Not that one, not that one, ok that one.
Standing on it precariously back in the bathroom, his face momentarily pummelled with water, he might now be able to reach the little silicone nozzles, jiggling them about to dislodge the limescale.
In that moment, he might note that no amount of money or fame or hit songs would ever allow him to truly avoid moments of simple mundane irritation just like this.
In fact, he might wonder if it was exactly those things that had created the problem in the first place. If his shower head had been attached to the wall like most showers instead of the fancy-pants ceiling, he could have unclogged those rogue jets sooner.
Stupid guest bedroom #3 shower. I'm never using this one again.
It's an easy assumption that my problems are much worse than his problems, and there's a fair chance that's true. My streaming figures are tiny in comparison, my shows are in tiny venues. My income... well you can guess.
But he's also got other problems I can't even imagine. Crazy successful problems on top of everyday life problems.
It's going to sound trite, but joy, pain, frustration, connection, isolation... these things are common to us all, and are also the fuel that writers rich and poor rely on to make great art.
I'm not saying he'd be writing a song about this, just that nothing can really insulate us from the full human experience, maybe we shouldn't want it to?
The gulf between successful and not can seem enormous. Hilarious. Even cruel sometimes. Is it right that a king should be so rich while others have so little? Is it fair? Does it bother you if it isn’t? Our story has always been one of kings and peasants, but also that’s not the reason to keep it that way. It’s a conversation for the ages, or at least twitter.
Whatever the answer it's not impossible that I am similarly human, similarly happy, similarly fulfilled, similarly vulnerable to the trivial and profound injuries of life and unexpectedly soaked clothes.
Perhaps more than possible it is likely. Our subjective experience determines our reality. It has the power to transform riches into misery, limitation into fulfilment. It turns the flash of my kid’s grin as I make them laugh into the flash of 50,000 stadium smartphones. Witness King Charles’s simple fury at a pen. Listen to Harry describe his fear of another woman he loves being driven to an early death. Have compassion for them both, as well as the many in fuel poverty, and don’t waste time wishing to be king.
Maybe I’m playing a trick on myself here, but those nozzles taught me an important lesson. Comparison is a dead end. I still frequently stray towards it, but when I do I sometimes think of naked, irritated Ed Sheeran balanced on a chair in guest bathroom #3 and think, ah maybe I'm doing ok.
Did I break a sacred bond of trust here? Hopefully not. Certainly if I thought I was I wouldn’t have shared this. For what it’s worth I think Ed is incredibly talented, and I can see exactly why he’s done so well. As a person he’s a also one of the good ones, as good as you or me, I mean no harm guv. And I’ll nod my head to the queen, she was alright by me too.
Not long now
Get a ticket. Ah go on.
Friday 23rd September - Totnes Barrel House. The Glasshouse support. Tickets.
Saturday 24th September - Bristol The Exchange. Read this first.
Friday 30th September - Coatbridge Georgian Hotel. 4 tickets left.
Saturday 1st October - Berwick-upon-Tweed, Repas7.
Sunday 2nd October - North Yorkshire Old School House. Tickets.
Monday 3rd October - Leeds Oporto. Tickets.
Wednesday 12th October - Suffolk Bull Inn. Tickets.
Thursday 13th October - Suffolk Bull Inn. *SOLD OUT*
Sunday 16th October - London Green Note. *SOLD OUT*
Friday 21st October - Brighton Folklore Rooms, Annie Dressner supports. Tickets.
Saturday 22nd October - Winchester Railway Inn. Tickets.
Wednesday 26th October - Manchester Rose & Monkey. Tickets.
Thursday 27th October - Nottingham Running Horse. Charity Stow supports. Tickets.
Friday 28th October - Lintrathen Lodge At Lochside. Tickets.
Saturday 29th October - Carnoustie Dibble Tree Theatre. Tickets.
Sunday 30th October - Tayport The Larick Centre. Tickets.
See all dates on a map here: https://share.jakemorley.com/livemap
Hands is out now
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