It’s a hot August night in 2021 and I’m in Pirate rehearsal studios, holding a guitar I’ve barely touched in months1.
The person who used to write and perform these songs feels like a stranger to me, reduced to a memory by months of washing reusable nappies2 and the collapse of live music. In three days I’m meant to be playing my first show for 18 months. I’m out of my depth, sitting someone else’s school exams. God it really is hot in here. Maybe I should cancel? I should definitely cancel.
Part of the magic of songwriting is its power for releasing energy like this. I give up pretending to rehearse and within 15 minutes all this nonsense had left my brain forever to occupy a new home - the song Good Evening Wigfest3 which I opened the show with that Saturday night. There are claps, there are woops, we all have a lovely old time, I feel back where I belong.
Once written, the song seems to own those weird feelings, not me. In the process I’m somehow lifted, seen, understood, confident again. This, my friends, is the raw alchemy of songwriting. Turning mortal fear into swagger.
I recorded a (very rough) version for you. Take a listen above or download an MP3 here.
To be honest I’m sitting on better. This one’s never going on an album and I’ll never play it live again. But it’s a nice example of why I’m loving this newsletter right now.
Another unburdening happens. Once shared, the song somehow belongs to you, not me. I am free to move onto another. It’s a different kind of alchemy.
I hope you like it, but either way - there’s always next week.
What do you think? Post your response in the comments.
Well… technically I’m not, but writers much better than me talk like this sometimes.
A subject I am very happy to discuss with you at great length.
Yes, the festival is called Wigfest. Yes, I believe sometimes people wear wigs there.