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Blog: Cantering Into View

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I'm playing in Bath tonight with the ever wonderful Gavin Osborne, who will hopefully be in a fit state to ROCK as he is mid-TOUR with Belle & Sebastian. I am not AT ALL jealous about this fact. AT ALL.

In my new MODE of Actually Thinking About Gigs Before I Do Them, brought on by the regular TRAINING and LEARNING I've had to do for Totally Acoustic, I got to thinking last night about what SONGS I should do. It's happening in a THEATRE (the Rondo Theatre, in fact, if you fancy coming along) and on previous occasions when I've played this sort of venue I've found myself FLUMMOXED. At NORMAL gigs (like Sunday's, for instance) I can quite happily do a fairly standard set of The Noisy Shouty ones, but when it's a Quiet and/or Sit-Down sort of venue I always feel I should do... well, more Quiet and/or Sit-Down songs.

THUS I drew myself up a LIST, featuring a few of the above that I could PRACTICE for insertion into the SET. "Well done ME", i thought, as I walked home, "A proper practice tonight will sort you out entirely. HOORAH for the new era of Professionalism!"

I got home, greeted my nearest and dearest, got out my guitar... and completely DIDN'T have a practice. For LO! for some reason I had been GRIPPED with CREATIVITY and had not only written most of a song on Platform 2 of Leytonstone Station (scene of SO MANY songwriting epiphanies over the years for me) but had ALSO written the lyrics to ANOTHER at lunchtime. THUS I sat down and finished them off, even going so far as to record a couple of DEMO VERSIONS. And then singing them AGANE, just for fun.

These two songs are for "Moon Horse", which is cantering closer and closer towards completion. I'm on my third distinct DRAFT of it now, and this version is finally coming together thanks to a GRATE idea i had to split it up into seperate EPISODES. You'll see what I mean when it's all DONE, but it seems to make the whole thing make SENSE whilst retaining all the different THINGS I wanted to put into it. Best of all it is making the THEME appear more clearly, especially to ME. It's been ABOUT various slightly different things as I've written it, but now its TRUE MEANING is becoming apparent. It's funny - you read AUTHORS and so on saying "Oh, the characters told me what it was truly about, la la la, i am an ARTISTE you know" and it sounds DAFT until it actually happens to you. I can honestly say that, this week, TIDDY THE TIN MAN has become a fully formed character who has brought me ALMOST TO TEARS.

I've now got the last ten minutes or so to tighten up (I've also been MAKING A WARDROBE over the pats couple of days - a self-assembly one, but still - so am thinking very much in Phillips Screwdriver-based metaphors) and LOCK DOWN, but luckily I have about TWENTY minutes of old ideas to extract it from and also - possibly - one of the best songs I've ever written (no, no, stay your excitement!) to finish off for the end. Who knows, I might even be able to SHOW it to people by January!

But in the meantime I have a GIG in BATH to think about. I'm sure it'll be fine - they have people to PROMPT you working full-time in theatres, right?

posted 15/12/2010 by MJ Hibbett

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