7. A Return to the City (Nevermind Me)
We moved back to Greenwich and began setting up our lives once again with minimal fuss. Having lived here before, it was like returning into the arms of an old friend. The sunny weather of an Indian summer made everything feel all the more welcoming and during our first weekend back, we took our bikes out along the river to revisit some of our old haunts. Things felt exciting, the air full of promise and I vowed to throw myself into the city like I never had before.
I was looking to form a band to help contribute towards the new album. I started off by heading to various open mic nights in the city in the hope that I’d find some leads to like-minded musicians who were up for buying into some of my songs.
More often than not though, the nights were depressing and I felt my time could have been so much better spent concentrating on actually writing the damn songs rather than waiting around to perform a 2 song slot which also usually required having to stomach listening to the worst of the worst - people who’d barely even mastered basic chords on their instrument. Occasionally you’d hear a gem of a musician but the likelihood of it happening was far too rare to render the exercise as a productive use of time.
And so, I set up my little home studio once again, this time in a room with more natural daylight and began crafting away as I had done back at our previous home. There was still no escaping the same artistic challenges that Newington presented but I felt a little more switched on and in-tune. As expected, London provided me with more ideas, energy and spontaneity and if I did get stuck, the Tate Modern was only a tube ride away for an instant injection of colour and inspiration.
I was absolutely determined to make serious progress with the songs that eventually would end up on the album and after sifting through some old voice recordings, I found an old discarded file of some simple chords being strummed underneath some melodic ramblings.
Having heard some of the album demos so far, a close friend of mine had got into my head and said it’d be cool to hear something a little more naked and human, thus setting a framework and writing challenge in motion.
As I began to pen the odd line here and there, I started to clarify and articulate my inner confusion in a natural, conversational and cathartic manner. The words dripped out and took form with ease without being overly poetic, pretentious or ambiguous, and a title almost seamlessly emerged. ‘Nevermind Me’ felt like a fairly accurate and natural extension of where I was - tired and frustrated without wanting the drama of drawing too much attention to myself.
Once complete, I had to question myself as to whether the song was any good as the compositional task was so suspiciously pain-free. Even the instrumental arrangement felt like it came out of thin air, with most of the parts spontaneously falling into place without ever really needing too much thought or revision.
There’s an unexplainable magic in music that happens in the area between toil and inspiration and I just happened to be lucky enough to experience it as both a conduit and witness. That magic is the drug I chase most and it’s what keeps me drawn to this path. A meditative flow where time becomes irrelevant.
At around the time of writing ‘Nevermind Me,’ I also committed to putting down some dates for the recording session of the album even though I knew I still didn’t fully have the material I needed. I gave myself 3 months to complete the writing process, allowing myself a little extra time to rehearse all my parts over the 3-5 instruments I’d be taking on. It was a dangerous move but I needed some structure and felt that by having a deadline, it would force me to make things happen, regardless of how steep an uphill task it would be.
Never feeling good enough,
And I’m always playing catch up,
Swimming out of my depth,
Drowning in problems,
Is there something wrong with me?
Or is this just the way it’s supposed to be?
Can’t relieve the pressure,
The pressure that I put on myself,
Wonder what could be the matter?
There’s a black cloud hanging over me,
Walking underneath ladders,
Chasing after that bus,
Mastering the art of worthlessness
Yeah I’m struggling to juggle,
Every little piece of this fuckin’ puzzle,
I’m trying to get out of this cavity,
I’m not looking for signs of sympathy,
Whatever comes, will be,
So nevermind me,
Well I can’t just dwell on uncertainties,
No I can’t give in, this easily,
Just a little lost being somebody,
On this continuous quest for clarity,
See, I still don’t know who i’m meant to be,
I’m all ideas but no recipe,
Man I tire myself with my self-pity,
Oh so nevermind me,