It's not always wise to look back, but it is good to identify a feeling that has come about through a sea-change in life. Last year was one of the most positive and happy years of my personal life, because I reconnected with the way that I felt when I first left home and went to Sunderland Art College to do a Foundation Course, where everything that had gripped me and controlled me as a child and a teenager just fell away. I was in an environment of misfits, for it seemed that everyone odd in the whole of the north-east of England had congregated there and started to blossom. It was exciting and liberating; we made our own community and although it was only temporary, it was thrilling.
It had felt like a slog sitting for hours and days trying to sort out gigs in January last year, but it was bloody worth it (I'm just about to do the same again). The tour was such an adventure. I had been fully prepared for all sorts of disasters and I suppose you could say that I'd set the bar really low; I just thought, 'What do I want to spend the year ahead doing?', to which the answer was, 'Playing my songs all over the place'.
The major thing that went wrong was buying a crappy car in an emergency. It continues to be a crappy car but I can't replace it at the moment because the washing machine has just broken, and I need clean clothes more than I need a car. The car was positively dangerous, and I almost got killed on the M6, but I had no passengers and I got to the gig and it was a good one, so what the heck.
The major thing that went right was realising that I have good, good, friends and the respect of my peers. I had thought that I needed a mediator for this, but it's been a complete revelation to realise that, to put it in a way that possibly only people with similar levels of low self-esteem might understand, I exist.
There has been time for writing songs and drawing, for learning new things (so many new things), and for thinking; all those hours travelling, all those troubles unravelling! I have so appreciated friendships and my two Offsprogs; I would name the angels, but I don't want any more wings torn off. One thing has risen to the surface after all the rubbish has been cleared away: that the greatest gift that you can give to an honest person is the truth, and beside that all other gifts are worthless.