This time, Gideon Coe played 'I Fly My Balloon' from our EP.
We are planning a socially-distanced gig at The Spice of Life, organised by The Country Soul Sessions, on 20th December, which means learning the songs. Which means learning to sing the German lyrics and simultaneously playing chords that were fine to play in the studio, but which will be hand-manglers to play live. I'm not even good at learning English lyric so I've got my work cut out for me.
Luckily, I've learned a lot this year, even from the things that haven't happened. I learned guitar parts for an entire set of Johny Brown's songs for The Lexington gig that was cancelled, so that I could accompany him.
When you learn someone's songs it's a bit like learning part of their brain: every songwriter puts together different chord voicings and sequences behind their melodies. We all write different moods according to our respective personalities.
Co-writing is even more detailed: finishing each other's sentences, a relay race handing over a baton, whatever way you could describe it. It requires a certain amount of empathy, played out on a neutral pitch: a no-man's land, in fact. As I gradually learn the parts of the songs that Robert wrote, I can actually feel my hands beginning to understand what Robert's hands play automatically. 'Aha', they signal,'The next chord is a bar chord on the third fret'. Then there are the lyrics. It's been amazing working with someone who is such a poet, especially because I have been writing a lot of solo songs this year and I'm bored with myself. Give Robert a part of a song, and he takes it somewhere lyrically that I would never imagine travelling to. I hope the same in return. He seemed intrigued by the lyrics of D-ream.
All this while teaching is going on- emotionally intense teaching, often one to one with students who frequently find things difficult. I'm exhausted- and I feel for them so much! Where is the young, empathetic, green, socialist saviour who shuns corruption and smugness and reflects how they feel? This is the politician that I want to support. And a woman, please. The pandemic has shown up some of the men who I had thought were enlightened to be just as greedy, sexist and prejudiced as the ones who wear wolf's clothing.
It's disappointing- and yet again, I'm ashamed... of them.