About Face

Late thought for June 2017

I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink

I’m so-o-o tired, my mind is on the blink

I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink … no no no

Getting up at 5am is not something I’m used to. Once a musician always a musician. We grow up defining our day by what happens between 8pm and midnight. We are up and jumping around, cooking up a storm on a hot stage, burning adrenalin, sex endorphins from intense creativity coursing through us. The whole day is geared up to that.

Those we are entertaining have got up, sorted the kids, done a days work, run to the supermarket, fed the kids and come out to play. It’s the end of their day. They have just enough energy for us … then home to bed happy.

We come off the stage, high as a kite, maybe from the concert , the play, the musical, maybe from the drugs [not me, luckily] or drink. We got up late, saw the daytime in gently, over the course of a few hours, drifted through the afternoon, ate in the late pm, went to the venue, did the sound check, drifted back to the hotel / café / apartment, chilled out. Arrive at the gig an hour before the show, pick up our instrument and warm up or do our vocal stuff or limber up the muscles, take whatever we need to shoot the adrenalin, then hit the stage.

Going to bed for a good three hours after a two hour show or a twelve hour recording session at Abbey Road is absolutely out of the question. that’s the working part of our day. So we have that extra few hours of energy to expend before we can think about sleep.

But to the outside world we are lazy good for nothing artists who don’t know the meaning of a day’s work.

So today was completely counter-intuitive. I got up at five, as I said but is worth repeating to anyone who has ever spent time whith me, put on a shirt tie and suit [yep] picked up my briefcase [yep] and packed lunch [yep] and headed for the train station to meet a civil servant [yep] to go to a factory to meet apprentices and discuss the future of Britain … no less … with extraordinary people who run our biggest firms, the army, our government, our shops.

What a day. Captains of industry are sometimes women. Sometimes BAME. Sometimes genuinely passionate about the underdog. Civil servants can be energised, enthused, committed, feel blessed, full of desire to make a difference, ready to get up at 5pm every bloody day and travel half way across the country …

And the apprentices? They don’t intend to enter Britain’s Got Talent. They don’t think they will make a million. They don’t think they will change the world. What they do think is that they have been given a real chance. A real alternative not to be like their peers, saddled with debt, doing a no hope degree at a no hope university because their school and their mum or dad have been brainwashed into thinking that’s the only way up and out.

I used to think the only way to get true inspiration was to dress up, be the centre of attention, do fabulous creative things in front of an adoring crowd and make millions.

How are the mighty fallen. It’s a great day when you do something you have hated for forty years and finish the day inspired.