Friday, 16 March 2012
Maybe the fact that I've been finding myself working out ways to eat five portions of fruit and veg by lunchtime over the past few weeks should have alerted me.
If not that, then heading to Morrisons in search of avocadoes and oats, having read a chapter of Bear Grylls' book, certainly should have done the trick.
Oh and did I mention that I've taken up golf? Being able to purchase a second hand set of clubs this week has whetted my appetite in a different way- for getting out onto the course.
All of this adds up to one simple fact: I must be getting older. It happens, you know. And as I turned 39 this week, I had a sense that I was deliberately heading out on a pilgrimage: the Mecca of a slightly healthier lifestyle and who knows what else...
Going into Oxfam on Saturday and picking up a driver, a putter and eight irons for the princely sum of £19.90 also set me thinking about health. I can't help but wonder whose clubs I have inherited and why?
But, on a brighter note, approaching forty has also forced me to look back. And in doing so, I've decided to embark upon a spring clean of something that I have held dear for many years.
Writing music has been in my blood since I was a youngster. I vividly recall writing a tribute to our pet cat Tinker at the age of about twelve. Verse one went something like this:
"One day Tinker the cat was walking along the road. Then came a big bad witch and turned him into a toad..." Hardly Paul Simon I know.
From then until now, I've penned a wheelbarrow full of lyrics (many of which should have been wheeled to the rubbish dump, I'm willing to admit) in the hope that some memorable melodies might turn up. Not many have, but I'm still trying. The perfect song is, for me, like that elusive, tantalising hole-in-one that I'm just waiting to ace...
I've attempted, several times, to quit writing songs, but I honestly can't. I sing in the shower, I sing to my pupils at school (ask them about "The Critical Essay" song), I sing at church and I make up songs in my attic. I enjoy singing to my son and we often concoct one-time fun songs that will be instantly forgotten. The ones that stick become ritualistic, like the song for cleaning teeth each night: "Clean your teeth, Make them clean, make them fit to be seen by the Queen..."
Now don't get me wrong. I know these songs are not going to be remembered by many in years to come. However, they've become part of a collected set of memories and I often use them to recall specific occasions in that 39 years gone by. There's "Smile," the song I wrote for the girlfriend who was to become my wife. There's "West End Walk," the song that I wrote to express the feelings I had during a bout of depression, several years back. They've become little windows that I can look through to remind me of my past. They form part of who I am.
Which brings me to "Left Discarded". It's a collection I've started putting together of some of the music that I've managed to record, somewhere, somehow over the years. The recording equipment I have is hardly state-of-the-art, so as you can imagine, these are fairly rough and ready, but I simply wanted to have them permanently on record. Maybe, the act of doing so will let me move onto something different.
I'll be adding to the collection over the coming weeks but for now, the link below will take you to what has been "Left Discarded." If you get a chance, have a listen and if you like any of what you hear, please download a track or two for free: