It seems dumb to publish writing when I have over a decade’s worth of music sitting around.
That’s why I set up a SoundCloud…
So here I am. Summer 2014. Somewhere in the 15th Arrondissement. Paris. I’m in an Air b’n’b. And despite my reservations, it’s lovely.
Big old living room, the internet, nice steak, too much cheese and…I’m on detox. No booze. No cigarettes. No carbs.
What people tell me about Paris is that only the rich can afford to own property there. “Well,” I think, in my London mindset. “Isn’t that the case in all major cities?”
London’s a pretty tough place, too.
But you already know about that crap.
Anyway, the guy who gives me the key to the apartment says – perhaps foolishly – he’s in the process of selling it. I think nothing of it at the time. But the following afternoon, I’m lying on his couch, in flagrante, watching Twin Peaks on his shitty TV, when the key turns in the lock.
A guy sporting a leather jacket and designer stubble enters. Fucker looks like the sixth Stroke. Or that human trafficker Liam Neeson electrocutes to death in the first Taken movie.
If he lived in Shoreditch, he’d be a bartender at Jaguar Shoes.
A couple follow him in.
shout, “What the fuck? Isn’t my birthday for another ten months.” politely say, “Excuse me, who are you?”
He shrugs. “I am just showing the guys around the flat – they’re looking to buy it.” But in he says it in a French accent, so it doesn’t sound like he’s being unreasonable. Consequently, I feel too bad to tell him to leave. However, I do tell him it’s rented for the weekend. I’m on holiday. No need to be an asshole.
He says, “Well, I’m here now, so is it cool if I show these guys around?”
“Sure,” I say. Then I put some trousers on.
So he shows this annoyingly young, annoyingly affable couple around. I’m wondering whether I like Twin Peaks or not. I’m up to episode four and it’s kind of boring and dated. Although I quite like the music.
Ah, music. It always comes back to music. And that’s when I miss it. So I get my iPad out and start doodling on Garageband.
The couple seem nonplussed. Unmade bed. Empty wine bottles (detox ended early and French wine is cheap and tasty). My bare ass. Amateur compositions on a tablet.
But it’s France, right? C’est la vie.
He ushers the couple out, wanders over to me and leans in. “Listen, I’ve got another viewing at six, this evening… that cool..?”
And this is when I snap.
I ask him politely to leave.
“Get the fuck out,” I hiss.
On the Eurostar home, I finish the draft of the song. I’m listening to Chopin, Philip Glass and thinking why doesn’t anyone put synths in that shit? It’s like writing. You start with the bones and sculpt the flesh until you’re satisfied enough to tout it. And who cares if you bend a few genres?
I get home and finish this arpeggio-laden piano piece. I’ve become better at playing the piano. I play most of it it live. Self taught and still use the wrong fingers, but classically trained on the trumpet from age nine, so I know how music works. Although classical training aside, you either do or you don’t, right?
I’ve borrowed the holy grail of analogue synths from my beautiful friend Tom. We first met in Efe’s Pool Hall in Dalston. The music was too loud for us to talk, so we mimed getting jizzed on the face to one another and have been mates ever since. His girlfriend was unimpressed; my girlfriend was getting pregnant with someone else. You probably had to be there. Anyway, I whack Tom’s Juno 6 over it and it blends my love of neo-classical and electro, Carpenter-esque sci-fi.
It’s finally good enough to pimp out. Nobody seems to care, despite my Facebook feed being an endless stream love notes to Nils Frahm.
But you can make up your own mind…
Next… Possibly something with singing from a long time ago…