In the words of Charlie Brown: ‘It’s not what’s under the Christmas Tree that matters – it’s who is around it…’
In a world which appears more divided by politics than ever but more united than ever against how we as a race are destroying the fabric of our beautiful planet – climate breakdown – this time of year is ever more poignant and significant to remind ourselves that – whatever our disagreements, we need each other, and we need to pull together.
In the words of Shakespeare: ‘It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.’
DARING TO DREAM
For me, the Mars Insight landing was a supreme example of ‘the art of the possible’ when we focus on one thing as one race unfettered by boundaries; behaviours and even belief systems.
You also look at Virgin’s work on one day providing routine flights into space…brilliant…
I know it won’t be for the masses for decades, but…
We have a constant craving to improve ourselves and to be ‘on a journey’. That journey can be long and arduous and may not even get us to where we wanted to go, but the fun is in the trying; pitting our wits against accepted norms in life, and celebrating where we may end up – even if all did not quite go to plan.
Which leads me nicely on to our plans for the future…and why they had to change…!
I HAVE A CUNNING PLAN, MY LORD
Cairo launched late 2016; had an amazing -and award-winning – 2017, and then this year we wrapped up gigs in March with our first gig in international waters, and our first gig abroad, enjoying a right royal blast on HMS Prog – despite many challenges thrown at us by the whims of lorry drivers parking badly on the lower decks (don’t ask), and despite appalling weather conditions on getting to Hull.
In May, I contracted shingles – which I can only describe as feeling like being poked by red hot knitting needles – and we took the decision to focus on writing new material for the rest of the year. There is a constant ‘hunger’ out there for new product – plus, in parallel, things were taking off like a rocket at a personal career level for many of us, and with only twenty-four hours in a day – never enough time. So we created a plan.
A cunning plan, no less, for 2018/19.
And we released our first lyric video, Katrina, in August- including an insightful interview with Professor Andrew Curtis, who had seen and experienced the impact and consequences first hand of that dreadful human-made disaster.
And all was well.
Lisa fell pregnant, to our great delight and which we announced early November, which trumped the cunningness of our 2019 plan and – in summary – knocked it all back by six months.
What I am proud of is that every single band member got behind Lisa to support her in any way required.
So we developed a new plan, (dare I say Plan B?! Don’t tell the politicians- they may catch on to that idea…) – because that was the right thing to do.
First key bit of news is that we will be releasing a single in Spring 2019. That’s the first step – and the rest will be announced in due course, but I can tell you – we have a lot of new material written, and we are all tremendously excited about the future.
With this unintended pause, at a personal level, I didn’t see a challenge – but an opportunity, waving at me from just over the curved horizon of times past.
An opportunity to do something on the music front I have been wanting to do for many, many years, mindful that the wheel of time rolls on relentlessly, and indeed brutally at times. No time like the present.
As some of you know, I released a short classical solo music video called Spitfire dedicated to my late father in April.
He actually loved my first solo album.
Back in September 2001, I released that first ever album – an album called Behind The Orchard Tree (BTOT), and from that album, I formed a band called Touchstone, with the band name coming from a lyric within a BTOT song called ‘All We’ve Done’.
That album sprang from a dream I had where I was chasing one of my daughters, Sally, who at the time was six and was hiding from her Dad behind the orchard tree. As I found her and looked down at her, I suddenly realised, that child I had been chasing – was me as a little boy.
So there is a central theme of never forgetting/losing ‘the child within’.
There is also a song about a loser and fantasist, just to mix things up a bit…
Well, I produced that album literally in one week in an analogue studio using two-inch wide tape at a brilliant studio called Linford Manor – owned by the now MK Dons Chairman, Pete Winkelman. The engineer was a Sam Miller, and I learnt so much from Sam which proves invaluable, even to this day.
I was proud of that album then, and am proud now BUT have always been aware of where it was lacking and have wanted to give it a wash and brush up, having grown my skills in music production since then through my experiences with Touchstone, Captain Blue and Cairo.
THE ALBUM WHICH STARTED IT ALL
So, I can announce that I will be re-recording “the album which started it all” in it’s entirety and releasing a bang-up-to-date version in 2019 – when it’s good and ready.
All parts will be by yours truly, apart from lead and rhythm guitars, and there will be some re-interpretations all of which will be announced in due course. I will also be slapping in there a brand new song, too. Both old and new albums will be made available digitally at the same time should you wish to compare and contrast. “Mind the gap.”
OFF WITH THE OLD – ON WITH THE NEW
So – there you have it.
In summary, a few firsts in 2018 for us and in 2019 an exciting Cairo single to look forward to; an exciting life event for Lisa; a revamp of my first ever album – and more to be announced in due course.
The old year shuffles away ready to turn into dust, never to be seen again…and the new year knocks on our door, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to embrace the slings and arrows of life, the universe and everything.
In the words of the Dalai Lama: ‘Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.’ Let there be more love in the world, and may your 2019 shine like a crazy big, bright diamond in the sky.
One thing is for sure.
The scarab is…