The flight from Tokyo Haneda to Heathrow is all over in a single day, we skip over snowy Greenland, my head rolls back and forth as I drift in and out of consciousness and before I know it I’m in a hotel bar in West London.
‘That was quick’, I say. But that’s because I haven’t left Japan, part of me refuses to leave my 9 year old son’s side.
He moved there in 2019 with his mother, and I visit when I can, which has worked out to half the year, for every year, so far.
My first trip out there was the longest. I took a flight in Jan 2020 and we all know what happened next in the world! So I spent 18 months in Japan under strict lock down.
Eventually or course restrictions were lifted and it was time for me to leave Japan. I stood on the edge of the pier looking out to sea and the next step felt as impossible as walking out on the water in front of me. But I knew it was a step I had to take, for both my son and I – to find that balance – I had contracts for concerts to fulfil back in the UK and it was time for me to leave Japan.
It was at that point I wrote this song “Rainbows Never End”, via a zoom call with Patricia Morris, a wonderful singer songwriter based in Glasgow.
Patricia is a mother and could relate. She was so considerate with her gentle probing as we talked through the sentiment of what I wanted to express.
That was back in 2021 and I’ve been and gone two more times since then. But every time I leave it feels like I’m re tearing the wound. A visceral experience of smashed bone, blood, flesh, memories, photos, that leaves both my son and I feeling open and exposed as we sit and stare at one another through the glass screen.
I guess we are creatures of routine and habit, and having just spent six months in each other’s pockets it’s hard to get used to having this glass barrier between us.
This time I don’t recognise the look on his face and fear it might be a sign of his rapidly maturing outlook, he’s learnt to express dejection.
Yet at the same time we’re both grateful for this glass, and I think about the French Huguenots of 400 years ago fleeing persecution in their native France, and how they never could have known what the fantastic material they were working on would be used for!
But I’m out of practice at this, it’s hard to engage a 9 year old on zoom and my ‘glass face’ is way off – Taiga looks bruised and dejected. He seems unimpressed with his screen and after we establish that due to the win on the weekend Wolves are probably now safe, there’s a silence.
I trust our bond will never be broken, and music itself lifts my spirits.
I’ve got itchy fingers, raring to play, eager to eat up frets as I turn on my heels and open up to sing, so grateful to my friend Joe for setting up my guitar 🙂
Thankfully the diary bulges with dates, gig addresses, soundcheck times and radio interviews. I’ll travel this little island and connect with people through my songs. The audiences, they’ll be travelling too – we’re all on our own journey through life but we’ll meet in the middle, for a moment inside the song.
Each audience member, every night, I’ll reach out to them, open up, dig something out of my heart and deliver to them, we’ll share experiences and find life becomes a little easier.
Eventually the balance will be found, the cycle complete and I will return to my son’s side (in November).
Meanwhile I hope to see you out there LIVE DATES