The Lorry and its load swerved wildly, swinging back and forth in front of me. I heard myself say “what?” out loud as my foot touched the brake pedal and I was re-assured to feel my car respond to this request, quickly followed by a brace for impact from behind that thankfully never materialised. It was 1am and the motorway was dead.
I watched as the Lorry driver regained control of the vehicle and nodded my head in silence as it’s lights flashed either side, sending me it’s silent apology.
Things happen. We probably experience more of these ‘close calls’ in life than we even notice.
I breathed out a little and kept on driving, as I replayed what had just happened in my mind I saw it all again in slow motion. The Lorry had missed its exit from the motorway, but decided it hadn’t actually missed it and there was time to turn left. But the road had kind of run out by this point and the lorry and its load had to traverse that triangle shaped bit in the middle that isn’t really a road at all.
But it’s fine. It’s all-fine. We all made it over and I’m here to type you all about it.
That was my journey back. So, onto the gig. Last night I played in an art gallery. Last night I played in someone’s house. Last night I played outside in a courtyard of a building that dates back to the 17th century. All of the above are true. The Drawingroom, located in Francis Yard, on Chesham High Street in Buckinghamshire is a truly unique spot. Curated by it’s resident host Richard Elkington – The building was once a peasant dwelling and ale house including a stable and it is rumoured that haberdasher Roger Crab who inspired Lewis Carrol’s Mad Hatter lived there in the mid 1600s.
Richard is an artist, a sculptor whose work adorns the courtyard, where sofas, benches and arm chairs await an invited audience. Huge Umbrellas, outdoor heaters and an open fire invite guests to settle in and get comfy and embrace the drawingroom mantra printed out on sheets on all the tables: I greet this day Love and deep gratitude in my heart and I will succeed
A high spec sound system tops the space off as a true oasis of art, and certainly not what you’d expect to find on Chesham High St.
Before the show, I embraced the ‘nerves’ and decided they were feelings of ‘excitement’ – The yoga helped a bit, something about the routine I found re-assuring
But somehow a little later these flashes of fear began to appear -like unwanted alerts on your smart phone. I left the venue and took a walk down the high street – two bars were open and serving craft ales, I think I saw some olives and tapas, kids in the play area that was a basically a transparent plastic cage where they could run riot within eyeshot of their moms and dads that let off steam, stretched into the weekend and left the woe’s of the working week behind. Trouble and strife, it cycles and will do for all time. But we pull each other through – a kind word – a pat on the arm, a bear hug where necessary. Music can help….
I begin to play, and folks listen. I see a lady close her eyes and gently move her head back and forth. Another has a furrowed brow that I interpret as her thinking face and the applause as I finish a song makes my shoulders drop, I relax into the night.
Oh, Steve and Jenny have come – I remember them from the Green Note gig and it feels like re uniting with old friends.
I introduce ‘Glass’, talk about the psychiatric disorder the glass delusion that swept the middle ages and speak of how King Charles the 6th was a famous sufferer of this condition – a symptom for him was his refusal to sit down through fear his buttocks may shatter! After the gig a gentleman from Holland asked me why King Charles is the 3rd if we’ve had 6 already and I realise I’m going to have to start clarifying I’m talking about the Beloved King of France.
Afterwards we chat a little and connect as I tear cellophane from vinyl and scribble on the beautiful artwork, sorry Martin. I talk to John, who’s 65thbirthday party I performed at in Norfolk, he’s 75 soon and will be in touch…
We continue to chat and reach for connections with our conversations at the merch table.
“is it the same every night?”
No, it’s never the same. What an interesting question I think to myself, and go a little quiet as I consider this. He looks worried he’s offended me but he really hasn’t. Truth is it never feels the same. Nothing does, does it? If we really tune in, really open ourselves up and embrace the sensitive, fragile layer we all have inside of us then every moment is unique. No days are equal and experiences even more so.
I’m not drinking alcohol tonight, and not very much at all at the moment. I don’t always enjoy this and sometimes I feel jealous when I see folks hanging out together laughing and drinking. But one thing I like about it is it removes the filter, and brings me closer to the moment, to really feeling what is going on around me.
The chickpea curry served to me on a plate by Richard contains a rich tapestry of flavours and light up my senses. Perhaps that’s just because all I had for lunch were oatcakes in the car, but either way, I’m grateful and inhale this hit of flavour and nourishment with a smileJ
Time to pack up my stuff and load the car, why do I have so much stuff? Because I need it.
Thanks for reading and see you at the next gig