Letter 12

I’m sitting with the wind raging outside with the dogs curled up by the fire galloping in their sleep and making little muffled ‘woof’ noises. Possibly the best way of taking exercise in this weather…

I’ve been working on new songs and some are approaching readiness. It’s always a little scary sending them out to people as I never know whether I really like a song I’ve done until a good three or four months have elapsed after hearing it the last time. If you see what I mean. Anyway, they have to have a time to float free of all the attachments and imaginings that I hear when recording them; you are not always sure if you have actually put them across to the listener until you yourself become the listener. I am quite excited – as I always am, to be fair – by these songs. They are a bit noisy for me and I’m enjoying singing out a lot more. Also, I don’t have to worry about lots of birdsong and cockerels making onto the tape because they are well masked by the racket! I’m working on layering up lots of cellos – not to imitate an orchestra but to be itself, a pretty unusuall sound that is unlikely to be heard too often. It is really powerful and has a weirdly noble but edgy quality to it that I really like. I’m also working on a song in Serbian in the WWI series which is more than likely to find it’s way onto the next record as these songs seem to fit together really well so far.

I’ve just got broadband – which for most of you will be old stuff, but for me it has only been available lately cos of the remoteness of where I live. It’s like a different world! It’s so time consuming/wasting that you have to be really disciplined to tear yourself away as you follow an unending trail; each thought you follow up suggesting a new question to pursue. I just can’t get enough of it.

Next week I’m off to Monterey CA to sing at a huge conference of thinkers and ideas people. It’s called TED (technology, entertainment and design) and it was at the first TED that Mac unveiled it’s first computer and Sony the compact disc. I know it will be very inspiring to share a stage with James Watson (who discovered DNA) among many other fantastic people from wide ranging disciplines who will be there spreading and growing ideas to improve the world together. Also, it’s going to be fun because I’ll be meeting up and playing with Thomas Dolby who I met in Canada during the millenium celebrations; he’s going to help me out on some songs by playing keyboards and messing with sequencer stuff on the computer.

Take care,

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