Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Envy the young

Generally, I don't.

It's taken me my fair share of mistakes and bad decisions to get to the happy place I am now, so whilst I am occasionally predisposed towards nostalgic reflection, I feel no great desire to go do it all again. Perhaps the thing is to relish the journey and not dwell over-much on where you've come from or even too much on where you're going.

I do miss writing though. By that, I mean music. And by that, I mean writing, recording and performing. Performing it live; without an audience I don't much rate the worth of a song. Not that I regret where we've come to. I learnt some many few years ago that the gig was the real drug I couldn't let go, that it doesn't really matter what you sing, as long as you've got a crowd to sing to. But sometimes, just sometimes, you can't help but think, "What if?" . . . . . .

It's been a good long while since I last wrote; either a poem or a song for that matter. I think you need space to breath, the silence to hear your thoughts, the time to let them arrange themselves out into the form they need to take, and the faith to let them stand on their own worth. I have little space or silence or time any more, and have perhaps grown too cynical for that kind of faith. Though I don't discount that I might one day find my way back there. To everything there is a season, and seasons have been known to roll around again, every once in a while.

Our band changed its name to "Freefall" back in about 2004, and continued to write, gig and promote our own music for a few years after that, before we finally (d)evolved into the "covers band" that we are now.

Two or three years ago, another covers band set up in the Bristol area under the same name, which caused a few problems and a bit of a confusion for a while until people got used to the idea. They're still going now, which is a pleasant surprise as I can't wish them ill, but new bands do come as often as they go. It was an annoyance at first, but these days the only reaction I feel when I think about it is a vague, mental shrug of the shoulders. I might even try and catch one of their gigs one of these days, though I am terribly bad at turning up at any gig other than my own.

And then, last year, I came across a new Gloucester-based band that had also taken our name "Freefall". I wanted to feel indignant, especially as they were from my home-town, but couldn't bring myself to it. They're young. They're writing, recording and gigging their own stuff, and have an energy, hope and ambitious self-belief that makes me smile. It reminds me of us, then.

Describing themselves as an "alt rock/pop punk band" I didn't really hold out much hope for actually enjoying their music. I found a few videos of them online, and couldn't quite get through the unbalanced wall of sound you inevitably get from such ad-hoc camera-phone snapshots. However, they posted a link a stream of their d├ębut EP on bandcamp.com, and curiosity led me to plug in my headphones have a listen despite what I'd heard so far.

[a word to the wise; you should expect "alt rock/pop/punk" to have a bit of a kick to it, so don't go there unless such is to your taste]

http://freefalluk.bandcamp.com/album/rather-be-alive

Despite myself, I loved the four tracks they posted. I don't envy the young, and won't envy another soul their song. But if I did and if I would, I could've wished I'd written them.

It's the sort of thing that makes me wish I was still writing. It's the sort of trigger that might one day kick me back to doing so.

The energy, hope and ambitious self-belief reminds me so much of us then. And feels like such a long time ago.

That almost makes me feel old.

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