Some of you will notice that the name of this blog has changed. It used to be, ‘The Label Fell Off’. I don’t know what I was thinking when I came up with that one. Anyway, I don’t want to dwell on it for too long, although I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day. It’s now called ‘From the Sticks’, which is a fair description of my origins, and an accurate reference to where I live. Not a little thatched cottage in the woods, however. But a rented first floor, two bedroom flat. A habitat, housing association style. A place we decided, 18 years ago, would be temporary, for three years, max.
A lesson that comes easier to some than others is this: the years gently twist the lenses of experience, bringing into sharp focus all the things that are truly important. Love. Respect. Kindness. I’ll let the Big Yin have the last word. He sums it all up much better than I can.
The power is invariably in the message, and producing a poetic parcel for the point you want to make and, most importantly, make stick, is exhausting. Every letter has a piece of the poet attached. A piece that only travels one way. Little wonder, after years of treating us to new ways of viewing the oldest and most common human passions, puzzles, and predicaments, the best songwriters stand well apart from the rest. They have given so much of themselves, so much of their humanity, that they are clearly identifiable, not necessarily by a familiar face, but by shape and demeanour beyond the mere physical.
I well remember a conversation I had with colleagues, over coffee, more than a decade ago, now. In the middle of the hubbub a question was posed. You know, one of those questions that hangs in the air for what seems like an age while the brain goes into overdrive in pursuit of a watertight answer.