A song for anus-day*

Sometimes it pays to take stock. I’ve been stealing Oxo cubes from my local supermarket for four years now and I just e-Bayed the lot for sixty quid.

By a strange coincidence, it’s also four years or thereabouts since The Layers started writing songs together which, tonight, is my other prompt for stocktaking.

Tonight was one of those rehearsals that reminds you why you do it. We were all pretty tired when we turned up tonight; all having that <sigh> feeling as we loaded the gear into our cars. I still have burned milk powder in my hair, Paul had to leave promptly to go back to work… it’s nights like this that can really test the resolve of a band members that are doing it purely for friendship and love of music. Sometimes, your resolve is rewarded. Tonight was one of those nights. A couple of warm up numbers and then we prepared ourselves to get down to some work on new songs – often the hardest part of an evening: stops and starts, repetition of tricky sections, misunderstandings.

‘Red Roses’ – a song we’ve toyed with on and off for over a year – finally has structure and sense and we made it all the way through it for the first time tonight.

Better still, an entirely new song: ‘Mercy Kill’ went from a half-idea cooked up at a jam last week in Roo’s illness-enforced absence to more or less a complete song.

Sometimes, through the grind of delayed rehearsals, head-colds, distractions, lack of energy and all of the other things that can dog you through a lean period, you can lose sight of where you’re going. It helps when an evening like tonight makes you think back to where you’ve come from. Thinking back four years to those evenings in the back room of the Ormond’s Head, it took so long for some of the ideas that we bounced around to even start to look like a song.

Tonight, we could see even after a few tentative stabs at ‘Mercy Kill’ how it was going to work out. We’ve come such a long way and grown closer as musicians and friends.

By an odd coincidence (yes, another) today happens to be my birthday. I’ve been showered with best wishes and some really thoughtful gifts. I’m very lucky to have the friends that I do.

By far the best present that I’ve had today, though, is to be able to create a couple of new songs with Caleb, Paul and Roo. There really are some things that money can’t buy.

Now, does anybody want to buy six hundred jars of Bovril?

Neil out.


*It’s like this: I received “feliz cumpleanos” by way of birthday greetings from Chile via Facebook. Unfortunately, without being able to add a vital squiggle above the ‘n’, it translates as “happy anus-day” – by far the funniest birthday greeting I’ve had in a long time…