With a little help from my friends

We all live in a world of insecurity and self-doubt. Maybe I shouldn’t assume everyone does but I certainly have days of wondering when I’ll get that call to tell me I’ve been a complete fraud. Have I been found out yet?
In a creative environment where every job, song, piece of music, arrangement, production is littered with the trapdoors of paralysing fear it’s a miracle anything ever gets produced.

I have just finished a piece on which I have been asked to add keyboards, piano and various other colours to an existing backing track, a work in progress, a project of never ending possibilities.  ‘Do your own thing’ was the generic brief and alongside an excellent music chart, very specific parts to play and encouraging banter, I completed the first of eight pieces. It was only when it came to submitting this first draft, I felt a little lost and insecure about what I’d done. In the confines of my studio, on my own and with a large glass of wine it sounded amazing. I completely understood why I’d done what I’d done and the journey I’d taken. But how do I explain this to ‘the client’?   How do I write the accompanying thesis of my thought patterns, processes and conclusions? This has been a constant throughout a long and very rewarding career.

But standing back, I have to acknowledge that apart from one or two publishers and greedy opportunists after my royalties, I have had an incredible time of working alongside some great friends. People who have encouraged, helped, guided and gently offered better alternatives with nothing but kindness, and no gain for themselves.

This, I think, has been part of the reason we started the journey into Podland.

We wanted to chat and share with our ever-growing collection of friends something that we all experience and live through especially during these strange times of isolating and separation.

When I started calling people, I asked if they would be prepared to chat about life, work, experiences, insecurities, likes, dislikes and how these relate into their own personal creative processes. It has for me been very rewarding.

Had we not been in locked down, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. But being forced into a new routine has made me realise how lucky we all are having so many great friends on whom we can call at any time.

I have chatted to date with some amazing people;

Nick Beggs who spoke about life in Kagagoogoo and the experiences he had touring with an extraordinary variety of bands and artists.

Paul Field who penned Millennium Prayer that got him a coveted Ivor Novello award, a number one hit with Cliff Richard and a wretched gut-wrenching lawsuit to fight.

Jonathan Booth and his fantastic career as a brilliant voice over artist and commercial producer.

Jem Cooke, our daughter, who has found success as a writer, singer and performer whilst producing our first Grandson, Alfie.

Jonathan Veira, opera singer and bass baritone character actor performing now from his own living room in this new ‘LIVE’ arena.

Tim Whitnall, playwriter, actor, musician, voice over artist and TV personality who came to realise that after many years of doing pretty much everything he returned to his first love as a writer earning himself a bunch of awards including a Bafta.

Mike Dixon, the super smiling stick waving music director of many West End productions, Shirley Bassey’s MD, extraordinary musician and lovely chap.

Paul Chuckle, one half of the Chucklebrothers and a familiar face on many TV shows including Chucklevision.

Amy Cooke who takes pictures and to whom I’ve been able to outsource my social networking activities due to a complete lack of understanding and empathy.

And of course, Tina Heath, Doris, ‘er indoors of many years, who has been that handbrake, stopping me from going downhill and a solid soundboard who has suffered all the shouting so that others don’t have to!

The list goes on as do the interviews. But it’s a testament to the seemingly never-ending ability to discover friendship wherever you find yourself.

Pick up the phone, write an Email, get in touch with someone and keep the friendships alive.

It’s good for us all and can be a necessary lifeline between living and, well, you know…….