How are you? How have you been?
I’m doing good, keeping a low profile, getting out walking, minding myself. Opening a new notebook to do a bit of writing, which I always like starting in October. It’s a hibernation thing, a hideaway to work across the dark evenings. So yeah, I’m good.
Do you think we’re over the worst at this stage?
I think we are going to have to learn to live with it really, our lives, our cities, will never be the same again. We have to learn from it, I doubt many will and the ‘Normal ‘ is different for everyone, not a one size fits all. A huge amount of individual respect is required for that. Have we learned that… I don’t know if we have.
What music/albums did you particularly enjoy in 2021?
List as long as your arm really. Highlights as follows: Will Stratton’s Changing Wilderness, wonderful songs, beautiful production. Karen Peris from The Innocence Mission, her solo record A Song is Way Above the Lawn is the most beautiful thing I’ve heard all year long. I knew it would be, singles from it were majestic, Stina Nordenstam quality to it. James Yorkston’s long player The Wide, Wide River, the Loney Dear record, the Peace or Love record from The Kings Of Convenience. Una Keane’s live album Collaborations got a Vinyl release, loved that, Brian Crosby’s haunting Imbrium works, Adrian Crowley’s record. It’s been a stellar year.
Your own album, The Last of the Written Pages must have dominated this year for you. Are you happy with how it turned out?
It occupies the most lovely quiet corner of the year for me and for so many people. It seems to have really connected, and that makes me happy. It’s all progress, any record is a step towards the next one and I’m lucky to carry the tools, the supports to keep working. That’s the most lofty ambition I’ve ever had for any work, that it carries on to the next junction, and I do with it.
How do you feel about playing and attending gigs?
I’ve played two, attended one, and like I said, I’ll do it at my own pace. Not one of us should feel peer pressure when it comes to it. Wonderful, utterly wonderful to get back playing, bounce songs off walls and people, a joy. So yeah, a measured pace for me.
The Arts has had a particularly tough time right through the pandemic, in comparison to other sectors. Is it difficult to keep going?
I think the most difficult art of it for me, and for so so many was the abject lack of understanding of how the Arts works, how people within the walls of it survive, live. A real sense of disconnect from a government who just didn’t understand, and I still firmly believe still don’t, even after it all. I can keep myself going, keep a few others ticking over by buying records, tickets etc. But it was tough for so, so many.
Anything else going on with you outside of music?
Walking, reading, living, appreciating, I ask no more of myself.
Have you any plans yourself next year?
I’m working on an instrumental work, which I’ve started, and hope to finish. Tracks written to the time tempo of the tides in Dollymount, so yeah more about that when it happens.