Day Twelve

MONDAY 7th JANUARY

I’m going a little stir crazy now. We’re at the stage where the record is teasing me. I suspect I’m not the only one. It sounds so close to being finished but experience has taught us not to get complacent. There’s a lot left to do and I can’t help worrying about time running out. My general disposition in life is already characterised by a sort of premature “old man in a hurry” syndrome, the sensation of feeling thwarted by Time is a regular one.

But we’ve been here a long while now, working constantly, in each other’s pockets, not getting enough fresh air. Plus all the late nights and early starts mean that we tend to find that our bodies insist on finishing work before our minds have completely switched off.

And I admit there’s a petulant bent to my constitution that is itching to take charge right now. I have very little to do at the moment, I’ve laid down all my lead vocals and guitar parts, I’m getting seriously restless. Usually I have no trouble hopping between tasks (we do that all day every day in the general running of the label) and I’m currently trying to get on with other jobs like booking the next Bedlam tour and writing press stuff for the label’s upcoming releases. But recording is such an intense and emotional process, one in which the brain whirs round on a constant spin cycle while the body stagnates. It isn’t the most ideal balance.

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Admittedly this is all down to the individual. My problem is that I’m the songwriter so I’m pretty dreadful at distancing myself from the work; everything on this album is very personal, even the most ridiculous songs – it all comes from something real. I think this overly protective attitude is as common among composers as it is unhealthy. But as a man of logic it frustrates me to be so wholly under the perverted influence of this jealous attachment. It brings out the Mr Hyde in me. Every meal the band eats, every cup of tea enjoyed, every cigarette break taken, every sleep succumbed to is time that could be spent doing something “more useful” like adding harmonies or mixing tracks or arranging strings. I am in the thrall of unreason, devoted to a pretence of achievement that manifests itself in activity rather than actual progress – impatience made flesh in a world that has slowed to a crawl.

What is happening in reality is this: Dan tirelessly mans the control room from 9am to midnight while the rest of us take our turn recording whatever has yet to be crossed off the list. The loud stuff happens in the day and the subtleties in the evening; every hour brings us closer to the best thing we’ve ever made together. I just need to keep Hyde on his leash.

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