Our very first Vlog sharing our autograph collection.
I have been asking friends over the past few weeks if there are any particular topics that they would like to see me cover in these blogs and the one that kept coming up time and time again was related to depression. I must admit that I have stalled on writing a blog on this until now but I am going to give it my best shot.
Before I write anything I just want to say that even though times can get very hard there is always someone out there who will understand and you are never alone. I think music in many ways is the best therapy because there is a song written about virtually every subject matter we could possibly come up with. Someone else has tread the boards before us and we can take a lot from that.
I think depression in general is on the increase but in the arts it is something a lot of us share. It is never a sector that you can rely on for stability and the constant not knowing where the next job is coming from is a massive struggle. You also have the massive highs that come from performing and then massive lows that often follow the next day or in coming weeks when it is all over.
The biggest struggle I face personally is with myself as I have an inability to switch my mind off from overdrive. There is always some battle going on in there and I am always finding something new to worry about. I find it very hard to just sit in one place and be completely relaxed. I am constantly concerned about something and that is at the root of my personal anguish. I can feel fine one moment and the next feel awful and it often doesn’t make any sense.
I also set myself exceptionally high targets or standards and the pressure that I put to get there often ends with me being dissatisfied or deeply frustrated . I often go through times when I think not one person in the World would want to hear anything that I have created and that I am simply good for nothing.
This often ends with the time I call ‘Falling Off The Edge of the World’ where you don’t want to see anyone, speak to anyone or even go outside. You simply cannot face yourself so you in many ways cease wanting to live for a period of time which can last for hours, days, weeks or even months. You can struggle through and continue day to day but sometimes it can just get to much and you become a recluse. You just want to hide away! and not infect anyone with the poison that feel has taken over your life.
Simple things can trigger these moods to come to an end. When they end I often feel creative again or have come up with a new project to keep me occupied, focused and inspired. I have an obsessive nature and I have to be obsessed with something.
The industry is set up to be hard to break and it can come with great times but everyone at some point suffers the down side. There are amazing charities out there and amazing people who can help you wherever you are in the World. Nobody should ever feel alone and there is always someone will help.
Being depressed or suffering from anxiety can give people thoughts that they no longer want to be here anymore. If you ever feel like that then you must reach out because you are very special and have something incredibly unique to give to this World. You must find the strength to continue and make the best out of the mess to find the best version of yourself. Be kind and look after yourself always.
Remember Not To Forget
I always find it odd that I can remember events from my childhood very clearly when sometimes I literally cannot remember what I did yesterday. On the run up to getting married Laura decided to pick a day and purposely pinpoint as a day when she remember exactly what happened. The day was the 7th May 2011 and where as nothing extraordinary happened she can remember exactly what she did that day. It does show us that we decide in someways what to remember and there are occasions when we should all just focus and ‘Remember Not To Forget’
I was brought up by my grandparents and that made me very old fashioned from day one. I used to visit my other grandparents every Sunday and spend the day watching old Hollywood Movies and going through their endless record collection. I would make tapes of my favourite songs from that week and go to school with my walkman and listen to them at every opportunity that I could. Most people who I went to school with would have called me odd, although I did realise that singing songs like ‘You Are My Hearts Delight’ around school was perhaps not the best way of trying to fit in so I would bob my head and pretend I was listening to ‘The Prodigy’ and other artists who were popular at the time.
We spend a lot of time persevering the works of The Great American Songbook and in 2010 had the chance to appear on the BBC One Show television programme with Tony Bennett to discuss our schools projects. It is amazing how you can go into schools and teach these great songs and have an incredible response. When Cole Porter wrote the song ‘You’re The Top’ he went around the boat he was on and asked people for the name of things they loved. The song has references to the ‘Tower of Pisa and Mickey Mouse’ and what we do is ask children to re-write the lyrics with things they love so you have lines like ‘You’re The Top – You’re Lady Gaga’ but by doing this you make the song current and keep it alive.
With memories we may remember a specific way that we felt or have pictures in our mind or a photograph to help aid a memory but memories do get cloudy after time. The thing in music that is most at risk are the anecdotes about what these amazing composers were actually like in particular their personalities and what made them write in the way that they did.
If you have listened to ‘Love on 42nd Street’ you will have heard songs like ‘You Caught Me Off Guard’ which is very much in the style of The Great American Songbook and is really where my heart lies. It is lovely to know that this cannon of music is still wanted. It is those influences of my childhood that has allowed me to have that music running through me and it just feels natural.
I urge everyone reading this to set a day, an hour or a moment to remember that perhaps normally would not stand out. A moment that would have been forgotten that becomes significant because you ‘Remember Not To Forget’