Monday, September 04, 2006

Possible to Probable

I am, it would seem, quite the jet setter. Only having returned back from New Zealand on Wednesday morning, I spent a mere two days in London and then was off again! Off to Eastbourne, sure, but still off. For those of you not in the know, Eastbourne is less far away from London than New Zealand. In fact, some might say that going seventy-five miles to the rain-whipped English coast doesn't really count as jetsetting so much, but I would firmly ignore those people just as I firmly ignore my alarm clock for half an hour each morning.

I was woken on Saturday morning by said alarm clock buzzing like an impatient wasp. I lay there for the obligatory half an hour, watching through half-open eyes as the sunlight edged cautiously over the mounds of mess that comprised my bedroom floor. Having been bedded by jetlag before I could even contemplate attempting to sort out the post-holiday débris, my room was layered thickly with clothes, shoes, books, bags, suitcases, towels, toiletries, bits of paper, plastic bags, shoes, books, more shoes and a couple more books. Eventually I clambered out of bed and started to get ready for the weekend ahead.

Dressed and packed, I left the house, handbag over one shoulder, overnight bag over the other, and cello alternating between one hand and the other. I have a travel case for my cello, which makes it extra safe, but also extra heavy. I can walk up to one hundred steps whilst carrying it in one hand, and then I have to change hands and count the steps out again. It takes about three-hundred and fifty steps to get from my house to the tube station, at which point I got on a train, changed at Bank then (after another three hundred steps) got on a central line train to South Woodford, where I was met by my friend in her car. We loaded the cello into the car and set off for Battle, where we were to meet our other friend Beth and her fiancé. Beth is American, and yesterday she went back to the US for good, so we had a small goodbye lunch in Battle.

A lovely lunch later, I was on the train to Eastbourne to Isaac's house (the producer) where I was to stay for the weekend ("you're going to get molested!" sang Beth when she heard this).

As I arrived and walked into the living room, laden down with my cello and my nerves, I was introduced to three other people, Chris, Victoria and Dave. Chris and Victoria are brother and sister, and had done some recording with Isaac before. Dave was a potential investor. I accepted a cup of coffee and chatted with them for a while. About music, about living in London, about the frustrations of spending seventy percent of your time working in a job you dislike, in order to pay rent and to be able to afford to follow a dream that seems to wax and wane and come and go, that seems at once so near and yet so untouchable. I told them about my music, and they told me about theirs. We all agreed that to live in London is to have a huge advantage, music-wise.

Eventually I was forced to get my cello out, something I do with considerably less alacrity than when I am asked to sing. I am nervous about playing my cello, because I am, quite simply, not as comfortable with performing an impromptu rendiditon of Elgar's Cello Concerto with my cello as I am with, say, one of Summertime with my voice. There is more that can go wrong with the cello. I have to think about fingers and arms and all sorts of complicated machinery like that, which is scary in a small room full of expectant people. Scary, though, is good, I reckon, and the fact that something is scary shouldn't be a reason not to do it. (Unless, obviously, it is scary like poking-a-tiger-in-the-eye scary, but if you can't work that out on your own I would suggest you seriously re-evaluate your capacity for rational thought. Or get someone else to do it, perhaps.)

Anyway, I played, and improvised along to Chris on his guitar. We played one of his songs, and then Leonard Cohen 'Hallelujah', which was lovely. My fingers grew more accustomed to seeking out the right notes, anticipating the harmonies and feeling where the song was going. At the end of the song I looked up and was relieved to see expressions of serenity on the faces of the listeners, which is a normal and positive reaction to hearing a good version of that song, as opposed to anguish, which is not.

Throughout the rest of Saturday and Sunday Isaac and I recorded one of my own songs and one that wasn't written by me. The feeling of singing my song in the the studio, of hearing the different takes and watching as it melds together into a proper track, was wonderful. It is that song that people are impressed with, that song is what might push investors to fund a tour. That and some of the others that I have sent them. This one, though, caught their interest. It's 'different' apparently. The talk was of a tour. Of thirty-two dates across the country. We sat and talked about all of this, about where this might be about to go, about what might actually happen. About the possibility that it might be soon, and that it might be real. Somewhere around this point I started to feel very sick. I started to shake and had to close my eyes to stop everything spinning. "I have to..." I managed, before rushing to the bathroom to throw up. When I returned I hadn't stopped shaking, and my reflection in the mirror had confirmed that my face was white and my eyes wide. As I sipped water I began to feel slightly better, slightly more in control of my faculties.

"Jet lag" said Isaac. "It can do this. I used to get it like that. Think of what you've put your body through recently." I nodded, recalling the stress and anxiety of the last few days. The nerves about coming to record my own music on top of going back to work straight away had compounded the jet lag, certainly. I really thought, though, that the real reason for my sudden nausea was being completely overwhelmed. I was completely blown away by the fact that, for the first time, the 'impossible or possible?' question was replaced by the 'possible or probable?' one, meaning that, instead of being faced with the notion that something might actually be possible, I was faced with one that suggested that it is probable.

The idea of 'probable' made me sick.

What if it happens? What if I do the thirty-two date tour? What if I actually do this thing I have been hankering after for what seems like countless lifetimes?

What if I get back and everyone has forgotten about me? What if people move on and I am no longer allowed to be part of a group of 'normal' people?

One of the things I have secretly enjoyed about having an office job is the 'knocking off at six' feeling. The Friday feeling. The fact that my friends keep the same hours as I do and that I can be part of a wider group of people who do the same thing. Being part of the collective sigh of relief as everybody embraces the weekend and comfortably debates the relative merits of a Thursday afternoon and a Friday morning. The tea, the illicit biscuits, the banter.
I wasn't, however, sick with the idea of never working in an office again.

I was sick with the worry that people would forget about me. My friends, my boyfriend, my life would cease to be mine if I went anywhere and did anything different. What if I can't meet up in the Jon Snow in Soho for a post-work drink, if I can't rush out on a Thursday night to go to the cinema or see my boyfriend whenever we want?

It's not that imminent, like next week or two weeks. No, it won't sneak up, but I had a sudden flash of how much I will lose in terms of comfort when it all happens. How much, though? Will I lose? I hope not too much. I hope not the people who are the most important to me. I hope that, when I am away and feeling lost, I will always be able to make a phonecall and feel that little bit more found.

It isn't that it is imminent, it's just that the line has been crossed from possible to probable, and my eyes feel somewhat opened.

7 Comments:

Blogger gilmic said...

In cases where I lack advice or comforting thought, I quote others:

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. ~Anatole France

3:59 pm

 
Blogger Dancinfairy said...

That is a perfect quote.

This is all so exciting! And I can see how scary it must be for you.

Any friend (or boyfriend) for that matter that is real will be thrilled for you and there for you, and accepting that although things will change you will still be the same lovely person you have always been and they will all still love you!

Plus.....(and I feel this is the best bit)...a tour means going to different places and that could mean meeting your blogging friends that have not yet seen you perform and really would love to (I am meaning me!)

Congratulations on the probable-possible (or possible-probable) YOU DESERVE IT!

9:49 pm

 
Anonymous Chris said...

Hey,
Well done you! Don't forget me when you're famous. Miss you loads. Big love, Chris x

4:21 am

 
Blogger treespotter said...

oh girl, you are so sweet... just be good and behave. good luck, it'll be good.

just don't forget us in those 32 date tour...

8:10 am

 
Blogger Curly said...

I haven't yet said welcome back, so that's what I'll do first off. Err, welcome back.

All this sounds incredibly exciting, but it also sounds like something that you've got to do. If we all stayed in our comfort zones then we'd never get anything done - Jump, I say. It'll be nerve-wracking and you'll probably puke a couple more times but looking back at it all when you've finished will be a wonderful feeling.

Also, if you're going on the tour - suggest Cardiff as a place to go.

12:52 pm

 
Blogger Leigh said...

Wow! A 32 date tour! Of course you feel the way you do. Its a huge jump from one or two gigs here and there to a 32 date tour all at once.

Being scared and worried is natural considering the above. But this is what you've wanted to do for so long. This is what you are passionate about, so take a deep breath and embrace it.

When you look back from some time in the future Im sure you will thank your lucky stars that you didnt let all this change daunt you to such a degree that you backed out.

Good luck!

3:47 pm

 
Anonymous galatea said...

Spontanenity is over-rated, as is having a social life. You just learn to adjust and forget you could ever just meet up with people after work... like all weird things, it just becomes normal.

8:36 pm

 

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