Yesterday I lay on the sofa all day. Occasionally talking to the dog, but mainly watching television and drinking tea. I rounded the night off by watching When Harry Met Sally and taking myself off to bed, satisfied that I had spent the day in the pursuit of quality relaxation. I had been supposed to be in the studio today, so I felt rather angelic going to bed at the (for me) relatively early hour of one o'clock. It has transpired today that my session has been re-scheduled, but nevertheless I can feel the benefits of my day of recuperation.
I feel like last week was one long exhalation. For some reason I had been becoming increasingly stressed over the previous few months. The experiences I had with my ex-producer had filled me with self-doubt, stripped me of belief in my own abilities to the extent that whenever I was left alone in my own company I would start panicking. That sick, cold feeling in my stomach would return whenever I contemplated my future. A shivery, nauseous wave would wash over me and I would immediately start searching for ways to make it go away, and quickly.
Last week it lifted. Almost as if I had an epiphany, was suddenly infused with the knowledge that I could have control over my own existence. That I didn't have to wait upon the whims of other people or try to only ever do right by them. I know this all sounds trite and clichéd. All at once I was empowered! I have found myself! Words won't bring me down!
It isn't quite like that. It's more like I have just let myself exhale a bit, and it feels somehow calming.
On Thursday I had a great day in the studio in Muswell Hill. We worked very hard, and it felt amazing to walk out of there at six and know that we had created something where once there was nothing. I got into it so much by the end, and felt completely unselfconscious. As I was recording, the producer danced energetically and waved his arms in the air to inspire me to let go of my inhibitions, which was brilliant. We recorded all the lead and backing vocals over the track we'd made, and, although they will probably be recorded again at a later date, we began to see how the whole song was taking shape.
As I walked to the bus stop the sun was on the verge of fading, but my smile wasn't going anywhere. I cannot explain the feeling, because I would have to resort to even more clichés, but there is nothing like it. I suppose the closest thing I can equate it with is being in love with someone who loves you back, having light shining from your eyes in elation and slight disbelief.
From there I caught a tube to central London to meet some of my girlfriends for a meal. Anna had just got a new job so we were celebrating in a Greek restaurant off Charlotte Street. The five of us sat around, drinking wine and catching up. Alternately congratulating and commiserating, talking, laughing and gently flirting with the waiters. A few hours later, Anna called a friend of hers who runs a night at the China White club. China White is not the sort of place in which I would usually choose to hang out, because I do not sleep every night in big piles of fifty pound notes and cocaine. Anna had a word with her friend, though, and it transpired that if we left that moment we would get free guest list entry. In a flash the bill was paid and a taxi ordered. With the words "free entry" still echoing in our ears, we pulled up to the entrance. In we strolled, and, after checking in our jackets, Anna went off to find her friend. Roz and I stood close together in order to deflect the lecherous chat-up lines of the rich city bankers who expect to be able to buy a woman with a few massively overpriced double vodkas. A few moments later we were sitting in the VIP section with an array of drinks on the table in front of us, courtesy of Anna's friend. Who, as it turned out, had taken a bit of a fancy to me. "He's minted!" Anna whispered to me. "And he really fancies you! Also he's really nice" she added, almost as an afterthought. He came over and sat down next to me, picking up the bottle of vodka and refilling my glass, smiling at me. "I'm trying to get you drunk" he said. There is only so drunk a person can get, I thought, as I smiled awkwardly at him and took a sip.
As I engaged in unenthusiastic conversation with the friend, I felt Roz touch my arm. "Are you alright?" she asked. "Yeah, fine." I whispered to her. "I don't fancy him, but I feel compelled to talk to him because he bought us our drinks." As I was still reeling is disbelief at the words that had just come out of my mouth, she shifted our seating so she was in between me and the friend with her back to him. "Thanks" I said, meaning it. She shook her head. "I am not going to have you pimped out for a few drinks." Quite right, I thought, gratefully.
A bit later on I found myself next to the friend again. He slid his hand around my waist. "Let me take you out for dinner. Anywhere you like." I moved away. "Thanks, but no." He clasped his hand to his forehead in mock dismay. "Come on! I'll buy you anything you want! Anything!" He squeezed me again. "What do you want?"
There are many things I would like to be bought. I would like some new shoes. A new camera. I have a magical pony so I do not need one of those, but I wouldn't mind some magical stables for her to live in and maybe some magical pony straw for her to eat. Despite all of this I was completely horrifed by the idea that some man thought that he could get someone to go out with him with the promise of expensive treats. It didn't even feel threatening, just utterly ridiculous. I think I laughed at him and moved away. Anna texted me the next day saying that her friend had called her twice trying to get my number. Safe to say I did not give her permission to pass it on.
The rest of the week and the weekend were also eventful in different ways. Less pimping, as a general rule.
Today feels like the start of something, although I am not sure what. More performance opportunities have presented themselves, and I am back in the studio perhaps tomorrow, perhaps on Wednesday.
Until then I will hold onto this calm determination so it does not slip through my fingers and plunge me back into panic.