Yesterday was my birthday (40) I had been thinking about it for a while in the context of being becoming depressed and not really being good at keeping in touch with my friends and assuming they probably don’t actually like me anymore. Most of them. A few people I speak to a few times a week so I don’t worry too much about them. But other people I haven’t really seen since 2016. I thought about a party in a pub, so just tell people to come, and I imagined a) a big party with lots of my friends there from all different parts of my life. The boys I draw, Marcia (my friend who’s garden I look after) and my uncle, for example. Drew would come down from South Shields. Then I imagined b) no-one there at all except Tim and a couple of my friends I know really do like me, having a normal drink like it’s a normal evening. Probably afternoon actually. Then a virus happened. So none of us are going to parties. Instead Tim organised a special secret video montage for me and it was very moving. It was longer than half an hour and had about 40 of my friends in it. They all made little videos saying happy birthday, but actually more than that, people did little performances and made puppets, or got their bum out, and generally made a really big effort just for me. My brother in Japan. Dave and Jan. And it turns out I do have friends and they really like me, and it was very sad and happy at the same time and I realised how mental it is to be depressed in a way you can’t control because it makes you think things that aren’t actually real things to think. BUT since this virus I’ve actually been feeling as happy as I did when I was 8. I’m just doing art every day, playing piano, making papier mache dinosaurs and doing paintings. Because there is basically no work if you’re an artist the external pressure has entirely lifted. All the shouting on social media about what box you tick has gone, because a) everyone is now only shouting about the virus, and b) there isn’t really any work for anyone to do unless they actually just want to get on with it by themselves at home. So no one had any money unless they already had some, and the tories aren’t going to help the self employed til June.
Just before it got serious in this country I went to see a David Hockney exhibition. for a long time I wanted it to feel like 2003 again. I was listening to old Adam and Joe podcasts and hearing bits of Ben Folds solo album, talking about HMV and virgin megastore. No social media. And for an afternoon and evening it suddenly was. Tim came too. The gallery was deserted. No people wandering just chatting about nothing and not looking at the art but taking pictures of it on their phones. No queues. Central London was deserted. We went to gordon’s wine bar where we used to try and go when we first were in London but it was always too busy, and we got a table. It was like 2003 for one evening. We walked across Hungerford bridge. It was sunny. Things changed really fast after that. But it was really really lovely for one moment to go back in time and remember what the city used to be like.
I’m not seeing anyone, because no-one is so my treat is to not wear any deodorant. I was thinking about when we did Bellerophon in 2003 and we lived in a quarry for 6 weeks and I didn’t wash the whole time and loved being an animal writing songs and living in my VW camper van. We watched Alex Parks winning fame academy on a small black and white telly you had to wind up to watch like a radio. I may be mis-remembering that. Laura made me so angry one day that I threw my typewriter off the top of the quarry. We were really feral and I listened a lot to Patrick Wolf’s first album that had just come out. There were photos of cornwall inside and I imagined a lot he would show up. 4 weeks into it Silvia and Joel came to rescue me and drove me to Falmouth for a couple of nights. I got to do a couple of shows with Patrick Wolf a few years later but we didn’t hit it off.