Today was a pretty productive day. Love was in the air and so was cavity wall insulation. We’ll get to the Love part later… let’s get to the cracks in the walls first.
So my new little home recording studio was pumped full of cavity wall insulation today. The final piece of the puzzle that will now let me settle into the place and start getting a nice atmosphere cooked up for recording, experimenting, filming, and podcasting. The place will now be able to retain heat and the insulation will add a small touch of warmth to the sound of the room as well. It’s another thing I’ve been visualising for a while and it’s another thing that when came to fruition caused me to curse the skies for the work I was bogged under. I’m a complicated guy, I know. I can feel the frustration in the Angels around me constantly. They must have pissed someone off big time to get stuck with me.
Oh, did I tell you that the only reason I’m writing this Blog tonight is because I set a challenge for myself to write 7 Blogs in 7 days? This is Day 4 and I almost went to bed without keeping the challenge alive. What really got my ass off the recliner though was the fact that I told my girls I had set myself this challenge. Or possibly my Higher Self took over and told the girls I was setting myself this challenge. That’s way too big a committment for normal Me to dance with. You see once I tell my girls I’m gonna do something I have to do it. Nothing on earth is gonna prevent me from doing everything I say I’m gonna do when it comes to my Daughters. I need to know that they just think that shit is normal. “When someone says they’re gonna do something, no matter how crazy it sounds, they are gonna do it.” That’s what I want them to expect from the human race. I need them to expect that in any prospective Boyfriend, Husband, Father to my Grandchildren etc etc. If I constantly endeavour to live to an unattainable standard of perfection and just knock shit out of the park on a daily basis then I know my girls will grow up being able to smell bullshit from roses. I’ll not need to vet their boyfriends – they’ll already be discerning and perceptive enough to know who passes the ‘over my dead body’ test and who fails miserably. They’ll not wanna try and swing a decoy past me because they’ll know it’ll be a waste of time. They’ll not rebel and bring some crazy-ass drunk tattooed musician home in an act of raw defiance because they ain’t gonna find anyone that shocks their Dad. Any time I wanna truly commit to something I voice it to my girls, usually in the car, on the school run or some crazy dogwalking expedition. Once it’s voiced to them then I know i have to really double down till I do it. Their future depends on me living up to my every word. As does the future of my Grandchildren. They say daughters always fall for a man like their Dad and that is why I am always jumping for ridiculous heights in everything I do. And that is why I will always tell them what I’m planning when I really want to take away my safety net of procrastination.
Anyway, back to the studio. The irony sandwich hit me two nights ago when I was driving home from a gig with my buddy. It just popped into my head that a few months ago I was sitting in what is now a decent looking little recording Studio. Back then it was a utility room, with a fitted kitchen, electric wires hanging everywhere, and a huge Belfast sink plumbed in. When I say a Belfast sink I mean a BELFAST SINK. Thor must have carried this thing in. I only managed to get it shifted and out to the back garden because I was super focused and super pissed off that day. It was the day I was trying out my new sledgehammer and the juices were flowing for wrecking and smashing. God I love swinging a sledgehammer and causing destruction – constructive destruction that is. When you’re smashing through cabinets and sinks, and fireplaces with the aim of fulfilling a nice new vision for the place then there is no better work. Before I had started reconstructing the place I sat recording a Vlog for Day 1 of a 10 Day Water Fast. It was something that just threw itself upon me and I rolled with it. I was sitting, in that wreck of a room, with a toilet and a cistern sitting on the worktop behind me, recording a video diary of how the first day of my fast had went. That memory was the thought that brought me from my “f**k my life, all I do is decorate, work and lift huge dog turds 24/7! How can such a small Beagle produce Grizzly Bear sized turds?!” state of mind to my “Jeez, I really sped the manifestation process up with this one” mindset.
Yet again I had let myself get carried way with focusing on the work and the effort I was having to sustain to fulfil my own crazy vision for the place. Yet again I needed reminding to focus on results and not just what it takes to get those results. It was one day in particular that really sent me over the edge with the renovation work. It was the day after poor little Chip got the Snip. We had a video shoot and a recording session booked in to the studio on this particular night and the place wasn’t ready yet. I was up at 6am taping dustsheets down on my lovely new wooden floor, taping the windows up (the place looked like Dexter’s Killroom), painting the ceiling and the walls. My buddy, Beefy called in around 9:30am and he got stuck right in with me. In between all the crazy decorating and cleaning, I had to let Chip out of his cage. Mr Conehead couldn’t be left unsupervised after his ordeal and thankfully he had lost some of his energy. I still needed to take the little guy for regular toilet breaks though – no point risking having to mop or shovel any little surprises when you have more important work to do. We worked like Trojans and at around 6pm we had the place ready for all the studio equipment to be brought in and wired up. That can be a days work in itself. We knocked that one outta the park. Then we had to set up microphones and get them all wired in for the session as well as getting lighting set up and our cameras set up for the filming. We knocked that outta the park and celebrated with a cup of Green Tea and a bowl of Coco Shreddies. I managed to grab a quick shower to clean the stench of bad temper and work off me and we got ourselves ready and relaxed just as our client for the evening was arriving.
The client was one of our friends who wanted to come with a few musicians to record a live version of a love song and record and film the performance. The video would then be a surprise gift to his wife on their 10th Wedding Anniversary. Beefy had committed to it and I had assured him that I would have the place ready. It was exhausting work – mentally and physically. Running around after Mr Conehead; trying to teach my Wife how to look after a puppy (and how to not drink wine when you’re supposed to be looking after a puppy); setting up a new studio workspace and going straight to a live session without having time to check anything works as it should; and trying to capture a live session with the constant worry that the Hounds Of The Baskervilles would start barking or howling at any given point in time had me at my wits end. I mean come on, the paint was still wet on the ceiling and the walls and there we were recording and filming a music video. It was chaos in some sort of controlled fashion.
After everyone had went home, Beefy and I celebrated with a vegetable curry and salted chilli chips… and more Green Tea. He looked at me with this cocky, smug but humble smile and said “the paints not even dry in the place and we just shot and recorded our first live session.” It’s all about perspective. I was cracking up at the chaos and feeling like I was gonna have a heart attack. When it came to switching on the red light and pressing ‘Record’ though, I was super chilled and super relaxed. That’s the shit I’m fairly decent at and that’s the shit I enjoy. Decorating actually is something I enjoy too but not on such a tight deadline. I’m not a fan of deadlines at all to be honest. They just make me antsy and feel like they’re taking the flow out of life for me – and trust me I’m the guy who needs deadlines more than anyone but I prefer to call them ‘To-Do Lists” and I work happier that way. It sounds much more productive and positive than anything with the word ‘dead’ in it. Decorating is also not my natural forte – I am good at it thanks to my OCD tendencies but the flipside to that is the fact that I have to fight a lot of demons to get through a decorating session without ending up rocking back and forward in the corner of the room after noticing every imperfection in the walls and every ‘not quite level’ part of the floor. My buddy Beefy though, he is one wise mofo. He said the right thing and he was looking at things from the right perspective. Another one of many wee lights on moments for me lately.
My life is a lot like my studio project. There had to be a lot of damage, and a lot of wrecking to get me where I am now. A lot of old shit and more than a few imposing ‘Belfast Sinks’ had to be ripped from my inner utility room to make way for newer equipment and a better vision. I wasn’t just decorating a room I was completely redesigning the layout and energy of our home. I was turning what was a room full of makeshift electric sockets, makeshift cabinets, and the worlds heaviest sink into a room that would be a fully functioning, relaxing, productive, creative recording studio. I was making the little ‘afterthought’ junk room of our home into the most important room of the home for me. The whole time I was doing it I was cracking up at how much work it was taking to decorate a simple room. When I cut myself some slack and realised what I was really doing and how I had thought everything into existence – the very chaos around me was my doing and my planning – I relaxed a bit and let myself take a breather. We all need to cut ourselves some slack at times. Don’t underestimate the work in progress that is You. Don’t underestimate how big a project it is to get you from where you are to where you want to be and don’t overestimate it and quiver at the gravity of the task ahead. Recognise the true nature of the change that’s taking place and then react and behave accordingly. Big changes take big work. Big work brings big results and pays even bigger dividends. I’m still a work in progress as is my wee studio. As long as we are ‘this treasure in earthen vessels’ we will always be a work in progress.
Oh the Love part of the story, yes, I almost forgot. Today is the day of our friends 10th Wedding Anniversary and his wife loved the video. All that work was worth it just to be able to say that we kept our word and knocked our shit out of the park while the paint was still wet on the ceiling. It was also worth it to see the happiness it brought to our friend and his wife. It was worth it to connect with other musicians and enjoy a great live performance – which they managed in one take. It was worth it to start my new little studio’s journey off with some positive, musical energy and some enjoyable talent.
Phew… I’m 4-for-4. Just 3 more to go….
Oh I almost forgot! I was locking up the studio tonight and a little spider descended down from the ceiling to greet me. They say the humble spider is an ancient symbol of mystery, power, and growth. As a spider weaves it web so must we weave our own lives. A few years ago I would have shit my pants at the sight of a spider. Phew those things used to give me the heebie jeebies big time. My studies into Buddhism really taught me to chill my bones and respect all creatures. Instead of beating poor defenceless spiders to death with a shoe (on the end of a very long broomstick) I made the choice to always peacefully gather them up and let them outside. Tonight I went one step further – I looked at that little spider and said “Goodnight little guy. Welcome to your new home.” With that I decided to let him move in and keep me company. Tonight I will probably lie awake and terrify the living shit out of myself wondering how big that little spider’s going to get. Come the morning I’ll be convinced that he’s the size of Godzilla and I’ll send the wife into the studio as a decoy before I go anywhere near it. I’m peaceful and respectful towards the little dudes but I still ain’t at the holding hands stage just yet.
Sleep well little Spider and please stay little. If I come down to find you swinging kettlebells in the back garden I’m outta here…