Being as I am a person with an immunity system as safe as Alcatraz, it has come as a shock to me that in the past few weeks I have fallen victim to two devastating virus, one in the form of a stomach bug and the other, good old fashioned cold/flu. Whilst nursing these ailments it became very easy to be downbeat, weakened and even to a point depressed. Many things seem to weigh heavily at the moment and it is very easy to become despondent. Indeed as I write Gary Speed has taken his own life. When considering such tragedy my own feeling of wellbeing seems trivial.
Fortunately a couple of things happened during this time that spurred me on. Not least my good lady Nell, who to my good fortune is a life coach. By assisting me to overcome negativity I have thanks to her started to regain my mojo. This made me start thinking of what makes me tick, what it is in my life that makes me excited and drives me, music! This in turn made me start to think of something that happened a week prior. I received a call from a very excited Phil Swinburne a local singer/songwriter/composer and of course not least front man with local prog band MOG who played a blinding set at the recent Progmeister festival.
Phil wanted my opinion about some new songs that he has been working on. Armed with a mug of tea we retired to Phil’s home studio where he explained about his collaboration with another North East musician who just happens to own an elaborate studio. Phil played me two songs that even in their naked form are really very good. His enthusiasm was infectious and I left his home feeling elated despite feeling physically dyer. Another musical encounter was during a visit to my good friend and Riversea keys man Brendan Eyre who played me some excerpts from the forthcoming Riversea album. Mighty fine it is too, one for the collection methinks.
Brendan also played me something he is working on for Christmas. I am bound not to reveal what it is yet but let me assure you that it is very special. Next week I will be spending the afternoon/evening with Tony Patterson (Re-Genesis/SoGabriel) and I hope to get the lowdown on his latest project. Well, how does all this make me feel during my spell of self-pity and Lemsip Max consumption? I am fairly humbled actually. My partner Nell has overcome so many difficulties these past few years and achieved her dream of becoming a life coach, much to my benefit. I am surrounded by talented people who contribute so much and allow me to be privy to many aspects of their lives and careers.
Given all this positive energy I have to confirm that Progmeister2 will happen. In June next year the second Progmeister festival will take place on Teesside and will major on originality. The day will include contemporary prog artistes all of whom have recent album releases and loved by many. I hope to confirm the cast before Christmas so keep watching this space. How do I feel today? Well, despite being full of cold, inspired, excited and above all motivated. Exciting innit?