Thanks to everyone who came to my gigs at Barnoldswick, Helmsley and Carlisle last weekend – we had such a great time.
I’m now looking forward to performing next week alongside Lee Ridley (aka Britain’s Got Talent winner Lost Voice Guy) at the Co-Production Festival in London organised by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. The festival is part of the third Co-production Week celebrating the collaboration between professionals, service users and carers in designing and delivering services for the people who need them.
I’m also performing at a mental health celebration day in Bristol for staff, patients and carers at Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. I’ll be playing on the wards as well as outdoors (if this gorgeous weather holds!).
After playing there supporting Don McLean, Eric Bibb and Dennis Locorriere, I’m doing my first headline gig in Wales at Acapela, a beautifully restored Welsh chapel just outside Cardiff. We’re playing there on Friday 6 July as one of the last gigs of my current UK tour. Tickets are available here.
We’ve just posted a lyric video on YouTube for my song ‘The Borderline’ from my first album ‘Stranger Place’. I’d had writer’s block for 6 months when I went to see my Buddhist teacher Lama Jampa Thaye in Manchester. He told me to get up at dawn and start writing straight after doing my meditation practice. The next day this song just fell out of my head. It’s the most ‘Buddhist’ song I’ve ever written. You can see the video here.
Thanks to everyone who came to my gigs this weekend at Artrix Arts Centre and Hanger Farm Arts Centre – they were great nights. I’m looking forward to the rest of my UK tour, playing Barnoldswick, York, Carlisle, Cardiff, Biddulph, Crail, Glasgow, Newcastle, New Milton and London.
If you have friends or family in any of these places please do spread the word – all support very welcome. Dates and ticket links can be found here.
I’m reading a wonderful book by the American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön called ‘Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change’. In it she quotes Steve Jobs and I thought I’d share it with you in case you’ve never heard it before.
“After he was diagnosed with cancer, the visionary genius Steve Jobs had this to say about freedom from the eight worldly concerns:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
One of the good things about being bipolar is the urge to make the most of the times when I’m well to get as much done as possible. Last week I was in Purbeck on a songwriting retreat where a new song fell out of my head in a single day (you’ll hear it on my next album), I’m working on a guitar songbook, we’ve been making a new music video for my song ‘Memory’, and I’m about to publish a new book of poetry called ‘Meditation Mind’.
It’s been 6 weeks since we started touring again after I recovered from pneumonia and it’s been so lovely to see famliiar faces and meet new friends at the gigs. We both love performing so much and I’m aware that this may be the last tour for a while so I’m making the most of it, whether we’re in a hall or someone’s sitting room. Now we’re on a break for a couple of weeks before we start again with two consecutive nights at The Stables in Milton Keynes on 8/9 June.
Then it’s Artrix Arts Centre in Bromsgrove, the wonderful Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Southampton, followed by Barnoldswick, Helmsley, Carlisle, Cardiff and Biddulph. Then we head up north to play Crail Festival, The Glad Café in Glasgow and The Cluny in Newcastle before finishing the tour at Forest Arts Centre in Hampshire at the end of July. I’m also playing Royston Folk Club at the end of August and on Saturday 15 September we’re doing a one-off London show at The Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell.
Before that, I’m doing a very special charity gig to raise money for the extraordinary Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings, an open-air museum of wonderful buildings which have been rescued and relocated to its site in Stoke Heath near Bromsgrove (www.avoncroft.org.uk). The gig is on Sunday 24 June and the museum has invited ticket holders to come and have a picnic in its beautiful grounds before the concert.
We’ve just put together a video of clips from my gig at Chapel Arts Centre in Bath – a tour highlight. If you’ve got friends or family you think might enjoy my songs, please do share it and spread the word about the rest of my UK tour. Dates and booking links for all my upcoming gigs can be found here.
I hope you’ve been enjoying the sunshine and I hope all’s well in your world – thanks so much for your support.
Thanks to everyone who came to my gigs at The Old Stables in Cricklade, The Acorn in Penzance and my house concert in south Devon (see the pic below). I am so happy to be playing again and meeting so many lovely people wherever we go. Next weekend I’m playing Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham – a rescheduled gig from when I was ill. Tickets can be booked here. If you can make it, it would be great to see you there.
Hope you’ve been enjoying the sunshine wherever you are.
I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be up and dressed and able to walk into town (slowly). Pneumonia hits you hard. I was gutted to have to cancel my tour of Germany and five other UK gigs last month but I just couldn’t get out of bed and could hardly speak let alone sing.
Upsides to being ill were listening to a lot of Pema Chodron and reading some really wonderful books and having lovely friends come and bring me soup and flowers. Christian was amazing of course.
Most of my UK gigs have now been rescheduled so if you had tickets I hope you can make the new dates (all listed on my website). I’m so sorry for all the inconvenience. I am now looking forward very much to the rest of my tour starting with Gullivers in Manchester on Friday next week.
Hope you managed to avoid the flu and that all’s well in your world.
I’m so sorry to say that both my gig at Ashcroft Arts Centre in Farnham tonight and Forest Arts in New Milton tomorrow night have been cancelled due to the weather. We will rearrange the dates so hopefully I’ll be performing there before too long. Please contact the venue if you have a ticket – you can phone Ashcroft Arts Centre on 01329 223100 and Forest Arts on 01425 619983.
I’m knackered. Yesterday I did 4 gigs in one day, singing my songs for staff and patients at Fulbourn mental health hospital and at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.
I’d been invited by Kimberley Iyemere, Arts Therapies Professional Lead at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT). The CPFT is unusual and wonderful in being committed to providing proper resources for music and arts therapy for their service users.
I turned up with my guitar and a speaker and sang my songs about my own lived experience. It is quite challenging but really rewarding doing mental health gigs. You never know quite what is going to happen or how people are going to react.
First I played in the fabulous music room, then on a ward for women with personality disorders, then at the Ida Darwin ward for teenagers where I met a young girl who had made me a lovely bracelet with my name on it and was learning to sing my song ‘Start Over Again’.
Then in the evening we headed to Addenbrookes Hospital where I performed for staff and patients from S3, the eating disorders unit. It was a great end to a very full-on day. I’m so glad I managed to get there through the snow.
A big thank you to Kimberley and her team for making me cups of tea and helping me lug my stuff around. I’ll be back in Cambridge for a gig at The Junction on Saturday 12 May.
The photos are of me with some of the lovely staff at Fulbourn Hospital – Dr Jorge Zimbron and Lee Davies, and Kimberley Iyemere.
I really enjoyed our warm-up gig on Saturday night which was a house concert in Camberwell, London. Thanks to everyone who came – it was a really special night for us. I’m looking forward now to the start of my UK tour this weekend at Dorchester Arts and The Hawth in Crawley. If you’ve got tickets I’ll see you there.