One of the things that helped keep me sane during lockdown was writing and performing music, and the Songs From Lockdown project was a big part of that: each week, songwriters would give the group a challenge and we’d go and write songs based on that challenge.
You can listen to all the tracks here, and the first section is a handy selection of highlights. One of my songs, St Luke’s Steps, is included in it.
I like this song a lot: it’s about the transformative power of friendship, and fittingly for a song from a lockdown group it’s about meeting my best friend when lockdown finally allowed that to happen. It’s more of a colour piece than a story: I’m trying to paint a picture of a moment in time. The fact that it’s reminiscent of Glasgow’s famously atmospheric The Blue Nile is entirely deliberate.
What I liked about the group was the way in which it encouraged everyone to think differently. For example, St Luke’s Steps was from a challenge to write about a colour, hence the line “red wine the colour of the dye in our hair”. That was enough to give me the shape of the song I wanted to write.
Here’s another one, No Ties That Bind. The challenge here was to write from somebody else’s perspective, so I chose to inhabit the head of a father disowning his LGBT+ child. It’s not exactly full of laughs but I’m really pleased with the lyrics – “I walk away from my mistakes / I consider you the worst one I ever made… I can’t love what you became / you turned your back on me when you changed the name I gave” – and the vocal.
I did a playlist of all my various contributions, which you can find here. They’re all over the shop musically (deliberately): glam rock, goth, jaunty acoustic and even rap. Because of the time constraints, some of them aren’t quite there but some are close to being finished releases; I’m planning to rerecord and release one of them, Got You In My Bones, on our next EP: it’s possibly the most joyful, most pop thing I’ve ever written and it makes me smile and dance around the flat.