Here is a blog I wrote about loneliness and solitude for No Side Effects
Let’s talk about loneliness and being alone. Seriously, let’s do it now, before anyone notices. Of course if you are actually alone then maybe no one will notice anyway. I’m alone. I’m alone right now. Well, not exactly: I’m on a train. I don’t know anyone on the train so I suppose that counts.
I’m starting to spend a lot of time on my own. It isn’t that bad really, but it does take some getting use to. When I was in a relationship I use to spend a lot of time on my own too. Usually when I was doing fieldwork. That was difficult to cope with at first. I was a very homely person. All the things I use to love doing were things that I could do at home (building things, making music etc.) but…
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Aberystwyth is integral to the story of Grasslands. The general idea for the story was established while I was drunk in the Castle Hotel. This drunken discussion took place long before I decided to record music for the story instead of actually writing it.
Some of my own experiences of living in Aber also colour some of the songs. There is more than a hint of my experiences working in Safeway/Morrisons in the song Ambient Groceries.
It is always nice to return to Aberystwyth to see old friends (including old band mates from my former band The Small Dog Club).
It was particularly interesting to return so soon after finishing the recording of my second EP. My thoughts of the story were still quite heavy on my mind and I couldn’t help but see why I have spent so much time writing about hills through these songs.
Most people that visit or live in Aberystwyth know that Constitution Hill is one of the more famous hills in the area. It is located on the northern edge of Aberystwyth and includes a Victorian funicular railway. Although it is in easy reach of the town, it is quite difficult to see from most of Aberystwyth. Not like Pen Dinas.
Pen Dinas is found on the southern edge of the town and dominates the landscape. The flattened top of Pen Dinas is indicative of a complex history of hill fort structures that stood over the valleys from the Iron Age onwards (for more info click here).
This was the sight I was met with most mornings. Looking through the window and seeing this hill looking down at me. The Wellington Monument standing prominent in the centre. Although the monument isn’t really described within the story, I can now see that without Pen Dinas there would be very few tracks on Grasslands. It is referenced in one song on Time To Think. It is also referenced in at least three songs on my new EP: My Folks Prefer The Clone.
I had the opportunity while staying in a B&B to relive why I wrote the song ‘The Things I See Outside My Window’.