Beware Of Darkness, online gig this Sat + why I’m launching a podcast
Art by @grandfunkrev
This morning I got up early to do yoga in the living room before walking the dogs round the block in the blazing sunshine. On returning home I was overcome with wistfulness and felt compelled to put on George Harrison’s “Beware of Darkness”. By the end of the first verse I had burst into hot tears.
I don’t know what exactly prompted me to find that particular song today; I knew I needed to listen to George, and I knew I needed to head to “All Things Must Pass”, then of course “Beware Of Darkness” was just perfect. There’s something about certain pieces of music that enable a sort of metaphysical circuit closing, they act as the missing connector between the things I need to feel and the means to feel them by unabashedly sobbing into my overnight oats.
Watch out now, take care
Beware of falling swingers
Dropping all around you
The pain that often mingles
In your fingertips
Beware of darkness
Watch out now, take care
Beware of the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night
Beware of sadness
It can hit you
It can hurt you
Make you sore and what is more
That is not what you are here for
Watch out now, take care
Beware of soft shoe shufflers
Dancing down the sidewalks
As each unconscious sufferer
Beware of Maya
Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go
While Weeping Atlas Cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
Beware of darkness
Reading the lyrics properly for the first time, I’m struck by how spookily appropriate they are today. Isn’t the brain an amazing thing? Thank you brain, and thank you George, for your beautiful songs.
Sitting at my desk now with the sun streaming through the attic window, birds chirping melodiously out the front of the house and perched above me on the roof, I feel lucky…but also a little lost. Life feels a lot more chaotic than it did a week ago, and I’m finding it hard not to let the UK news permeate my protective forcefield at the moment.
I’d love to hear what your go-to songs are for feeling your feelings, whether they’re happy or sad (my cheer up tune is “Sexx Laws” by Beck, btw). Let me know in the comments!
ONLINE GIG THIS SATURDAY 4pm (UK time)
The first Penfriend gig ever, hooray! This will be for members of my Correspondent’s Club (DigiPal members and upwards), streaming live from 4pm UK (GMT+1) this Saturday 30th May. If you’d like to attend, just pick your tier from the options on this page, and remember you can up- or downgrade your monthly membership at any time.
In May, eligible Correspondents received a bunch of member perks including analogue welcome packs in the post, two free studio recordings, one live recording and a members-only podcast episode plus access to our delightful forum, which has fast become my favourite place to hang out online. We already have our own weekly Spotify playlist, with members taking turns to introduce their favourite songs to the group, and I’m interested to see where this is going.
Please browse free and paid monthly/annual tiers if you’re interested, but know that it’s a privilege and a delight to send things out to you, paying guest or no. Thank you for making this connection with me.
ATTENTION ENGINEER PODCAST – SUBSCRIBE NOW
My weekly podcast series “Attention Engineer” launches next Wednesday 3rd June with a bumper crop of three episodes at once!
Visit this page to listen to the trailer and choose your preferred link to subscribe so the episodes pop up in your preferred podcast listening platform as soon as they’re published.
I should be on all the major platforms by now, but please do let me know if I’ve missed one!
If you’re new to podcasts, the main place to go is Apple Podcasts, or you can listen on my blog every week if you prefer.
WHY A PODCAST?
I’ve been on quite a journey over the past couple of years, exploring my relationship with social media. The internet has undoubtedly helped me find my people, but I needed to step back from this hyperconnected, information-saturated world to protect my own happiness, check in with myself and see if I wanted to keep making music.
The answer was YES, and that checking in process led to the idea for the Penfriend project and The Correspondent’s Club. So, how does “Attention Engineer” fit in?
My podcast is an attempt to slow down, go deeper and focus on the things that are most important to me in a thoughtful and mindful way. I’ve met so many interesting people over my music making years, and opportunities for a proper conversation are very rare, so I wanted to create this space to us all to stop for a while and reflect on why we do what we do, and what it’s all for.
My only criterion for asking someone to be a guest is a deep respect and enthusiasm for their work. I’m fascinated by the magic of the creative process, and always intrigued as to how other artists balance things like touring and home life, creative introspection and happiness.
I have the Plato quote “A life which is not examined is not worth living” scribbled on a Post-it note on my wall. As someone who embraces the positive changes that regular quiet reflection has brought to my life in the past two years, this is my contribution towards thoughtfully examining the whys and wherefores of this strange and wonderful thing that connects us all on such a deep emotional level.
BE ON THE PODCAST!
Alongside the artist to artist interviews, I’ll be shining a light on YOU – the audience. Without you we would be nothing, truly, so I’m looking for volunteers to answer questions about your musical passions. This will be in recorded audio format (not video), for inclusion in future episodes.
Please email me if you’re interested in having your voice included.
BIG LOVE, have a great week.
THANK YOU for visiting my website!
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Have a lovely day xoCreativity Letterbox Mindfulness Music News Podcast Process
George was always the most talented beatle in my opinion. “don’t bother me” is amazing – written from his hospital bed if i remember rightly
Oh wow, not sure I’ve heard that one but will look it up immediately…
“Sexx Laws” is one of my cheer up songs, too! Other ones: “Silver” and “The Game” by Echo & the Bunnymen (probably more songs I’m not thinking of, but they’re my favorite band), “Gepetto” by Belly and “Not Too Soon” by Throwing Muses (yay, Tanya Donelly!), “Blue Kiss” by Jane Wiedlin, “Carolyn’s Fingers” by Cocteau Twins, and “Exhuming McCarthy” and “The Wake-Up Bomb” by R.E.M. (Also, George is my favorite Beatle.)
cool. “The Wake-Up Bomb” is a belter – I had it on my running playlist only the other day..
I belt out “The Wake-Up Bomb” in my car A LOT. 🙂
I feel a playlist coming on…great songs Josh!
That’s a most excellent list, my favourite band, R.E.M. (never thought I’d see “Exhuming McCarthy” on one of these lists, makes me happy), “Gepetto”, that’s one of mine, and the Muses (mine would be “Bright Yellow Gun”).
Love your go to happy track Laura – mine has to be Emmy the Great’s Mahal Kita – guaranteed to transport me to happier times in Hong Kong – which is the focus of the song – the lines “ While the people turns to crowds, And the crowd turns to a throng, And a woman slices papaya outside Louis Vuitton” – I know exactly where she is talking about and have seen the women doing this outside Louis Vuitton – the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty combined with the energy of the place. There’s also a lovely line “And I will think of you every time I’m here
Lit up by a Tiffany’s that used to be DeBear’s” and again i’m transported to the very spot in Mahal Kita district in Hong Kong – it’s not the happiest of songs but does always make me smile x
Oh how wonderful! I love the stories that are wrapped up in our favourite songs.
I keep going back to ‘The Soft Bulletin’ by The Flaming Lips at the moment. The whole album has taken on a new meaning lately.
I’d completely forgotten to include The Flaming Lips in my cheer-up songs! The most wonderful, mad, beautiful band ever, possibly the best live band for pure theatrical joy! Wayne rolled over me in the inflatable ball in Manchester! “The Soft Bulletin” is joy, for me it will always be the whole “Yoshimi” album and “Hit To Death In the Future Head”, the album that made me fall in love with them.
Much as I rate pretty much everything Paul McCartney has done (yes even Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), George Harrison was so underrated, and that’s a wonderful song. A real ‘up’ song for me is One More Week by Colvin Quarmby. Seeing Gerry Colvin perform that live on a sunny beer-filled day at the Cropredy Festival made me very happy. The other end of the spectrum would be the incredible crooning of Richard Hawley. And covering all bases up, down and in-between would be the completely wonderful and talented Thea Gilmore. And you can thank her tweeting about you for my following your excellent music. And I see she namedropped you again in April. Good to see!
Thea is wonderful xo
Ah…so many brilliant songs mentioned here….my sad song is by Greenday (from the American Idiot album) “Boulevard of broken dreams”…it reflects some very dark times for me (both before and in some ways after it’s release in 2004) One with a happy memory is by a certain artist once known as She Makes War! (Delete…2012) which was the very first time I heard you Laura and coincided with meeting up with a long lost buddy… so I refound a mate and found your music all in one afternoon ! I have some poetry and lyrics I hope to share in the community soon (if I be brave enough lol).. collaboration welcomed …peace to everyone…and stay safe
Love “Boulevard”, and “Delete” is my favourite SMW song.