We don’t *have* to be friends… – Monthly Missive June 2024

You wouldn’t believe some of the messages I receive…but 15 years into sharing music on the internet I’m much better at turning lemons into lemonade. Since I last wrote to you I’ve been sharing encouraging weekly videos on my YouTube channel, and the responses from viewers have been truly heartwarming.

I’ll share some of the links with you below, but first, here’s an invitation to my FREE livestream next Wednesday 3rd July at 8pm (GMT+1)!

I’m calling this one “Sad Song Summer”, and I’ll be sharing at least one brand new never-EVER-performed Penfriend song nestled within a classic set of my sad songs to make you feel better.

No football, no politics x

How it’s (really) going

It’s album finishing time, which means ignoring things like piles of clothes waiting to be folded in favour of sitting at my desk and not leaving til I’ve made some progress. I’ve been figuring out lyrics for the shortlist of songs calling out to me from my teetering stack of voice memos, surprising myself with some of the things that are coming out from the depths of the last few years of life and love.

I find starting things easy, fun and exciting – but finishing them can be a bit more tricky. When you set your own deadlines, it’s easy to let them whoosh by (especially when writing and releasing a collaboration album, moving city etc), but something feels different this time.

My ability to finish creative projects is closely linked to how I feel about myself. Earlier this year I wasn’t feeling very confident, so I’ve been doing a few things to try and build myself back up. Exercise, eating healthy most of the time, getting outside more, reading, restricting my phone use, all the basic stuff that helps me feel like I am capable of doing big, difficult things.

One of the new activities that has helped me the most is starting to write 1000 words a day. I listened to Ali Abdaal’s podcast episode with Nathan Barry and started doing it in February. I managed about 40 days in a row, then I stopped. Then I started again. Then I stopped, and now I’ve started again and it feels really good (again!).

I just think it helps me to put aside time to get my thoughts out of my head, work on any bits of writing I need to share in emails or online in the coming weeks, and sometimes just rant on about whatever’s bothering me. Very little of what I write will ever be seen by other eyes, but that’s not the point of it.

I’ve written 67,329 words in this way since 14th February 2024, and that feels great. Doing the things I say I want to do feels great. Being the person I think of myself as feels great. I want to be someone who writes thoughtful prose, who finishes songs, who spends time outside in nature, amongst other things. And I’ll keep trying to be that person, while trying not to be too hard on my in-this-moment self.

In my Notes app I have written in large letters: stop looking at the internet: your new album isn’t on there.

So, between 8th and 26th July 2024 I am recording my new Penfriend album, here in The Launchpad.

A few friends will be popping up as guest musicians, and Chris Sheldon is on board to mix, after doing such a stellar job on the Obey Robots album and, you know, all those great records for Foo Fighters, Feeder, My Vitriol, and all the rest.

Finishing big projects can be hard, but right now I’m really enjoying being immersed in this album. Not rushing, but not leaving things so open-ended that it doesn’t feel like it matters if I work on these songs or not.

It matters to me, so I’m doing it. And I’m really looking forward to sharing this new collection of songs with you.

With love from The Correspondent’s Club 🖤

It was lovely to welcome 7 new Correspondents in June – welcome, welcome, welcome!

I don’t write much on the internet any more -> this is where it’s all happening.

Receive early demos, weekly check-in posts, invitations to private online events, access to my entire digital archive of albums, demos, live tracks and zines…and more.

Membership starts from £5 per month with no ongoing commitment, or you can get 10% off when you pay for 12 months up front.

The 16th TCC bundle is being compiled next week, and there are only 15 physical copies left of TCC #15, so get yours here by upgrading your existing membership or browsing physical and digital tiers.


1. I decorated a grotty attic to make albums in – come and see what The Launchpad (Nottingham version) looks like in the days leading up to me getting stuck into the second Penfriend album.

2. I wrote a sh*t song – and the world didn’t end – I think one of the reasons many of us find it hard to try stuff is because we think we’re going to suck at it. I have over 100 original songs out in the world, and I still write a dud once in a while!

3. A song for the introverts: “The Life Of The Party” is one of the definites for my upcoming new album, and this performance from June’s livestream is my favourite so far.

4. You wouldn’t believe some of the messages I receive. Occasionally they illustrate such a good point that I turn them into videos designed to help encourage others to keep going. Hence “Keep doing your thing (even if THEY don’t like it”) xo

Penfriend’s Picks

1. Album: “Lives Outgrown” by Beth Gibbons. As a huge Portishead fan I was very excited about this, and it’s such a rich tapestry of sounds and beautiful songs.

2. Book: “The Woman In Me” – Britney Spears.

3. Film: “Unfrosted” by Jerry Seinfeld (Netflix). Utterly charming…now, please pass the Poptarts!

Fun fact: when I first heard of Poptarts as a child, I thought the “iced” flavours must be cold.

Penfriend’s Playlist – July 2024

1. Doctor Blind – Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton (Emily from Metric)
2. Out Of A Million – DuBlonde
3. C’est Comme Ça – Wet Leg covering Paramore!
4. Ghost – Charley Stone
5. The Candy House – Kim Gordon
6. Medication Nation – The Empty Page
7. Salt – Chelsea Wolfe
8. Headlights – Katy Kirby
9. Fortify – She Makes War
10. Floating On A Moment – Beth Gibbons

Over to you – what songs / videos / links have you enjoyed lately? Share them in the comments below xo


I’m proud and very thankful to be a fully fan-funded artist, so if you’d like to stay involved and continue to support the making of new music, writing and videos:

🎁 Get your FREE 12-track album + 31-page PDF zine of stories, photographs and artwork here.

❤️ Get immediate access to my entire digital archive (close to 200 tracks!) plus additional ongoing Member Perks by joining The Correspondent’s Club on Patreon!

🎸 Listen to my latest solo album “Exotic Monsters” and browse my back catalogue.

🎥 Watch my videos for adventures in sound & songwriting.

💬 Chat with me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

See you soon xo

Share this:
Letterbox Monthly Missives

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *