Keeping the channel open – Monthly Missive May 2024

It’s my birthday today, so I wrote this yesterday and am using the wonders of scheduling technology to share it with you at a time that might suit you best for reading and clicking on links.

Before I get into my May bits and bobs, consider this an invitation to my online birthday party gig next Wednesday 5th June at 8pm (GMT+1)! I’ll be playing some of my all-time favourite old and new SMW / Penfriend songs to celebrate another flight around the moon, or whatever the phrase is 😉

May skipped by in a heady blast of heat and humidity, as I whisked myself away to South Korea for a two-week adventure. I’m still processing all the sights and sounds, and acclimatising back to normal temperatures and surroundings is taking a while, but I’m delighted to be back in The Launchpad working on my new solo album.

I have 6 finished and 15 part-finished songs hanging out together on my studio whiteboard and things are ticking along as well as these things ever do. Yesterday I caught myself criticising the sound quality of a piece of music I’m only partway through figuring out the notes for, and thanked my younger self for saving this Martha Graham quote in my Notes app:

“It is not your business to determine how good it is. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

It’s not supposed to sound great yet…it’s just supposed to be invited out of my brain and my heart. Perhaps it’ll become something, perhaps it won’t. I just have to keep the channel open.

That’s why I keep emailing you, too – to keep the channel open. I appreciate you doing the same – it spurs me on so much to know there’s someone out there sending the kind of warm encouragement I try to send back through my songs and videos.

It’s a beautiful thing.

ICYMI – things I shared in May

1. After an eight-month break I shared this video about why I stopped uploading regularly to YouTube. Sometimes other important things get in the way…but I’m back!

2. My next “Tea & Empathy” episode was shot in Seoul, South KoreaI talked about the bizarre connection I found there between Maxwell House vending machine coffee and…eels.

Subscribe to my channel to be one of the first to see the next weekly episode, coming your way tomorrow at 6pm.

3. In case you missed it, the new music video for “Seashaken” is online now. Shot on the North Friesan island of Sylt, nature’s wind machine (the wind) makes for a surprisingly warm result (yep, it was actually FREEZING).

With love from The Correspondent’s Club 🖤

May was the second month of The Correspondent’s Club’s move to Patreon, and I was delighted to welcome some new Correspondents!

Members get 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.

This month, members received:

1. Physical copies of Correspondent’s Club bundle #15 in the post along with swanky new Welcome Packs including a handwritten letter, bookmark, badge, stickers and a Penfriend pen. I’m so pleased with how these turned out!

2. An invitation to a Zoom chat where I showed off a small portion of my Korean stationery haul PLUS played snippets of new album demos. Members-only watch link.

There are only 19 physical copies left of TCC #15, so get yours here by upgrading your existing membership or browsing physical and digital tiers.

Penfriend’s Picks

  1. Book: I read two very poorly written novels in a row while away in Korea, which was disappointing. A reading rescue mission was required – and I managed to find a pristine 1993 copy of “The Remains Of The Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro in a dusty stack of English language books in Busan’s Bosu-dong Book Street. It took me a while to get into the purposefully stuffy tone but then, wow.
  2. TV Series: “Travelers” – whoah – that’s Will from Will & Grace!!! And wait – MacKenzie Porter has a singing career too? I’m so late to every single party.
  3. Album: “Here Comes The Actual Band” by Charley Stone (guitarist for Sleeper, Desperate Journalist, Charlotte Hatherley, ex-Gay Dad and many more!)
  4. Album: “Imploding” by The Empty Page

Penfriend’s Playlist – June 2024

Track listing + links to Bandcamp or band websites

  1. Free Food – Charley Stone
  2. The News – Paramore
  3. Elephant – Obey Robots
  4. Life Is A Wave – The Empty Page
  5. It Could’ve Been You – Hannah Grae
  6. Welcome To – Moglii & Novaa
  7. Tu y Yo – Moglii & Novaa
  8. Dial Drunk – Noah Kahan
  9. Coming Home To You – MacKenzie Porter
  10. Sunlight At Stratford Station – Jay Chakavorty

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

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