Like most people, some days I find it hard to believe what’s actually going on in the world right now. I wake up and get staggered all over again by the fact that we really are living through a pandemic, and more specifically, that the industry I love and have made my life in remains in cold storage. It’s weird, and it can feel pretty defeating a lot of the time.
Playing the Independent Venue Love shows on and off for the last year (year!) has been one of the ways I’ve tried to make sense of all this. Obviously, independent venues need help; obviously I owe my career in large part to small rooms up and down the country (and around the world) where a few hundred people can gather together and immerse themselves in underground music and culture; and obviously, if I can help, I will. It feels like the least I can do.
More than that, though, it’s given me structure and routine, two things I need to have in my life to keep myself on an even keel mentally. A lot of people have said to me that the regular Thursday night gatherings, as ersatz as they might be, have been helpful to them. To which I can only say, “I know what you mean, friends.”
Having said all that, I’ve decided that it’s time to pause the shows again for the time being. Like the last time I did that, it feels like my own wells of energy and creativity are running low for these shows, and I want to focus on other things for a while (I’m finishing off my own studio among other things, am working on a new album, and I’m planning for how to move forward as and when lockdown eases up here in the UK). That’s not to say that other venues don’t need help, or that the Music Venue Trust #saveourvenues campaign is in any way “finished”. There’s so much more to do, and I’ll be helping out with that (and the #wemakeevents campaign) as much as I can going forward. It’s just time to pause the shows again for now.
I am overwhelmingly grateful to everyone who’s tuned in over the year, and especially to everyone who’s donated. At around £250,000 raised, I think we can all pat ourselves on the back a little. The final show, number 21 (!!), will be this Thursday, the 25th. It’s a benefit for The Lexington in London – a venue I know well and love dearly. Let’s all gather together one more time at 8pm (UK) and raise them a ton of money. Jess is playing first, and then she’ll be picking my setlist for me (payback for all the times she’s run the requests for other shows!).
I’m really looking forward to it. See you all there.