Now the immediate post-album launch haze has died down and I’ve got the bug back, I’ve returned to the studio for a couple of projects.

First-off, I’ve been continuing my work with poet Ralph Dartford on our project Swoon! Telling the story of Waterloo Sunset‘s Terry and Julie, it’s a project which explores love, addiction, escape and reconciliation through spoken word and music to ‘dance, reflect, laugh and fall in love with’.

I’ve worked with Ralph before – he’s part of the Ossett crowd behind Flock To Ossett, 1000 Snowflakes, and various other arts-scene things which I photographed over the years. More recently his was the voice on my Bleeding Obvious track I, Human on the debut album. Ralph presented me with 16 pieces of spoken word, pieces he’d performed solo for some time and which fans felt invested in – dangerous territory, maybe. I worked for a couple of months illustrating them with music, soundtracking them; at some points it felt like I was painting the pictures he’d sketched out, but to my interpretation of the colours. I think we’ve come up with something special as a result.

(Yeah I’m being artsy wanky, I’ll stop that now.)

So anyway, that’s Swoon! and we’ve been performing it live at spoken word nights and in support of other artists, which has been tremendous fun to do.

The teardrop’s back, at least for the moment.

The other thing is my followup album – you know, the tricky second one. I did promise my son that I’d write a happy album next and got a few songs into it before discovering… well, everything was so bloody vacuous. So I took the songs which I’d thrown to the wayside and they’ve become a new work provisionally titled Rainbow Heart. It’s a celebration of diversity encompassing the whole LGBTQ spectrum, and I’ve already signed up quite a few collaborations for it. If you want to listen to something in progress, I’ve made public a demo of Gender Babylon which I performed live at a gig the other weekend and went down reasonably well – it’s a true story, y’know.

So, I’m performing live quite frequently – trying new things, doing everything from the occasional open mic to a full gig with a big rig, swallowing my pride when things don’t go according to plan, and hauling flightcases all over the shop. Oh also, I did an interview with SnT mag. You need to scroll down for it past the blurb but they’ve not done a bad job. Read it here. G’wan.

One final honourable mention goes to my new stage piano, an ex-demo Korg SV1-88 affectionately known as Stevie (Wonder or Nicks? Nobody knows) and which has to be the best thing I’ve played in years – bit of a bugger to haul around though. And it’s got a valve – and as everyone knows, valves are cool.