I've had a bit of an idea...
When I was thinking about posting today's video I found myself wandering down a story-path that took me back to where it was written, the various parks that supplied the imagery and the people who influenced the lyrics and the atmosphere. And here I hit the usual difficulty - because I want very much to go into detail about the circumstances and the influences and the people I'm grateful to for being so powerfully present in my life and harbouring my art, but it seems dramatically unwise to call these people out by name or to go into too much real-life detail - songwriting is so personal and subjective and I don't believe any of the people I've written songs about know for sure that the songs are about them (not to assume that everyone would care, but I would if it were me!)
SO I've thought about using code words to build up pictures of the personae that have been formative for me and would help give some more context to the songs, and at first I thought about stealing some names randomly from some established pantheon - Greek, Turkish, Japanese perhaps - but then I thought, what do I actually care about? Trees! Why not use species of trees? This would let me build up pictures and interlink songs that relate to the same people, and maybe sneak some things into the Language of Trees and Sky blog too. My knowledge not being that distinct maybe we'll all learn a little something too hah. Perhaps I've been over-indulging lately in Robert MacFarlane's nature lexica. Personally, I love the idea of an imagined Forest of formative influences - it reminds me a little bit of Judy Dench's Love of Trees and this quote from her interview in the Guardian: 'Many of Dench’s friends are remembered in trees. “It’s something living that goes on,” she explains. “You don’t remember them and stop; you remember them and the memory goes on and gets more wonderful.”' And of course Tori Amos talks at length about her muses who seem to be very well-defined as individual characters.
I would love to know what you guys think of this. In the meantime here's the band version of Win or Lose, which appropriately has my favourite ever tree-themed bridge lyric as well as an appropriate dose of light imagery (it is a Beacon song after all):
Rob Anderson and I used to sing this song a bit although we never recorded it (the rest of the SumnerAnderson collection is here) - the last line of the last verse "I'll be your side-kick, if we ever get that far" always reminds me of singing this with him and of some hilarious side-kick-themed joke poster artwork he did for us - happy times.
I've been up in your branches, hanging down
I've been planting the magic in your ground
I've been the voice of illusion in your ear
I'll be the light that guides you
as you go on from here