Glastonbury festival, H.H The Dalai Llama and the power of Patti Smith

Kiwi popsicle

I have just about recovered from Glastonbury Festival 2015, although part of me is wondering if I will ever be the same again. Its not just that I've been physically recovering for a week and a half (although I have) but at this years Glastonbury, for a brief moment, I felt I had a completely transcendental experience. Its not uncommon for me to feel extreme emotions at Glastonbury, I know I am not alone in this; the combination of fatigue, freedom and debauchery is enough to give anyone wild bouts of euphoria. This time however it was focused around a single pivotal event, and a life-changing set from Patti Smith.

I must mention at this point, that prior to her set, my knowledge of Patti Smith was entirely pedestrian. I was, of course, aware of her biggest hit, "because the night", but beyond that she occupied a space on that ever-growing

I Must Get Around To Listening To list that we all have somewhere in the back of our minds. Now I have to admit, that when Patti played on that sunday morning, I was already vulnerable, the fourth sunrise beddown in a row arguably left me succeptible to anyones charms, but I was certainly not prepared for what happened next. From the moment she walked on the stage, I was completely locked on to her. Ordinarily, not knowing an artists material I would struggle to pay attention throughout, but I couldnt stop watching her. After a couple of tracks she played a song I now know to be called "Beneath the Southern Cross" (if you havent heard it, here's a link to the performance I'm talking about) . That video actually cuts off the beggining of her performance where she dedicates this song to LIFE. I was teary at the dedication, by the outro where she screams "people raise your arms..." I was having a full-fledged MELTDOWN. Overflowing with joy and sadness, bursting with love for my friends who all had their arms around me, I suddenly realised that for all my practicing the guitar, piano, songwriting, singing, performing, the years of training I had already put in, I still had only scratched the surface of what is possible through music. More than that, I realised in a way that I had never understood before that the words and the chords and the players dont matter, all that matters is that the song should be a conduit for something REAL. By the time the Dalai Llama came out for a special birthday dedication, I was quite literally having a religious experience at the church of Patti Smith. All too soon, it was over and life went on, the festival finished and we dragged our broken bodies home, but for me something was changed.

Once I got back to Brighton, I began listening to Patti's records and literally this morning I was struck by inspiration. Listening to the album version of "Beneath the Southern Cross" I started thinking about the way I had felt at that moment suring her set and all of a sudden, I started writing a song. First came the words:

I failed to see

All that I am

have ever been

I failed to see

I failed to see

lost and driven

far away

I lunged


and Grasped nothing

I chased the dawn

reached for the sun

and found a coin perspective trick

ran the tip of

one outstretched finger

around the rim

it tumbled down

but landed where

I failed to see

I know the truth

both faces face the sky

I would love to say that I wanted the words to reflect the way I have persued technical ability when I should have been fighting for every scrap of poetic truth I could, but like many songs, this one came out whole and almost automatically. I have spent the whole of today arranging music for it, and if you like you can listen to it here.

In the spirit of punk rock, I have decided to perform this track live for the first and potentially only time at the Whiskey for the Wounded show this friday 10th July at sticky mikes frog bar, so if you enjoy the track and would like to hear it, please come to the show!

Thanks for reading,


Whiskey for the Wounded

#pattismith #glastonburyfestival #WFTW #whiskeyforthewounded

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