How to Be Unique

I gave a talk at the Global Speakers Summit in Noordwijk in the Netherlands in April entitled, ‘Unique’. It was essentially about finding out who you are by looking at what you’ve always done. Below is 12 minute edited version. I discussed my realisation that what I do now with my work is exactly what I was doing when I was last given the choice, when I was aged 7 to 15. To find out what and how, you’ll have to watch the film.

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Pipedream – the song I wrote in my sleep

This is one of my favourite songs that I’ve written. My subconscious wrote it. Many songwriters have described how their songs were ‘transmitted’ to them and all they had to do was write them down. Sometimes they had to leap out of bed to catch the tune that played in their head before it was lost.

This has happened to me quite a few times, the first and greatest was this song, Pipedream. I awoke in the night with the song fully formed, with music, lyrics and title complete. I jumped out of bed and played and sang it on the guitar as quickly as possible. It shows that creativity is something that can happen in your sleep and that you should always keep a notebook or some recording device to hand as you never know when inspiration may spark a wonderful idea.

Paul McCartney said that about the creation of ‘Yesterday’, (which became the most recorded song ever). In early 1965 he woke with a melody in his head. It was so powerful that he was sure it must be an old jazz tune. He played it to a few people, but no-one knew it. At that time he didn’t have the words, and as it was breakfast time it came out as “Scrambled eggs… oh how I love your legs…”.

He later worked out the real lyrics and the song was released on the Help! LP in the UK and as a No.1 single in the US. (At the time the Beatles found the song too sentimental to release as a single in the UK). Paul McCartney nearly always wrote about other people in his songs, unlike John Lennon who nearly always wrote about his own feelings.

It wasn’t until 1995 that Paul realised, while compiling the Beatles Anthology that his 1965 song about the loss of a lover was actually about the very real loss of his own mother a few years earlier from cancer. Have a listen to the song again with this context in mind and you’ll hear a pain coming directly from Paul’s unconscious that he wasn’t aware when he wrote it.

Pipedream became my second music promo from the 50 minute film ‘Ayd & Jase – The Visitation’. Filmed on cine Super8 in August 1991 in and around Odiham and Hook in Hampshire by John Bloor. Like ‘The World Turns All Around’ it was featured on ITV’s ‘Freescreen’ programme in 1992. The song was written and recorded that same month, again with me playing all the instruments.

See the Pipedream video on YouTube here.

Pipedream became a live favourite and I perform it to this day. There are other recorded versions (some with mandolin instead of harpsichord) but this is still the definitive. Perhaps in 2021 I’ll suddenly realise what it was really about…

You can see the other song from the film, The World Turns All Around, here

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The World Turns All Around – my first music promo

In 1991 my friends and I made a film called ‘The Visitation’. It was 50mins long. We wrote a script, hired a camera (they were too expensive to own in those days) and filmed it over three days. I recently got the footage digitally transcribed and am re-editing it.

The story was a unique comedy drama about aliens coming to Earth and take the form of me and and my mate – with amusing consequences. It was interspersed with ‘pop videos’ of our latest songs. Here’s one of them, The World Turns All Around.

Filmed on cine super8 in August 1991 in fields near Oakley, Basingstoke town centre and Hook with camera work by John Bloor. You can see a clip of the futuristic mirrored ‘Churchill’ building in the centre of Basingstoke with the fire damage from the massive fire earlier that year.

The laser effects are where John scratched the film and added coloured ink. John shot all the footage and then edited it together by hand, with scissors! We knew we needed five minutes of footage and just about had enough. There was no way we cold sync up the pictures to the music accurately, but it ended up fitting pretty well.

The song was recorded by me in the same month, written in July, and was featured on my 3rd LP ‘Between the Worlds’. The original edit of the video was featured in the Ayd & Jase comedy Sci-Fi film ‘The Visitation’ and was also broadcast on ITV’s ‘Freescreen’ programme in 1992 along with my other song and cinefilm ‘Pipedream’ recorded and filmed at the same time. My band Dreamweaver re-recorded the song (with a faster tempo) in 1997 as the title track of our debut CD EP and it remains one of my favourite songs.

Hope you like it. You can see another song from the film here and once the main film is edited you’ll be able to see that in all its glory too.

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