The day before The Life Equation came out, we were in Bournemouth. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Bournemouth. It was a beautiful day. I awoke in my own bed, with my own woman, and stepped into my own shower. She made us hash browns and eggs, and I showed her how to make the pages that make-up an album post. I finished the end of the We Are Not Alone video, and set it to render, bid my beautiful angel a fond farewell, then Damien and Jack and I set off into the great unknown that was The Second Leg of The Tour The Tour.
Days stop meaning the same thing they do at home when you’re on tour, and someone had to tell me it was Sunday, to explain the eerie calm that blanketed the beautiful seaside town of Bournemouth as we tore into town, scattering seagulls in our merry wake. I must have seen less than a dozen people in my first hour there. We ate falafel in a café opposite the venue while the brothers that ran the place engaged in full blown war, and some girls who were at the Winchester show came over and showed us an excellent drawing one of them had done of Lars, Science, Chris and I.
We have met so many excellent individuals on this trip so far.
In Wimbledon, we had walked onstage to 170 people, amped up and ready to party, many of whom knew all the words and were insistent on moshing, despite having broken legs and what have you. Tonight, we walked down some creaky wooden stairs into a small room with seven people in it, (including my brother Alex an his heavily pregnant fiancé) the stage of which could be seen from upstairs on a soundless flat screen, so I got someone to throw a bottle at my head, threw myself to the ground, and demanded those present pretend to kick the crap out of me, so the people upstairs would see it on the flat screen and come downstairs.
Which, of course, they did. And we taught them to sing Thanks For All The AIDS, which they did, with gusto, and I took a phone call from my Mum and got them to say “HI MUM”, which they did, with gusto, and we did BOOM and Jack remembered 77% of his words and we did Living In The Future with Lars and he remembered 92% of his words which was the best ratio yet, and once we were done the room was packed and everybody was having a smashing time, which meant we had DONE OUR JOBS, and we were proud of ourselves.
We’d already lost David, who had a prior engagement in London at the Pirates Of The Caribbean premier or something, and Damien was having to leave us to go and look after his poor ailing cat, so we had no idea how we were going to get to Exeter. Then my Mum rang and offered to take the day off of work to drive us, as a birthday present. What LUCKY MUD, I thought.
Chris held it down like always. Science kept getting electric shocks off the mike, but persevered and triumphed over the thing. He gets better every day. Jersey John too. He is probably the best rap drummer I have ever come across. One man and a click track for over an hour, and he never misses a beat. Meanwhile Lars gave his best performance yet. My respect for that boy grows daily. He is motherfucking Pro Feshun ALL, but when he goes off script, at the behest of some enthusiastic audience member, he is even better. We did Falling Apart together and the place went off. He did an impromptu freestyle and the place went off, back in, and off again.
Jack and I got back to the Travelodge at 12:00. My album was out, and it was my birthday. I felt very clam. Jack and I had a walk along the clifftops overlooking the ocean, remarking upon our good fortune and burning a joint a friend gave me at Wimbedon. We then returned to our lodgings, where Jack went to sleep, and I sat up getting the various website posts I have to make when I release something together. Charlotte had helped me a great deal by doing most of the individual track ages. Charlotte always helps me, and always has. I am so lucky.
By 4am or so, I had finished, so I put my jacket on, and walked out of the hotel. It was a beautiful night. There was a full moon, or close. It reflected in the sea, lighting up the whole bay. I walked down the cliff side, along the famous Bournemouth zig zag, for the ten minutes or so it took to get to the beach. The waves cracked and roared, as they fled the shore, and I followed them until the sand was were wet, and the trainers I bought for £15 in Swindon were wet, and I stood in the sea in the night and looked out into its vastness and felt a great peace, and gratitude, and grace.
I stood there for a while. I never stop. So I stopped.
5 years it took to get to this point. 5 years plus all the ones that came before. So much joy, so much pain, and now, as the record me and Stephen put all our love and care and heart and skill into finally started to bleed out into the world, I was standing in the sea under a full moon, with the waves crashing around me, in a town I’d never been to, and I was happy.
I didn’t decide I would write THE LIFE EQUATION in massive letters in the sand. I just found that I was doing it, dragging my new shoe in the sand like a prosthetic limb, up and down the shore. By the time I’d finished, the sun was coming out. I think the tide was thinking about coming back in. I looked behind me, and a small audience had gathered, up on the cliffs. I didn’t wave, but I smiled at them. I walked the length of my handiwork, and found it to be Good.
By the time I got back up the cliff, the tide was lapping at the letters, and the sand was mixing with the water. By the time I finally found sleep, the letters were of the water, sand and dirt mingling with the ocean.
And so was born The Life Equation.