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Concrete Wall

Mirrors - The stories behind the songs

Hi Everyone! Welcome to my first Blog post – feel free to make any comments you like.

I woke up this morning with the mother of all headaches. Dragging myself out of bed I walked to the window, wondering how on earth I could crank myself up for the day. As I drew back the blinds, I had a strange premonition that despite my malaise it was in fact going to be a good day. The sun was just peeping over the horizon, casting a carpet of sparkling diamonds across the turquoise sea, like Paradise bubbling up from the deep. How could my headache survive such a blessing! Normally my energy slumps towards zero in the mornings, from lingering symptoms of the chronic fatigue syndrome that plagued me in the nineties and noughties, but today something was afoot in my soul. I walked out on the patio for my morning cuddle with Galaxy and Mittens, my feline muses, the most vocal and tactile little beings you could ever imagine. Mittens is now a “stroke-aholic’ having survived PTSD from a traumatic kittenhood.

”Hey kitties whats up? Can you help me with my Blog? ”Loud chorus of Miaows!

Mittens and Galaxy

The time is always now

I had been thinking about starting a Blog on my website for some time but have continually put it off until “the right time”. Yet as I gazed out upon the expanding carpet of jewelled sunlight acrosss the water I thought: “Who or what is going to determine the right time?” When is anything the “right time” except when we choose it to be?” We have no idea if we have even one more moment to savour the miraculous gift of life beyond this one. I thought of all the people waking up today on our planet who have no idea that this day will be their last. Today could be mine. A line from my song “ Night Theme” from “Water Bearer” says- “ And you have just one moment more before the night takes you! Don’t be afraid, there is nowhere you can fall but the power of the Earth will hold you.

So I thought I would use my songs as a springboard for taking a journey through the years of my life and share with you some of the background stories that gave birth to the music and certainly my debut single “Mirrors” from 1978 has an unusual story to tell.

The song was in fact an “afterthought” to my debut album “Water-Bearer” released in the autumn of 1978 and was not included on the first vinyl pressing. My record company wanted a single to promote the album and suggested I go home for the weekend and try and come up with one. It was September 1978 and I was staying at “The Beacon”, my brother Mike’s hilltop home in Kington Hereforshire and the first golden colours of autumn were beginning to glow on the distant Brecon hills of Hergest Ridge.

I used to love long solitary drives (still do) and it turned out that the song was destined to be composed as a result of a random mood change just as I arrived at Membury service station on the M4 motorway on my way home from London. The first draft was scribbled on a napkin and stuffed into my handbag. This was the song that would change my life forever,although not in the way I could ever have foreseen; I often marvel at the fact that so many major events in life are triggered by small random occurances. The tiniest movement of a pebble can set a major landslide in motion, the slightest turn of the tiny ‘trim-tab” on the hull of an great ocean liner can change its course by hundreds of miles.

I had been feeling miserable that Autumn day, having just been let down by an expected phone call that never came and in fact started to cry with pent-up frustration. I often use emotions to make sounds that express and release pent up feelings, (although not in anyone’s earshot!) and a sound-proof car is a great place for such creative therapy. As I did so, tears of misery began to roll down my face until, out of the blue, as if by some magical alchemy, a strange Hawaiian- sounding chant began to emerge from my voice – “Kiele- Aloha!”.- which means both Hello and Goodbye in Hawaiian. Slowly the emotion in my voice began to metamorphose into a feeling of optimism. I thought “Hey! Maybe he will call later!”

I have never been to Hawaii and have no conscious connection to that beautiful island, but just the sound of the words created the joyful melody to go with it. The chorus melody is based around one of the brass instrumental themes of “Water Bearer” and as soon as I got home I created a demo, playing glockenspiel, guitars and keyboards and it just made me want to dance in the firelight of that Autumn night. The record company liked it and within a couple of weeks I was recording the master with only two other musicians – Herbie Flowers on double bass and Frank Ricotti on percussion. I produced it myself at the Roundhouse Studios in north London and within a few short weeks I was standing on the terrace of The Beacon gazing out over the morning mist on the hills when the phone rang: ‘Hey Sally! “ Mirrors” is Radio One’s Record of the Week!”

By the way... he DID call later that day when I arrived home after that magical motorway drive!

1 Comment

Sep 12, 2023

Seems like you were a good listener of the inner voice, no wonder ”the muses” streamed a lot of good vibes through You. Your wonderfull music enlightened my youth too and now I understood why. Thanks for your sharing. /Søren

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