Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Life Begins...

So, life begins today allegedly. We used to have a running joke in my band that I was different ages in different countries, depending on which press release the journalist was reading, or which record company was trying to persuade the world I was younger than my birth certificate stated.

Age was never an issue for me, and if I'm supposed to feel something momentous then I don't - I'm just happy as always to be here. When I say happy, I mean happy to be alive. What you take for granted when you're twenty you cling to at twice that age.

I've always subscribed to the view that energy and creativity are ageless, you just have to swim against the tides of fashion as you age, but that's familiar water to me. I'm pisces after all, I may not always be in the swim, but I'm always swimming, often with all my strength.

The last ten years have been an adventure, but so were the ten years before that and the two decades before them. Stick around long, enough good things happen. Bad too I guess, and I am luckier than many. I have seen things I never dreamed, and travelled the world, with the best of people, doing the thing I love more than anything. It has been a privilege, and one that I acknowledge every day, whilst working as hard as I can. And fishing sometimes, obviously.

Some songs are better than others, some albums hit the target, others fly wide, some gigs... well, you know what, all the gigs are great. At least from my point of view. I get to face the wrong way in a crowd and have my voice heard above all the others. Not a week goes by when I don't dream I'm on stage, just to be able to sing at the top of my lungs. When I take time away from the road a little bit of me loses it's shine. But it always comes back when I need it.

Forty is traditionally the age of contemplation, of assessing where we are. Mid life. Crisis and all. But my crises occur on a weekly basis, so whatever this life has got to offer in the next ten years, I hope to be here to at least witness it.

I wrote a verse to a song called "I ain't scared of lightning" a few years ago, which I sometimes sing live, it goes "I ain't scared of lightning, I'm just looking for the thrill, so come on God, give me your best shot, I swear that I'll stand still". Well, I lied. I won't stand still, I am way to restless for that.

So, no calming down - let's face it I was never going to make the Rock and Roll hall of fame - but also no surrender. I'm hard at work on what I think is the best record yet. I'm duty bound to say that, but surely that's the point. Our best day is today and our best work is whatever's next.

Thank you to all of you who sent birthday wishes, we have come a long way, but we're only just getting started. There are many adventures still to come. Perhaps life does begin today after all.

P.S This is me in the studio last week with some new band members, and taking the shot is Olli Cunningham. He'd like me to point that out. And you recognise the guy on the far left. Here's to you, my brothers in arms.


  1. Happy Birthday Tom! I've now realized I procrastinated too long on making something for the cool birthday webpage someone was putting together, but oh well! I'll celebrate by entertaining my whole lab to your music over the speakers today and having a drink or two as well...Cheers!

    Here's to you!

  2. There is something to learning how to sit down and have dinner with crisis.

    Happy Birthday to you.

    From the picture, it looks like you're celebrating well.

  3. Happy Birthday Tom.

    Mirror in February
    by Thomas Kinsella

    The day dawns, with scent of must and rain,
    Of opened soil, dark trees, dry bedroom air.
    Under the fading lamp, half dressed - my brain
    Idling on some compulsive fantasy -
    I towel my shaven jaw and stop, and stare,
    Riveted by a dark exhausted eye,
    A dry downturning mouth.

    It seems again that it is time to learn,
    In this untiring, crumbling place of growth
    To which, for the time being, I return.
    Now plainly in the mirror of my soul
    I read that I have looked my last on youth
    And little more; for they are not made whole
    That reach the age of Christ.

    Below my window the wakening trees,
    Hacked clean for better bearing, stand defaced
    Suffering their brute necessities;
    And how should the flesh not quail, that span for span
    Is mutilated more? In slow distaste
    I fold my towel with what grace I can,
    Not young, and not renewable, but man.

  4. Happy birthday Tom!!
    My best day is everyday I can hear your music.

  5. Who are you and what have you done with the always bitter, ever whining, about everything complaining Tom?

  6. Happy Birthday,Tom!
    Just for you, as you embark on a new beginning all my best wishes!

    That's a lovely photo.
    You look so happy.
    I could know new band members,I'm so happy!
    I look forward to a new record:-)

  7. Happy (belated) birthday, Tom! And I'm so happy to hear you're in the studio again. ^_^

  8. Happy Birthday Tom.

    May your shinning creativity continue to flow and may you (please please please for the love of god please) decide to put '50 miles down river' on your next record.

    'I don't dream' wouldn’t hurt either.

  9. keep on rocking (quietly) Tom. Bloody age-ness in the music business is ridiculous. If you can write a great song, who cares how old you are.

    Can't wait to hear the new album.

  10. Happy Birthday Tom! I'm French and it's the first time I post a comment, I just wanted to say that I love your music, your voice, your songs, everything about you. You’re my favourite singer-songwriter after Jeff Buckley. I had the chance to see you perform live and that was one of the best days in my life.
    Thanks for your music, keep going, even if you will probably never going to make the Rock and Roll hall of fame. I’m so glad you’re back in the studio.

  11. Happy birthday again! Enjoy this day and many days ahead.

    That picture makes me want to sing "This is a man's world, this is a man's world" but tell Olli it's a nice shot. And of course Oli K is just cool as usual, even when he doesn't wear black.

    I look forward to seeing them and the new band members on stage, with you.


  12. Happy birthday.Hope to see you all soon. Best wishes.

  13. Happy Birthday, Tom! Thank you for your beautiful music, it has meant a lot to me. Enjoy your day and hit the road soon, yeah? We miss you here in Norway :)

    Good luck with the new album, really looking forward to hear it!

  14. Jeff Buckley was awesome,but nothing compares to Tom :)
    I hope Alphabet Of Hurricanes will be on the new album. It's an old song,but still very lovely. Gives me goosebumps all the time.

  15. Happy Birthday,Tom!
    Don't EVER stop writing and singing your songs nor writing your amazing funny little commentaries about the state of the world, I would feel abandoned !!!!
    And, PLEASE, could you make it to Germany this year????
    So, all my best wishes and
    here's to you!

  16. Just looking at the time and your 40 and 1 day now.:-) Hope you had a wonderful birthday with family and friends.
    I can see why the media got confused with your age, theres not that many guys look as good as you do as a newbie midlifer:)
    Am liking the sound of "best record yet" If you say it, I believe it and cannot wait till I hear it:-)
    Great photo of you all!:-)

  17. Happy Birthday Tom,

    I guess I'm too late, but you've got my "card" on the webpage... and time in New Zealand is different anyway ;) keep celebrating, I am just half your age but, your music changed my life ;)



  18. Happy birthday Tom. Hélène & I thought hard about what kind of birthday whish we could send you on the website -- with no good result. So, just a happy belated birthday.

    We are eagerly waiting for the next album and for your next show in France. (Hélène says: bring Steve Reynolds with you!)

    You're great.

  19. Happy birthday, sunshine, please come to Norway soon, we miss you a lot over here!

    Love, Stella

  20. Happy birthday Tom!!!

    You are right. You are facing the wrong way during your shows, because we, your audience, get the best view. I can't wait to hear your best work yet!


  21. Happy 40th. May the next 40 years be equal parts amazing and boring, and be spent mostly on Belgian stages. Cheers.

  22. Happy birthday, Tom!

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your songs (yes, even the ones that fly wide), have seen you play live several times (with and without the Hotel Cafe tour), and wish you every success with the new album.

  23. good to see you guys are hard at work - all the best on your 40th tom

    p xxx

  24. Your 40?! Wow...congratulations on the boyish good looks.

    Enjoy the next 40!!

    Although, honestly, many people don't even live to 80. So you could have already passed the halfway mark long ago. Sad, I know.
    okay, well, bye!

  25. Happy belated birthday, Tom. Great to see you´re back in the studio! Here's hoping you don't try and make another commercially successful record like King Of Cards ha ha ha! But on the other hand - I'll buy it anyway!
    Oh, and yet another request for you to come to Germany!
    Good luck with the recording,

  26. Very happy, very belated birthday! Yay, you.

    Very excited about the new album...


Leave your comment, observations,screams of outrage here, and clothing and grooming tips.