Monday, 27 February 2012

Friends aren't all they're cracked up to be

I sometimes wonder how I managed to make such a success of my early life. Everything seemed to fall into place and despite the fact that my depression left me feeling empty and socially distant most of the time, the songs and the work kept coming. It didn’t seem to matter that an empty, pointless feeling was ever present in the pit of my stomach or that, when I did have bouts of euphoria they didn’t last very long and usually embodied horrendous drinking sessions that would almost kill me.

With youth came energy and with energy came success. Now I’m older I can see that. Most people living the life I had would have been on a permanent ego trip what with all the famous folk I have around me and the places I got invited to. But I never really understood that. That emotional ride was one I never managed to get on. Shame really.

I have spent most of the last six years thinking about my bipolar, about how it has ruined what could have been a pretty charmed life, how things have passed me by, and how now things don’t work out like they used to. Nowadays just living is pretty hard; coping with the way life kicks me (constantly) and trying to understand what I’ve done to deserve this type of lousy luck consumes my days. I sit and think, think and sit. It’s pretty crap to be honest.

But I think I understand everything better these days.

I don’t understand what love is – I know that for sure. Emotions have never featured much in my tool box but love just isn’t there. Oh I see other people who are in love, I can understand what they feel for each other and why they feel that way – I just don’t ever feel it myself. I was married for 19 years and before that I lived with two other people for 5 and 6 years. But it wasn’t love. It was contentment, getting used to things, not rocking the boat. And I didn’t rock the boat – they did – but I can see why they did. I left my wife but it was all over and done with long before I decided to walk. The others saved me the problem and left me, and I can’t blame them.

You see whilst I am successful and I do know lots of ‘famous’ folk as a result, I am a cold fish because of my depression. I don’t get phased, I don’t get star struck and I don’t really ever get excited or angry. Middling sort of guy I guess you’d say.

Now as I was saying, when I was young things just rolled along. I found writing songs really easy, got accepted for being good at it and also got some kind of buzz out of performing which I did around the globe. But you get older, the performing gets tedious and the catchphrases that are the catalyst to every pop song dry up. Suddenly you’re retired and you never realised that was going to happen. And of course the music industry is very cruel where retirement is concerned. You retire, the calls stop, the invitations dry up, you cease to exist.

I have two Ivor Novello Awards and a share in a Brit and an Oscar. Songs I’ve written have sold in excess of 100 million copies and if I wanted I could cover the walls of my flat with Gold and Platinum Discs – but I don’t of course; that just wouldn’t be me. But I had believed that I had made friends in the music bizz along the way; some of whom were in that famous category.

Now I think I was wrong. I didn’t make any friends only acquaintances and pretty edgy ones at that. One wrong word and the relationships are over, they move on, like it never really mattered. But it did matter to me.

Most people in my industry are very ‘surface’, everybody knows that so I’m not saying anything significant, but we all need proper friends don’t we? Well I have discovered that the ones I picked seem to have thought it was a surface thing, one cross word, one little ripple in the sand and they’re gone.

So I have realised I have only two real friends, and one of those is my ex-wife! I’m a bit down about this at the moment but I’ll figure it out don’t worry.  First thing I need to do is head for the other real friend I have and tell him I an grateful. Then I’ll plan from then.

Life can be cheap and mine seems utterly cheap at the moment.