A dark world aches for a splash of the sun.

By their very nature, having problems is a problem. There has to be a solution to every one of those we have going on though, whether we realise it or not in that moment. Living life is a bit crazy sometimes, a bit shitty a lot of the time, fucking intolerable on occasion, even though you know intrinsically that you’re lucky to even be able to complain about it or them at all. Once you click , don’t you do what’s best to make things better for you, even if you can’t make them right? The sooner that you handle a problem, the better things work out is a common perception, but sometimes you just can’t face things.

Now and again, you just know that you need to take a break from everything you have going on because when you’re struggling to deal with your everyday scenery, all you want to do is run away. Drive until you run out of fuel, hire a motorcycle or camper van and see what stories you can experience from your escapades. Get on a bus, a plane, a train, just be somewhere different, not only geographically but also in your head. No matter how spectacular your view, if you see the same thing every day, it can grow stale. Depending on what you have going on, a solo trip ticks way more boxes than taking someone along for the ride, sometimes you just need to be alone with your thoughts, sometimes you just need to try and forget. Whatever it is, we all get the instinct to run sometimes, what’s wrong with disappearing like a magician’s rabbit when you need to? You find what works in terms of making you cope. Have a sore head? Aspirin should do the trick. That persistent cough that won’t go away? Cough syrup is a shout, although it won’t cure you, it’s just a temporary fix for your symptoms. When you’re hurting, you’d take a temporary fix, wouldn’t you? There’s nothing wrong with dropping off of the face of the earth for a while.

Maybe you just need to heal yourself, to restore life the way it should be.

A letter arrives but the handwriting on the envelope is unrecognisable. Inside, it’s typed, unsigned and once read, throws into question something that’s been the most important thing for nearly half of my life, it’s the emotional equivalent of a trip to an abbatoir. It’s maybe nothing, but it might be something. Outside the sky is clear, but there are storm clouds brewing. How many emotions can one person experience in a few seconds? Rage, heartache, anxiety, hatred, before rage again, something that should be an everyday dream is quickly becoming a nightmare. There are so many questions, but who likes questions without answers that don’t come. Until your head is straight, running your mouth without thought is never a good idea, sometimes you need to try and come to terms with things yourself first, and sometimes it’s what people don’t say that’s the most important. Trust has gone and vulnerability has popped up in it’s place, never nice for anyone to have to cope or deal with. It’s second nature to overthink things, paralysis by analysis almost. You’d be as well trying to grab a fistful of water when something floors you and you’re unable to keep your head right. There’s not enough oxygen in the world to make you feel better when you’re internally broken but are still trying to look okay on the outside.

Time for some metaphorical cough syrup.

Have you ever wanted to just rock up to an airport and get on the next available flight with no preconceived plans? What’s wrong with spending a night in one place, exploring and then heading to the airport to do it all again the next day? Travel can be a temporary fix, right? Amsterdam, Kos, London, the most overrated city in the world, but the rules are the rules. Bogotá, Washington DC follows, where next? Zero clue but that’s the beauty of this. Staring out of the window at the skyline searching for answers that won’t come is a bit of an emotional hangover. It feels good to stop hitting yourself in the head though, nothing positive comes from feeling like you’re sitting in a lifeboat in a sea of shit.

Running parallel to the Potomac brings realisation. The blackness is no longer quite as bad, it’s more of a grey now. My iPhone pings, a message arrives from an unknown number. ‘Did you get my letter, let’s talk if you want?’. Fuck, I’d like to tongue-bathe Anna Kendrick, so I guess we’re both going be disappointed. Why be anonymous in the first place?

You’ve fucked with me, so I’ll mess with you even worse once I figure out whatever the hell this is. You punch me, I’ll punch back way harder on any given weekday and all day on a Sunday. Just know that the same hammer that shatters glass forges steel.

The night comes, bourbon is poured and I listen to the sounds of the city whilst staring at the lights of the nation’s capital. Feet are put on imaginary brakes because it’s not time to go back and face whatever this is just yet.

It’s easy to look like someone who’s been worn down by the wind, but whilst you might not like the way your world works right now, you know that you’re not naive enough to think that you can change it all. Sometimes you just need to try though, if only for yourself. One more spoon of cough syrup.

@TheSamMcLeod

@YouMeMusicLife

When I was a cool kid..

As a fan of live music and music in general, I should really know better.

There have been a number of bands and artists that I’ve been to see recently that I’ve really enjoyed. I’m subscribed to various websites so that I can hear when and where my favourite musicians are touring. As soon as dates are announced for somewhere where said artists are playing that I can get to, I’m right on it.

That said, I’ve found myself recently thinking that I’ll just time my arrival at the gig/concert for whatever time the headline artist is due on. Not cool.

I’ve had to give myself a shake lately because I’m always interested in discovering good music and bands and this isn’t the attitude I had when I was a cool kid.

I loved the first album by Stereophonics, Word Gets Around. When I heard they were touring in Aberdeen in 1999, you can be damn sure I got tickets. I rocked up early because I was excited. The support band? I’d never heard of them at that time, they were a Canadian band called OurLadyPeace. They put on an amazing show, were very humble and I wanted to hear more of their stuff. I now have everything that they have ever released, they are one of my favourite bands, check them out.

I’ve been lucky enough to have visited New York more than once. I was there in September of 2010 and Marina & The Diamonds happened to be playing live. I like her stuff, she was just breaking through at the time and it was worth a couple of hours of my time. We bought tickets and because it was New York, we went along as soon as the doors opened.

Marina was amazing that night, good voice, good show and generally good fun. That said, she was massively upstaged by a band called Young The Giant.

They were outstanding but I had no idea who they were? It has to be said though, I absolutely loved their show, great night. Good tunes, outstanding musicians and clearly people who are passionate about their art. Common theme appearing, they are now one of my favourites.

When you go to your next concert or gig, think about arriving for the support act. You may well discover a new favourite.