CHILD OF THE HOLLOW WAY
The album, Child of the Hollow Way, has a narrative but the story doesn’t always belong to me. It's based on personal experience, albeit one that sometimes avoids reality and is a journey that has no start or end point – in fact, it’s going round again as I write. It is rooted in the collective unconscious that I believe binds us all. An oral history that has the words sometimes left unspoken. A shadow, a rustle, a dog bark, a murmur in the trees, a ripple in the water, a whisper in the grass or the sound of an mill engine in the distance.
It can be your story but it is also the story of those who have gone before – one they can give to you and one you can hold on to and preserve for those who come after. But remeber, it doesn’t just belong to you.
We all have the Child of the Hollow Way inside us – it can be the knowledge that you don’t have to meet someone to know them, go somewhere to have been there, or the ability to have lived a life without drawing a single breath. We just need to find the best way to let it out. It may come to you very quickly or, as in my case, it may take nearly a lifetime. It may be as music, or poetry, or painting, or photography – just close your eyes and let it develop, in whatever way feels right for you. It is an archetype, one of the ghosts within the machine, a collection of unconscious memories, messages hastily written on a wall or paving stone, meanings found between the pages of books or some notes that someone has whistled into the wind or sung into the ether.
For me, it was born out of an increasing understanding that I “belonged” within the back streets, mills and chimneys, abandoned tin mines, tumuli, packhorse bridges, derelict ground and wild places of East Lancashire – a realisation that I was part of the landscape, the trees and wildlife, the stone walls, the clouds, the smoke and steam, the curlew’s cry, and the people around me. It was a memory of my mother disappearing into the fog on the way to work, silver fish glinting in the hearth, the travelling fair arriving in the night, the cinder track, swans and ducks on the lake, my grandma’s labyrinthine cellar, the canal and the warthog skull in the attic – a realisation that I was so much more than just “me”: like one of those exotic, rarely seen sea creatures that is a collection of individuals but exists as one cohesive animal.
Some people may say that this is one for Pseud’s Corner in Private Eye: that I’m being enigmatic and obscure to create an effect or impress. If you’re one of them, I’m sorry, I can understand and accept your opinion, but you’re wrong. I can’t explain things properly because I don’t fully understand them myself and have to speak in feelings and images rather than facts and absolutes. Child of the Hollow Way is a stream of consciousness and so is this. To really understand its meaning, why not jump into the stream yourself and see where it takes you? If you can do that I’ve done my job.