Saturday marked exactly a year since I moved to Berlin, so I figured I should write an update of some sort.
On the 1st of August 2014, I hopped on a one way flight out of Heathrow, and was met in Berlin by two friends of mine, Sandra and Christina. Scared out of my mind and thoroughly excited, we jumped in a taxi, which took me to my new home in Schoneberg. New sights and new experiences awaited.
Having left a job to begin life as a freelance musician, the adventure was twofold. New country, new career direction. A year later and I’m beginning to get a hang of things in this strange new world. The first few months were spent living off my savings. I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in the local park, reading and soaking up sun. I had no clue as to how to tap into the vast musicians’ network that Berlin is home to. Especially being as horrendous at networking as I am! I went to a few meetup events and attended a particular event at a karaoke place. There I met a young lady who told me of her uncle who is a drummer here, and she could put us together. I chatted with him and he gave me a plethora of names of people to get in contact with. I messaged them all via facebook and a few responded. Once that was done, I joined this vast world of musicians based here. I performed every week at a club that was based in Charlottenburg, Jagger. Said club has since closed down. (Nothing to do with me, I promise!)
As an unknown name, I obviously performed for free. I had to return to the UK in Sept to sell the last of my things. My keyboard being the most precious. I do miss it dearly. Though, I will eventually get myself a new one. I didn’t get my first paid gig till November. Since then, I have been working regularly with a group of people, performing at birthday parties, weddings etc, travelling around Germany. I have also twice performed in St Petersburg, Russia. And now that I seem to be settled with regards to events to pay the bills etc, I can start looking at forming my own band and writing my own material once again. I have thoroughly missed creating and I look forward to getting back to it.
I have since moved from Schoneberg, I now live in Friedrichshain. An area in the east of Berlin, where I find soooooo many internationals, it’s amazing.
I would love to tell you that it’s been all smooth sailing, but it hasn’t. It has been the most challenging time of my life to date. I was unaware of how safe my previous life was until I moved here. i.e knowing that every month I will have an income to pay bills etc. I have in essence, gone off in business by myself. My product, me. It’s a strange new world that I am yet to get a handle of. But if there is anything my life to date has taught me, it’s that I can do whatever it is I wish to do. No matter how strange or beyond me it may seem at first, the instant I decide I want to do it, it becomes possible.
One year done. Let’s see what the next year has in store. I remain scared and excited! 😉
I was looking through my Dropbox folders, and came across this video. It’s one of the last rehearsals of the last song I wrote while still in the UK.
I have been so busy in Berlin with singing at events etc, I’ve not done much by way of writing. Though, if all goes according to plan, I will be able to rectify that within the next few months. Anyway, here’s the most up to date version of ‘On My Mind’
So, to combat the fact that I hadn’t written a poem in an age (last was in October), I went to a nearby park to sit, think and see if I can reconnect with myself. In the end, I was able to write:
Letter To A Friend
When I feel down,
As I have for the past few months.
I pick up the pad you gave me,
And I read the words you left me.
You have much faith in me,
These days I can’t see why.
I often feel like a failure to myself
As well as to my loved ones.
Especially around certain times of the year.
I often wish I could see,
What you see, when you look at me.
I would love to draw strength from that
And know that there is much,
Or at least a little to claim pride in.
I look ahead, to see.
To see what lies before me, and the path is not clear.
I feel tis a narrow road and I must clear a path for myself.
I look to my past. To previous thoughts and readings,
I am reminded that David often had cause to encourage himself.
I have trouble trying to draw parallels with him.
Even as I did when I was a man of faith.
I hear words from my favourite tv characters,
The Doctor, Merlin, Sherlock et al
Yet, I could not presume to place myself among such exalted company.
Though, if I would seek greatness, is it not their kin I must look to?
Can I not draw parallels here?
Is it too late to try?
Am I unworthy?
Who is worthy, if I cannot be?
All is in my hands.
But where do I turn?
I feel like a rudderless ship. Adrift in a storm.
With no idea which way is my North.
I look around to seek out answers.
In times gone past, I was told,
Look to the hills, as from there comes my help.
But I am no longer that man.
Those words no longer belong to me.
They belong to another.
I know not who.
Many moons ago, I was told of a destiny that was mine.
Is it no longer for me?
The underlying sadness I felt, even as a man of faith.
Remains, tears and claws at me.
The tenet I hold in hand.
Do what your hands find to do.
This I continue to do.
I am not comfortable.
And this is fine.
If I was, I wouldn’t fight, I wouldn’t try.
But I know not what I am supposed to do.
My strength has never been born of myself.
Ever was it born from others.
As much as I hated it,
It would appear I was never truly independent.
And much have I hated that.
You were the strength I never knew I needed.
In truth, I’m not even sure I wanted.
I fought you.
Because I fear that is all I know.
For good or ill, this has been my help.
Who do I fight?
Where is the iron to sharpen me?
And so I am lost.
I’m sure that in time, I will find my way.
It is me afterall.
In the meantime, I shall wait.
Try to find direction again.
I shall wait.
Unfortunately, it won’t be patiently.
Of late I’ve been thinking. In truth, I never seem to stop thinking. The thoughts lately are generally centered around dreams and having them come true, or otherwise. And the question is always ‘Do I Dare Dream?’
On my last day at Kingston International, as I was leaving the office, I said goodbye to a friend of mine. While doing so I confessed being rather afraid of the unknown next step. To which she responded “You’re not scared of anything”
Now, I’m thoroughly glad that I come across as fearless and full of confidence, even cocky to many I come across. To a friend that I trust, I have no qualms in confessing being daunted. I told her that I’d felt the same fear before many of my major life changes. I was quite afraid when I left my job and Vodafone on 05 to return to full time education. I was beyond scared when I stood for election to the post of President of the Kingston University Students’ Union, both times. And before leaving Kingston International, I was petrified. All that did not stop me from moving forward anyway. In truth, I hope it never stops me. I hope it continues to empower me. Every time I seek to take a step outside of that which I know to be me, there is fear. And the question is always ‘Do I Dare?’
I dare you to dream.
I dare you to believe.
I dare you to have faith.
I dare you to stand.
I dare you to sing.
I dare you to cry.
I dare you to scream.
I dare you to shout.
I dare you to take up arms.
I dare you to fight.
I dare you to speak up.
I dare you to stay silent.
I dare you to raise your hand.
I dare you to be counted.
I dare you to try.
I dare you to fail.
I dare you to challenge yourself.
I dare you to strive.
I dare you to fail.
I dare you to succeed.
I dare you to be true.
I dare you to be you.
I dare you against all odds.
I dare you to live!