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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Zen of Aaron Boone (A Major Label Story Part 2)

It's 20 past midnight and up and down the long, narrow island of Manhattan, there are countless people celebrating the victory of their pinstriped warriors, The New York Yankees. Right now I present a stark contrast to the bustling, crowded sports bars of the Upper West Side, sitting in my sister's old bedroom, covered in stuffed animals and flowered blankets, falling in and out of sleep while watching hour upon hour of streaming online movies courtesy of Netflix. I promised myself not to let this blog's fate match my last. But last time I sat down to write one of these things, the words came gushing out like a rusty faucet, dirty brown water not meant for drinking (I'm doing my best to clean it up for consumption like an artistic Brita filter). It's a tough pill to swallow, going from living the life of a UK chart-raiding acolyte to crashing back at your parents for the first time since college. But hey, those the brakes. What would the up be without the down, the left without the right? Just as in January 2007 I was spending 5 nights a week boozing and accumulating credit card debt in downtown NYC, I had no idea that in January 2008 I would be living in England signed to a major record label, or that in January 2009 I would still be living in England signed to another subsidiary of said major record label. Right now it's looking like January 2010 will provide yet another stark contrast. But you know what - I'm actually happy. And being happy is a weird thing for me.

I've been suffering from a strained voice these past few months, a blister developed on my chords back in July as a result of stress and poor health. It's the kind of weakness that cuts right to the core of my identity. But do not fear loyal concert goers, I'm well on the mend and will be in fighting shape for my December tour, thanks to various "New Age" practices I've adopted. I went to my first acupuncture session this week, and I've developed a serious Yoga habit over past months, guided in my stretching by some guy named Rodney Yee who wears too-short shorts and sits on a platform on a cliff overlooking a beach in some perfect place that cannot exist. In addition, I've completely cut all alcohol, coffee, carbonation, dairy, citrus, spicy and fried food from my diet (In case your wondering, yes I'm very boring to hang out with now. I take all my friends to drink tea in Starbucks). But it's the combination of these things, along with an hour's worth of vocal exercises a day (which sound unbelievably terrible), that's making me healthier, building my sound back up so it's richer and fuller, and I suspect better than ever before. My day is taken up by simple tasks - writing new music, rehearsing my new band, responding to emails from fans, figuring out my new very nerdy keyboard rig. And for the first time since I left New York for London two winters ago, I don't feel the pressure of a giant looming in the woods. I don't feel like I'm speeding toward a terrible crash, some poor diner on the Titanic feeling the chill of the Iceberg. And this new found simplicity is bringing a bounce back to my step, ink to my quill, happiness to my warm gun...

There's an easier way to say what I'm trying to say:

Everyone wants to be Derek Jeter. But there's only one Derek Jeter, and I'm not him. And if you asked me to choose between being A-Rod and Scott Brosuis, I'd pick Scott the man with the ugliest face every time. And every now and then, if you bide your time, tuck your head down, and get a bit of luck, you get to have a moment like Aaron Boone in the 2003 ALCS, where the world stops and watches in wonder.

The irony is I don't even like the Yankees. 1986 Mets still play the field in the dreams of my life.

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