Hindsites

 Photo by  Jen Squires  

Photo by Jen Squires 

The Story:

Several Februarys ago, I was an unemployed full-time busker in a city whose skies hadn't stopped raining in over a month, and the very recent sudden death of one of my best friends was still occupying my every thought. I was lonely. I was broke. And I hadn't seen the sun in what felt like an eternity. l don't know why it is that the mind tends to seek comfort in memories, but for whatever reason, on this particularly gloomy February day, I found myself holed up in the bedroom of the shared house I was living in... sprawled out on the bed just dwelling on the fact that the love-type relationship I had been in with someone the year prior was no longer. I'd close my eyes and try to take myself back to a time that didn't suck so much, and in that fleeting instant, it was was comforting.

In hindsight its easy to look at the situation and brush it off as a formative dry spell, but in the moment I felt powerless. Maybe it was because of all of the Valentine's Day crap everywhere, or maybe I was just having a bad day, but I kept wondering if maybe I had done things differently, tried a bit harder to keep that love alive, then maybe we would still be together. I SERIOUSLY thought that I had lost the "love of my life" and that I was doomed to be alone forever.

[For clarity: I realize now how ridiculous that was, as I only ever found true happiness when I stopped looking for it in other people and found it in myself. ALSO - I haven't spoken to this gal in years and am currently very happily married to someone else. haha.]

But anyways, in that moment, I sat up, grabbed my guitar, and quickly wrote a song about it. I went downstairs and played it for my roommates, and they liked it, so I decided I would occasionally bust it out during my busking sets in the hopes of some pity tips. (jk. Sort of.)

THE TWIST: Later that spring, I was busking on Granville Island in Vancouver and decided to play the song. I started telling the back story, and a pretty lady sat down on the bench beside me. She listened, smiled, and walked up to my case and took my very last business card. She ended up emailing me that night to say that she loved my voice and that she thought the girl from the song had made the mistake. AND LO AND BEHOLD, that email exchange spiralled wildly out of control and I ended up moving to Ottawa and marrying the pretty lady from the bench the following summer. Crazy right?

So this is an older song of mine that was nearly retired, however the pretty lady from the bench told me it is still one of her favourites, so we decided it was a keeper and put it on the record, which will be coming out real soon!

In the meantime, here's a live video that we shot in the studio during the making of my debut full length record "Restless", thanks to the masterful skills of Jim Bryson / Fixed Hinge Recording and Jeff Watkins.

 

You can now buy / stream the album version of this song on iTunes/Apple Music and Spotify

 

Love always,

 

Mark

 

Around the bend, to the next blue sky.

 Left: July 2006. Calcutta, India. Age 18. 134 lbs. Photo credit: Rosie Boggis  Right: July 2017. Vancouver, BC. Age 29. 180 lbs. Photo credit: my mom. 

Left: July 2006. Calcutta, India. Age 18. 134 lbs. Photo credit: Rosie Boggis

Right: July 2017. Vancouver, BC. Age 29. 180 lbs. Photo credit: my mom. 

[Listening to: The Next Blue Sky - Joel and Bill Plaskett]

Some things never change, I guess. On the left is an 18 year-old me in Calcutta about to board a long-haul train ride south to Hyderabad. On the right is 29 year old me, about to board a 4-day train from Vancouver to Toronto. Taken almost 11 years apart to the day, its funny how seemingly everything has changed, yet there are some essential pieces of my self that have somehow endured through it all. Maybe its just a coincidence, but even the idea that the desire for adventure has lived on as a major part of my adult self is really comforting for someone who feels existentially lost often. I have a tendency to get reflective, and sometimes in my mental wanderings I am reminded that nearly every awesome thing that has ever happened in my life can be traced back to some deliberate choice to hit the eject button from my comfort zone and wing it. 

And in that vein, I write this from a cafe in my new hometown of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This move marks the most recent phase of adventurehood for us (myself, my wife, and our sassy two year-old). Now, admittedly, my personal conception of “home” has become a bit skewed over the past decade or so. Home is no longer a physical place for me - now its just a feeling. It’s the feeling I get when landing in Vancouver and smelling the ocean air. It’s getting to know an audience of would-be strangers and leaving the gig feeling closer to each one. It’s giggling at something knowing only my sister on the other side of the country would find it as funny as I do, and suddenly feeling like we’re in the same room. It’s seeing the big dipper from my bedroom window and realizing that we’re all more connected than we realize. And it’s knowing that my family loves me unconditionally, despite my quirks, whims, and unstable moods. Home lives in our senses, I think. It’s not a tangible home, but it’s a nice home, and I’m happy to live in it. And life really is beautiful. I feel really lucky. 

I realize it has been a long while (again) since my last update, but there has been so much going on and I feared I wouldn’t be able to do it coherently without being outrageously wordy. This has a been a pretty crazy year of excitement and change, and even though it may have been unsettling at times, the path still feels right and the days are never boring. I’m starting to think that life can be characterized more accurately by its setbacks than by its gifts. 

Was it John Lennon who said that life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans? (Yes. Confirmed. I just googled it so you don’t have to. Excellent. Wise words, Mr Lennon.)

Anyways here’s a point-form update:

  • my debut full length record is being mixed at this very moment: In the months leading up to the move to Nova Scotia, the great Jim Bryson and I worked out of his private studio in Sittsville (ON) at building up a collection of my songs. I’m really excited to share these tunes with you all. We were both juggling with our own respective tour dates, personal lives, creative brains, and other commitments, but I’m really happy we managed to finish all of the tracking in Ottawa and can’t imagine a more appropriate way to wrap up my time there. 
  • Amateur lumberjack status: Our new home is 100% wood-heated. I’ve been using a chainsaw and a splitting axe nearly every day, and I feel really cool about it. I wear chaps three days a week now, and that has to count for something. 
  • In the time since moving to Nova Scotia a month ago, I have already left on music-related business twice. Once to the FMO Conference in Toronto, and the other to Nova Scotia Music Week in Truro. Both were awesome and filled my heart with musical joy and I feel particularly excited to be based on the east coast now. 
  • The summer was jam-packed with shows across Canada, many private event and wedding gigs, recording recording recording, family adventures, packing packing packing, writing writing writing, moving moving moving, and a renewed sense of childhood wonder as I get to explore a new part of this country and, as a result, a new part of my self. 

Anyways, I just wanted to give a little update. I’ll have some new things and news to share very soon! In the meantime, I should probably finish unpacking and get the studio set up again. Until then, please know that I thinking about you constantly and you’re sexy. 

Love always,

Mark