Week 17 – ‘Buttons’
by Frank Hamilton
I know showering is more efficient (in terms of time and cleanliness) but I do enjoy a good bath. The bathtub is a place for calm and a place for reflection. I also like to watch ‘catch-up TV’ on my laptop.
Yesterday evening I ran the bath and scoured the internet for something easy to watch. Simon Amstell doing stand up appeared on the screen. The choice was made.
I spent the best part of half an hour giggling to myself before the final credits rolled and I started thinking… There’s this wonderful moment where he talks about us humans – and how we spend our time pondering the past or worrying about the future as opposed to living in the here and now. It isn’t rocket science and it’s certainly nothing new but it all made a lot of sense.
I’ve been guilty of living anywhere but the present recently – so much so that week 17 has totally passed me by. After returning from Middlesborough and playing a few London shows I finally started gathering my thoughts on Wednesday evening… but it wasn’t long until my friend Jonny (from last week) turned up and we went on a man date before staying up writing songs until the wee small hours.
The plan was to wake up on Thursday and start week 17 there and then but like most of my plans it failed. I found myself working on the song me and Jonny had written the night before (a lovely little festive tune) and It was only at 4pm (when I could procrastinate no longer) that I finally sat down and decided what I was going to do for week 17.
I haven’t had much time for writing in the last couple of weeks – what with touring and a million other things – so it was nice to sit down and play around with an old song. ‘Buttons’ used to be called ‘Public Transport’ – and it was very different to the version you’re hearing today.
Some songs come together in a few minutes and some fall into place over the space of months and years – this is one of them.
It was written (initially, at least) about an ex who I’ve already mentioned (in week 2). Enough said.
Recording wise it’s back to basics. Last week I was above a pub in Manchester with prime choice of 8 guitar amps, 5 guitars, a dozen or so microphones, a wurlitzer (and so on) and this week I’m back in my London flat with a laptop, a guitar, a keyboard and one microphone.
This has led me to the conclusion that I need some stuff:
- Drums (at the very least a snare drum). This week I resorted to hitting an empty tub of hair product that I’d filled with drawing pins. It’s no way to live.
- A guitar amp. Logic (the program I use to record) has lots of fake ones but it’s not the same. The neighbours would also appreciate it (or not).
- A decent microphone. My little Apogee One is serving me very well for the £150 it cost – but it won’t last forever and it’s certainly no Neumann.
You’ll be pleased to know this isn’t one of those awful ‘pledge music’ appeals for help with a new studio (speaking of which did you see the Daniel Beddingfield one? CRINGE)… I was just letting you know that this weeks recording was never going to sound as shiny and wonderful as last weeks.
While we’re on the subject of charity (let’s be honest, I am one)… If you’re desperate to donate your hard earned cash to help me upgrade the #onesongaweek studio then you can – but such donations are only accepted in the form of you buying the songs and actually enjoying them.
It’s just awkward otherwise.
“You sew my buttons back on”.
It’s no lie – she really did sew my buttons back on. In more ways than one.
I’m about to get ready and go to Cambridge for the last show of this little April tour. Man on the Moon – onstage at 9:30. Hope to see some of you there x