Friday, 29 August 2014

a health lottery

So, here we are. Those of you who have tried to see a show of mine recently will probably have noticed they have one defining characteristic: I rarely actually make it. As much as I can write endless jolly blog posts about my health and cancellations and how sorry I am - I've recently had to say it so often that it's begun to sound disingenuous - it's about time we actually had a proper chat about it.

I am Not Very Well.

The long and short of it is I have a problem with my inner ear on one side or the other, leading to balance problems (I get to feel quite drunk, without spending any money on alcohol), nausea that not even ginger can shake and often hot flushes for that added menopausal feel. My hearing on one side can sometimes cut out, feel clogged, or generally be replaced by tinnitus. Add to this I can't walk for any great distance, be on my feet for longer than twenty-five minutes at any one time or be in a noisy environment for longer than a few minutes and the picture is more or less complete. Ben Marwood is a broken human being.

The interesting thing about the inner ear, and by interesting I do mean ridiculous, is that unlike when you hurt your arm it generally heals itself once you re-set it, once you damage your inner ear it'll never get better. Neat, eh? Instead, to recover, your brain has to re-learn how to read the brand new signals from your inner ear, restructured like the house on a home improvement show, only one where the Before was fine and the After is ruined.

How did this happen? What has attacked my beloved lughole? I don't really know. I was similarly ill in February, but I first knowingly went down with this at the end of May and start of June (Cardiff, Derby and Durham fell victim to my cancellation spree), but bounced back fairly quickly. It struck again in the first or second week of July, meaning I spent the day before and after my 2000Trees show curled tightly in a ball wondering what was happening to my body, and it's been downhill since then. I got signed off work, stayed with my parents for a while, and cancelled a fundraiser show in Reading whilst feeling like a dick.

I'm on some pretty neat medication which essentially dulls the signals from ear to brain and takes care of the nausea so as long as I don't stand up or do much in the way of activity I make a passable attempt at normal life, albeit the life of someone who has to work from home, is a bit lop-sided and has to avoid loud noises. For this reason I thought I might take a stab at doing the Cardiff show sitting down, with my monitors turned off and some earplugs in (no, no laughing, I'm being serious), but a meeting with the specialist this week finally put paid to my masterplan - in order to get better I need to restore the signals from ear to brain, and this involves coming off my great medication.

As someone who doesn't even like taking paracetamol, that's fine by me, but the last time I tried coming off this stuff and restore my natural state, it was particularly messy in a 'lie on the bed and cling on for dear life' kinda way. So, doing a show is out of the question as for the next few weeks I'll be staring into the mouth of the beast and, as with most rehab, forcing my body to do stupid things it desperately wants to not do. It's not all bad news though - I'm told that once I kick my habit (two to three weeks) and start my rehabilitation, I might see some improvement from two weeks onwards, which puts us right on the doorstep of my London and Birmingham shows four weeks from now. The chances of a recovery by then, although slim, are not none. I'll keep everyone posted where I can.

In the meantime I'm also being rewarded with an MRI. I'm hoping I get a sticker if I'm a really good boy in the machine and do everything the experts tell me to.

This has been a horrendous six or seven weeks which has affected a lot of people in my life, from the gigs and gig-goers to the people I work with in my day job who suddenly have had more work to deal with, and have done so without being anything other than supportive. It's affected me most, obviously. I was due to go into the studio at the start of October to work on new material which now won't be happening quite yet, I also got brave and booked myself a holiday to New York which is now up in the air (which just goes to show, time off just doesn't suit me), I've had to close the webshop until this is over and I feel like an idiot a lot of the time, not least when the specialist asked me to march on the spot with my eyes closed, and my ears rotated me to face a different direction entirely. The medical professionals tell you this signifies there is an imbalance in the inner ear. I will tell you I am just no good at marching.

But, rest easy. I assume this can't last forever and I'll be back one day. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the network of family and friends who check in with me regularly, some of them every day. I'm in the best possible hands, and it's worth mentioning that this healthcare is largely paid for by the day job that people are always telling me I shouldn't need.

So that's it for now. Thanks for the cards and the well-wishes, and I'll keep you updated on my next two shows when I can.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Cardiff is cancelled.. again

Due to continued poor health, I'm unable to play the show in Cardiff next Saturday, 6th of September.

I'll have more information for you on refunds when I know more myself, as well as a proper update on my health.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Here is the horizontal news

Hello blog!

This blog post is brought to you by the angle 90 degrees, because that is my general resting position at the minute. Eight weeks in and my labyrinthitis didn't have the courtesy to bugger off, plus I've been signed off work for the past week with one more week to go and all this together is making me slightly nervous that I've chosen to promote my rescheduled shows in the following manner:




But enough about me and the adventures of my inner ear, I'm here to tell you about two particular things that are either out now or about to be out soon.


Relive the Marwood/RSP tour in style with the RSP live EP!
This past February, my good buddies the Retrospective Soundtrack Players and I joined forces for a brief tour of the UK. One of the nights in question, at the fabulous Joiners Arms in Southampton, was committed to tape - or whatever you call it when the thing you're recording to is digital - including 'Singalong' performed full band in all its glory.

Full tracklisting is:

Send Me The Hell Back Home (live)
Real Cool Hand (live)
Smart Girls for Talking, Morons for Dancing (live)
Don't Let Me Disappear (live)
Singalong feat. Ben Marwood (live)

You can get the live EP from RSP's Bandcamp here


Also, Xtra Mile have a new compilation out on August 11th!
The fifth mile high compilation, Smokin', is due out on August 11th on all digital formats and features too many brilliant acts to list them here, but includes the likes of Jamie Lenman, Oxygen Thief, Franz Nicolay, Chris T-T, Mongol Horde and more. The theme is signed vs. unsigned, though I don't think anyone's actually going to fight. Instead, those on the active XMR roster were invited to bring an unsigned buddy along for the ride, and my choice is Quiet Quiet Band. Their debut album is done and out later in the year, but for now I invite you to pick up the compilation and check out their song 'Hunter's Moon'.

Here's what I said about them when they had a gun to my head:


"If I had to describe Quiet Quiet Band in one word, that word would probably be 'run'. Six people comprising one living, breathing beast, their claws twisted tightly around various murder ballads, Quiet Quiet Band's name is about as misleading as their intentions for your heart. Hunter's Moon is a stand-out example of what they can do – a tale of violence cutting from a driven, lyrically-defiant folk rock assault to twinkling percussion, handclaps and viola – the pretty conclusion to a dark opening typical of a band who, lyrically at least, can often be rewarding you with one hand whilst making a stabby-stabby motion with the other. These are some of my best friends. I have no idea how things turned out this way. Send help."

To find out all you need to know about the Xtra Mile compilation, there is a wealth of explanation right over here. Enjoy!

That's it for me, for now. I'm off to perfect my balance in the face of silly male despair.

Friday, 27 June 2014

aaaand we're back! rescheduled shows aplenty.

It's time!

After being laid up through illness and having to cancel Cardiff, Derby and Durham shows a few weeks ago (sorry again, etc), we've been hard at work rescheduling them for the autumn, with a couple of added extras. Here's the full and final list of upcoming shows for 2014.


10.07.14 2000Trees Festival nr Cheltenham
09.08.14 Reading Here Comes The Sun @ Rising Sun Arts Centre
06.09.14 Cardiff Moon Club
26.09.14 London The Monarch, Camden
27.09.14 Birmingham The Flapper
06.11.14 Derby Ryans Bar
07.11.14 Durham Old Cinema Launderette

For details on supports and ticket links, I'll be keeping the gigs page updated..

b.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Cardiff is cancelled (update: so are Derby and Durham)

A wise man once said, if Ben Marwood makes three blog posts within a week then life is either going very well or very badly.

Sadly, it's the latter. After fighting something off for three weeks, yesterday (Friday) I was finally put in my place by my stupid human body. With reduced voice, hearing, balance and dignity, it's physically impossible for me to do the show in Cardiff tonight.

I try not to use the word hate that often but I hate cancelling a show, and this is the first time I've had to do it since Cheltenham in 2009. The plan is to reschedule this show for a date later in the year, but in the meantime if you're heading down to Cardiff anyway, I recommend going to the Full Moon (downstairs at the Moon Club) where they will have an excellent gig, and after that, The Moon Club will be open late in the evening for Ultimate Power, the UK's best power ballads night. I'm not just saying that because that's what they'd have you believe, I'm saying it because I went to Ultimate Power after my show in Bristol three weeks ago and it. was. amazing.

I'll keep you posted. Apologies again. Now, a race against the calendar to be fit in time for Derby on Thursday.
xx

!!UPDATE!!
So, the being fit for Derby and Durham thing didn't quite work out. After a few days of recovery, I finally succumbed to Labyrinthitis late on Wednesday, leaving me literally unable to carry my guitar to the train station. I'll reschedule the Cardiff, Derby and Durham shows as soon as I can, hopefully for the autumn.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ctrl + Alt + Reading

An addendum to yesterday's post (as in, I'd have included it yesterday, but got excited and clicked Publish too early):

I recently had the chance to sit down have an email chat with Niall of Alt Reading which you can read here.

Topics covered include how I managed to escape the local pond, how a collection of excellent people prevented me from sobbing into glasses of lemonade at open mic nights forevermore and why the US and the UK are not the same place.

I encourage you to read it, at your leisure.
x

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The unfinal countdown

Everyone!

There you are. Where have you been hiding? I'm sat on my bed with a king-size cold, the second half of one which I caught on my birthday (yay, thanks!) which lasted for a week and then disappeared. Clearly it only comes out when I have to play a gig, since I had Bristol and Reading last time, and we're fast approaching shows in Cardiff, Derby and Durham this time.

As sure as eggs are eggs, I have just five shows to go before I shall depart to do something else for a while. When people ask me about it, I would like to say Ben Marwood Is Taking Time Off To Pursue Other Interests, but that sort of sounds like a code for Ben Marwood Has Been Fired From His Own Solo Project. Instead I'll probably introduce them to the 2014 Wish List.

Before the end of 2014, I, Ben Marwood, wish to:

1. watch every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation
2. expand my collection of really sharp rocks
3. test my new ground-to-air missile defence system
4. work on my biceps, triceps and pieceps

In reality, really, it's much more like:

5. the second album's been out for over a year now, and i have new songs i'd like to record, but i can't do that whilst i'm working and spending the weekends doing gigs, so we have to stop the gigs for a while.

Which isn't as exciting as saying stupid stuff like:

6. i'm taking a leave of absence to star in Game of Thrones as an invisible king that none of the cast ever interactive with.


Come and see my final three headline shows of 2014, if you dare:

Saturday 31st May - CARDIFF Moon Club
Thursday 5th June - DERBY Ryan's Bar
Friday 6th June - DURHAM Old Cinema Launderette


xx