Off the Beaten Track


• Sunday 18th September 2016 •

This week (12th-17th September) I was lucky enough to attend an Arvon songwriting course at their Lumb Bank Ted Hughes Centre in Heptonstall. The tutors were the unstoppable Kathryn Williams and Samantha Parton from the The Be Good Tanyas. The participants were open, interesting companions and great writers. The place was breathtaking but calming, rugged yet comfy. The staff were so helpful and gave us the freedom to be ourselves.

Here are my musings from the train journey home:

Hard to explain what happened this week without descending into platitudes and clichés. A family began to form before we had even realised it. Everyone was open and ready to trust, share, be kind. Noone expected anyone to be anything other than him/herself. We knitted a kind of safety and sank into it. Wine laughter tears flowed. Songs were sculpted and then danced in front of us. There was a level of curiosity and attentiveness that made sharing and performance inevitable, even outside of the assigned tasks. Sing-alongs, spontaneous harmonies, passing guitars around so much that you forget which one is yours. Matching hair, matching voices, palimpsests of handwriting. Rays of sunlight flooded into recesses of the brain that had long lay dormant. We adopted the building and the landscape. We danced in the kitchen. We fell into the mud and climbed back out again.

I can’t wait to share some of the new songs and tell you more about the musicians I met. More photos to follow too I hope!

Read more about Arvon here:

The tutors: