I was writing the screenplay for my first short film, which would feature two to four original songs, played by the protagonist’s band. I’d written some lyrics and was sketching out a tune when I realised that my songwriting is basically deeply embarrassing and that given how many actual musicans I know, there wasn’t really an excuse. I asked my ex, two of my housemates and (I think) a friend of a friend whose band we might see support My Vitriol in a couple of weeks, if they had any songs I could use, or could write me one. The riff from a song that my ex wrote years ago stayed in my head as the dream ended.
Same night. My art teacher hauled me up to talk about my paintings – she was annoyed that I wasn’t applying myself seriously enough, producing consistent work or looking after the pieces I had produced. She pointed out that one drawing, on a large sheet of cartridge paper, was torn. (There is some reality behind this. In sixth form, I’d roll up large pieces of paper on which I had my pastel drawings, and tuck them under my arm to carry them round the school grounds. My teacher was scandalised.)
She brought my attention to a number of box canvases, stacked up against one another, which had been painted over the last couple of years. “You see, these are beautiful,” she said. “But then you’ve got these, which just aren’t the same standard, are they?”
I was pretty impressed myself by the first few. Did I do those? I’m better than I remembered. I looked closer. There was another student’s signature on them. When I looked at the gauche watercolours I’d really produced, I could see that I hadn’t improved since I was sixteen.
Same night, small consolation. I was watching old recordings of our bollywood shows in years gone by, to see that much better dancers than me make mistakes, too.