• Mark Mathews

2020. Move on now. You've had your fun.

Well...that was, er, a weird one, huh?!

I don't think I need to talk to anyone on the planet to confirm the insanity of this past year! I don't even think Jeff Bezos, who made an extra ninety trillion, or whatever, from Amazon orders, would want 2020 to repeat all over again. It was certainly a weird one.

From Australia burning, COVID arriving, California then deciding to burn, more shootings and civil unrest in the States, Trump being impeached, Trump losing the Presidency but not accepting that reality, and EVERYTHING else in between, it has been one messed up year!

I myself caught COVID at the start of March before it was all the craze and became mainstream, which was fucking awful. And still now in December I am feeling the after-effects of the virus, being classed as a 'Long-Hauler' and suffering with bouts of a clouded mind, loss of memory, extreme exhaustion, and body aches.

Cheers COVID you absolute C**T!

I know of people that didn't make it, my brother was in the hospital on a ventilator (he's made a full recovery, thankfully) and yet we had the likes of Ian Brown and that bell-end, Laurence Fox acting as if they had intelligent scientific minds that could tell people not to lockdown, not to wear masks and all that other shite, that ordinarily, no one would have paid any attention too. But this is 2020, baby, so any sense of normality goes out the window leaving us with not only a deadly pandemic to deal with but also the absolute numb-skulls crying about their 'rights' as if they actually grasped and understood what they were talking about.

'Weird' and 'frustrating' are a couple of words that could sum the past twelve months up quite succinctly.

Alas, I don't want to hark on about all the bad stuff that happened because there is more than enough out there to get stuck in to! Instead, I want to focus a lot more on what has been achieved and taken from 2020.

For a start, can you remember the first time that everyone in the UK clapped for the NHS?! Can you recall that beautiful feeling? Take a moment to remember, a whole country united for once, the warmth it brought into your life. I remember feeling very emosh about it all and it did show that we are not all that dissimilar and we can all come together. It may not have lasted long, but we saw a glimpse of it. It is there. It exists in us all and that is a beautiful thing.

There was also a well-needed break for Mother Nature, with waters cleaning up, air pollution going down, and we were able to watch, in real-time, as the environment quickly cleaned itself up. It showed us that old, Mrs. Nature, can bounce back pretty damn quickly and it should be something that we take note of and perhaps move towards in 2021.

Shitting on our own doorstep has really got to stop...

...Although that last sentence was not meant literally. If you do happen to be shitting on your own doorstep, then you probably should stop doing that too. #justsaying.

On a personal note, looking back the year has been a blessing of reflections. It's not been easy, make no mistake. There have been a lot of hardships, loneliness, and difficulties that I've had to go through this year. I was perhaps not too Zen about them during the time, but looking back I see a bit clearer as to what this year has given me and what it has meant.

I stopped drinking on 1st January 2020 and have not touched a drop since, aiming to do a full 12 months (at least) without the booze. Not only was this good for my health, but it gave me more time to face up too and deal with things that needed to be addressed. Normally, the snooze would work as a numbing agent to anything tough or tricky going on within me. It would give me that safe, squishy space to be in where I didn't need to give a fuck about anything. The problem though was that the issue remained when I sobered up. The booze never dealt with anything.

So, I was afforded a clarity that I then started focusing in on myself: My body through running 4 times a week, doing yoga every single day, and walking as much as possible in nature. I started to respect my body a lot more and appreciate not only what it has done for me, but also how I have treated it pretty unfairly for many years.

The space that this year allowed me, worked to mentally connect with things that otherwise would get pushed to the back of the mind because, well, life is happening and there's work, gigs, parties, and all the rest of it going on. I meditated twice a day, I began to write (I wrote 30,000 pages of a book, believe it or not! I stopped because I realised it was shit!) and follow other creative pursuits and through that, I started to write, record, and self-produce new music, which built my confidence in the studio.

I'm about a third of the way through a brand new album, which currently I am seeing coming out sometime next year (though I've learned not to rely on plans too much anymore!) and I wrote countless songs. It was a very cathartic exercise to have this musical fountain that sprung countless songs, working as a conduit for all the feelings and thoughts that were going on within me.

I filmed some of these, raw, unedited works as they came to me for a couple of YouTube series: Sudden Sounds and Lockdown Lullabies. It was a really freeing process, of not finessing the tunes or even being sure if they were any good, instead, if a song arrived I would quickly film it and go back to it later. Some haven't quite made the grade, but there are some that will be on the album or have been worked up to be a song to be performed live in 2021.

Lockdown also showed me that I should be eternally grateful for the ability to be able to record music. The fact that I have my studio, giving me the ability to make music anytime was such a godsend and pretty much all I did every day. it gave me a focus and a purpose to my days, which otherwise I wouldn't have had. There is only so much Netflix after all.

So not only did I do work on the new album and some corporate work, but I also managed to write, record, and self-produce a double A-Side Single, (Vampires Whisper/Be Careful What You Wish For) that went down so well and was probably my fastest streamed songs of all time!

So if you streamed it, thank you a million times over! This boosted my confidence in my producing abilities.

So there really was a lot to be thankful for this year. I don't mean that in an insensitive way if you or anyone you know have had an awful time of it, because I am aware that there have been dark times: I've been through a few myself this year! But 2020 has really sent me a clear message: When you find yourself in the darkness, you really need to search for the little specks of light that are there, and soon enough they'll be enough light to see your way out of it.

That said though...

2020. Move on now. You've had your fun.

Onwards and upwards, kids!!! Loads of love to you all and here's to a successful 2021, we deserve it!

Hey, do you know one of the best things you could do for me and my music is to follow me on Spotify?! Click HERE and give me a lovely follow and if you fancy adding some of my tracks to a playlist of yours, even better! xxxx

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