Not to drop names, but I’m about to, Neil Peart (look him up) once told me that the song Limelight was his most personal lyric. Moving Pictures was Rush’s biggest album, Limelight one of the most recognisable songs from said album. It talked about the downside of fame – which Rush had a lot of at that time. Peart hated it, he hated being recognised, he hated people acting as if they knew him, when in fact they only knew his music and onstage persona. He now admits that he took it all a little too much to heart. I was thinking about this, hell, I was talking about this on a wet Monday in Hammersmith. I was being filmed for the Classic Albums series and they asked me about Limelight and I was suddenly backstage in Nashville again or was it in a rehearsal space in Toronto, both places had one thing in common, Neil’s ludicrous drum kit sitting in the corner, dominating the room. It sat on a riser in Toronto, I recognised that kit from the tour before and asked him if I could sit behind it. Sure, he said, he may furrow his brow with concentration when they play live, but he is both sweetness and light, pretty goofy too and he loves cigarettes and books, he’s easy to take to. I sat there and it was like being on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, the drums went on forever, it was a nonsense, I had no idea where to start or end. I tentatively tapped one of a hundred drums and Neil smiled up at me, the smoke from his cigarette curling around his head and reaching for the lofty ceiling. When I’d finished the interview he signed a book for me, wishing me good luck with my novel that was still unfinished and with no deal in sight and we shook hands on it.
On Wednesday I went to look at the venue where the book launch will take place, I’d love to tell you that Neil will be there, he won’t, Rush are making a new album, they’re a bit busy. It’s a nice bar, a roomful of history and two cats who pretty much have the run of the place. One came over to stare at me as I met the owner and he bought me a drink, the owner not the cat. It sounds foolish, but the cats calmed my nerves more about the publication and launch than a hundred reassuring words from friends could. I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not enjoying the home straight, I’m twitchy and desperate for a drink almost all the time. The agent has told me to enjoy it, but I’m not sure how I might do that. I’ve wanted to publish a novel since I was twelve and now I am and it feels a bit hollow if I’m honest. Not hollow, I don’t have a word for it, but I’m filled with unease instead of the light I’d imagined. It will be nice to be in a room filled with people I admire and like though, that I’m looking forward to.
In happier news, The Pineapple Thief album is great and not at all what I was expecting as is the Coheed and Cambria record, the Jesse Malins band album too. I might be going to Prague to talk to Killing Joke, I’ve spent a week writing about Australian vacuum cleaners, which was lucrative and oddly fun, I’m interviewing C&C (they’re politer than Rush and that’s saying something) and the Times Online are running an extract from the novel in the next few days, we’re expecting reviews soon. I might take to my bed with a bottle, but then it is almost the weekend. That’s normal, right?