Here To Stay

As the year draws to a close, before it reaches it’s last gasp, it seems so over, so redundant, so, well, last year.

Although the moment we turn from the old to the new is arbitrary in cosmic terms, in our human psyche it is key.

It is rebirth, a casting off of all that has gone before, a chance for us as a species to redeem ourselves and resolve to be better.


I feel it keenly.

The week of Christmas to New Year has been tough before, but this time was particularly stultifying.

Strapped for cash after practically a year of no work I thought to end it all on New Years Day.

I was going to take myself to a nearby park and as the sun receded, or rather as the pale grey day gave way to night, would shuffle off.


However on New Years Eve I enjoyed a particularly joyful day with old friends, doing what I love most, making music.

Upon returning to my little room I felt invigorated.

Nothing in my financial position had changed, indeed it was a little worse in that I'd spent the last few pounds I had on public transportation to and from south London.

Against all odds I decided that I wanted to live.


Six months ago I was in a similar position, in the late autumn of twenty twelve after a full year of touring with the group M83.

Confident the year would lead to more work I took the plunge and moved from New York, my home for the previous decade, to Los Angeles.

By the following June due to severe unemployment I could not make the rent so was going to take myself to Topanga National Park and be gone.

At the eleventh hour a friend sent a one way ticket to London.


I arrived at her house in a state of shock.

After a few weeks I found by chance a room at a house in North Finchley, owned and occupied by someone I knew twenty years previously and, with not unsubstantial financial assistance from friends, began to heal.


I had been meditating twice daily for over a year, invaluable.

There was though one thing that this time gave me the strength to pull myself up.



A friend in New York emailed me to say she had a friend in London, an old and very dear friend, who was and is a cognitive therapist, and she had agreed to see me for six sessions, free of charge.

I thought thanks, but no.

My friend was trying to help me the best way she could, and I was grateful, but felt I didn’t need it.


A couple of years ago I went through in some detail the truly shitty hand I was dealt as a child in my autobiography A Day Trip To Beijing, so felt therapy would be like going over old ground.

I decided however to let the idea simmer for a while in the back of my mind and after a week of being back in London, the place of my birth, I was struggling so took up the kind offer.


The first time we met I was apprehensive.

Though having read much by Adam Phillips and Susie Orbach and appreciating their insights I have never had therapy of any kind and was a little skeptical, thinking I would keep close to my chest and see what she had to say.

I immediately liked her, trusted her implicitly, and blurted everything out in an hour.

She looked exhausted.

I left and went to the restroom down the hall.

I closed and locked the door, put my bag on the floor, fell back against the wall and cried for a good ten minutes.


When I was going to take myself up to Topanga I felt ready to go.

I had achieved so much, becoming the woman deep down I knew I was, making it to LA, making my peace with everyone including myself, having found the inner light through meditation and yoga.

It felt an apposite time to bow out.


Now I had set into a depression.

Work for which I need my US green card, still not with me after 6 months, seemed doomed.

I could see no way out and so for the most prosaic of reasons was chuffing off, spluttering out, an ignominious death, cold and alone, wretched, in a wintry park in North Finchley.

Not a good epitaph.


Then I remembered what the the therapist had lead me to believe, that I have a future.


The feeling of newness that always strikes me as we head into January was powerful enough to get me this far into 2014.

Now it's February and while it can be the harshest of months it means spring is not far behind.

Flowers will bloom, bees will buzz, birds will nest, the world will explode in colour and scent.


I woke up this morning and for the first time in a long time suicide was not on my mind.

I had a plan.

I am giving notice at my room, it is time.

I am going on tour in the US with The Knife, green card or not.

I am coming back with some of the things I left behind.

I am finding a new place to live that is mine, a home.

It is in London.


There is so much to do, in music, performance, radio.

I have love and joy to spread.

My friends are many and they are here with me.

My atoms are excited.

I’m here to stay.


It’s a beautiful day.