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May: An Insider Report

+ a live video from our London show.

Good morning. You may notice today is not Sunday. This is the first time since starting my Substack 1.5 years ago that I am a day late in posting. But I have an excellent excuse!

On Friday we played our first live show since the before-times. Not only had we not been on stage since fucking Covid, but also my father was in hospital with fucking Covid. It was more serious than I care to get into here, suffice to say he is now out of ICU and on the mend, but you can imagine that perfecting our harmonies was not top of my agenda… A week ago I told him we might postpone the show, to which he shook his finger at me menacingly and said “Are you crazy?!”. The day before the show I brought a guitar to his hospital room for a practice run of my solo set. He was very disappointed that it was my old little Guild rather than the beautiful J-45 Gibson hooked us up with. His feedback on my songs was stellar: “Too short. Play it again!” “I remember that guy. He doesn’t deserve this song!” “Are you going to sing louder?” — turns out singing through a mask is a real workout.

Cherry on the cake, after almost 2 years of basically not sleeping at all, our toddler Milo started sleeping through the night. Only his night starts around 6.30pm and ends around 4am, at which points he wakes up proudly declaring “I am hungry!”. (Have you tried putting him to sleep later? Yes. Have you tried feeding him more— Yes, yes, we’ve tried everything.) JF and I practiced our duo set very very quietly each night, in the short space of time between Milo falling asleep and us falling asleep.

05.05 / 2023 / London / Lail fixing JF’s collar?

For the past few months I thought getting on stage again would be easy, a little trivial. A cinch, compared to what we’ve all been through. What’s a few songs after a global pandemic, various wars, climate disaster, IVF, emergency C-section, a father in hospital… But it didn’t quite work like that. For someone who has never really suffered from stage fright, I was very nervous. Being back on stage felt momentous. Essential. That being in the moment, the telling of stories, even those harmonies… Precious people in the same place at the same time, forgetting or ignoring or reflecting on their lives outside. Laughing, crying, sharing something real, tangible, imperfect…

A few years back I worked on a collection of interlinked short stories based around a concert. I think I may finally know how to finish it. Live music was taken away from us for so long — it’s increasingly unsustainable for musicians to tour at all — but I believe things will come a full circle. When AI rules the world it will be gigs and theatre and dancing that people value.

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What the hell am I talking about? Jeez Kabeez! My Foggy Notions are more Foggy than usual. Point being, these are my excuses for being a day late in posting. Plus I should not have had that second Negroni. That said, it’s a bank holiday Monday here in the UK thanks to something like Babar The King, so technically this is still the last day of the first weekend of the month…

Jazz hands + product placement. Thank you Gibson!

The video above is a souvenir for those who were there on Friday, and a little glimpse for everyone else. Having warbled on about the cathartic emotions of the performance I chose to share a light-hearted solo number with you. Some of you will remember it from an audio recording I posted here about a year ago. It’s called Everybody’s Hustling and is the song through which I met some of the lovely Substack team and wonderful fellow writers. (Here’s looking at you

) In the intro to the song you even hear me telling the audience about my Substack… everybody’s husting… welcome new subscribers!

And wishing you all a beautiful spring.

Lail x


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Thank you West Hampstead Arts Club. Time to go home…

articles & musings on life & music
Lail Arad