My epiphony

A morning view from Little Solsbury Hill, Bath. | Photographer: Artur Lesniak/ | Date: 28/10/2015 | Copyright: Artur Lesniak/Local World

In 1983, having made the tough choice to leave the band Genesis and pursue a solo career, Peter Gabriel wrote the song “Solsbury Hill”. I’ve played it for many years and still like it very much, though I have to admit I never really understood the story behind the song until very recently.

With the band on the verge of taking a giant step onto a global stage, Gabriel decided to walk a different path and parted company. Solsbury Hill was penned as a result of a soul-searching experience on top of the hill and would become his debut single – but it wasn’t until I heard Daryl Braithwaite’s cover (ex “Sherbet”) in a live concert at the QPAC Concert Hall that I really got on board.

The song has a very special, very significant meaning for me; which I think parallels what Gabriel must have been experiencing at the time.

Though it was very late in life when I started writing, when I finally began typing it all came out in a massive rush. With no plan, no plot and only a blank page in front of me, GOTH, all 500 pages, was done and dusted in around 10 weeks and I had absolutely no control over the process. I would have given up several times, had it not been for the support of good friends Lance and Jacky. God only knows what I put them through during that time… I hope they have forgiven me!

Anyway, in line with the song; at that point I saw the light and I knew something very big had happened to me – time stood still as I wrote… the eagle had flown out of the night and had taken me away. A few… a trusted and precious few, said I had hold of something that just had to be pursued. I didn’t believe them, but I started my second book less than a week later and trusted my imagination…

Without any warning whatsoever, I found myself at a junction. My writing was clumsy, even immature, but my head kept coming up with idea after idea. Meanwhile, I had a business to run and bills to pay. Every day there was a constant barrage of advice from nay-saying friends, whose counsel was to stop this writing nonsense and get a real job. I had to think about the company I kept and sadly, had to cut some ties. I wanted to do this… had to do this. Writing gave me a freedom I had never experienced before in my life; yet, all the time, as I sought to get my stories out to a wider audience, I lived with the absolute knowledge that if I became successful as an author I would be trapped again in the very machinery I run from.

Today, though I may not be exactly where I want to be, I continue to smile at people who are free with their good advice; because although I’m not there yet, I can see where I am aiming for. The rest is just trekking the right course…

The YouTube link is here:

Turn up the volume and enjoy – the lyrics are as follows:

Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing, stretching every nerve
I had to listen had no choice
I did not believe the information
I just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom, boom, boom
Son, he said, grab your things I’ve come to take you home

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Though my life was in a rut
Till I thought of what I’d say
And which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom, boom, boom
Son, he said, grab your things I’ve come to take you home

When illusion spin her net
I’m never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
So I will show another me
Today I don’t need a replacement
I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom, boom, boom
Hey, I said, you can keep my things they’ve come to take me home

gg… over and out 😉


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