Coming up on Saturday April 4th in Camden Town: an inspirational workshop for songwriters of all abilities. Taking place in North London’s beautiful and historic Cecil Sharp House, this is an all-day version of Tom’s legendary creative weekends at Bore Place House in Kent – offered as part of the PledgeMusic campaign for his first new album in almost 20 years.
Above: artists at Bore Place House in October 2012. L to R: Craig Higgins Jnr (Mutado Pintado), Ardie Collins (Cooper 365), Danni Nicholls, Orlando Seale (The Swell), Melissa James, Sue Brearley, Stu Rook (Lux Lisbon), Sarah Bleach (Velocette), Swami Baracus, Nayfe Slusjan (Valleyers), Tom Robinson, Vincent Burke.
A “workshop” is completely the wrong word to describe what’s we’re going to be doing in London this Easter Saturday. A workshop sounds dry, dull and rather like hard work. Also a bit suspect: John Peel’s waspish producer John Walters once advised young musicians to avoid anything described as a workshop that doesn’t involve the use of power tools.
Although I can’t possibly call it this on my PledgeMusic page, what we’re actually offering on April 4th is a Huge Great Big Fat Treat For Your Inner Songwriter. Most of the time, most songwriters do everything EXCEPT write songs. Real life gets in the way – the world of work, travel, chores, relationships, family, friends, gigs, rehreassals, business and band politics always takes precedence.
We’re offering a break from all that – 9 full hours in a beautiful historic building where you’ll do almost nothing BUT write songs, in a session based on the acclaimed Immersion Songwriting Method. In fact you’ll write more songs in those few packed hours than you ever dreamed possible, supported by a community of likeminded creative individuals.
Now it doesn’t matter whether you’re a beatmaker, pianist, composer, rapper, singer, poet, instrumentalist or traditional folkie strumming an acoustic guitar – for most of us, the idea of being part of a “community” sounds both naff and scary. Creative writers often tend to be solitary mavericks, and in any case community is such a weasel word (“community leaders”, “care in the community” etc) that most of us run a mile from the idea of joining one.
But if you think about it, community doesn’t acually mean a load of people all thinking, doing and saying the same thing and being “nice” to each other. In fact it’s almost exactly the opposite: community is usually a random bunch of people thrown together by circumstance with only one thing in common.
It’s the families who happpen to live on the same street as you. People who happen to be in your class at school, or who join the same choir / sports club / drama society as you. The motely assortment you end up working with – or find yourself on holiday with. It’s the very randomness and difference that makes a genuine community so stimulating – a place where new friendships can be made – and where creativity and change can flourish.
On these songwriting events my aim is always to create a safe space where writers of all abilities can lower their guard and take creative risks in the company of others. And by some mysterious process a random group of strangers – who met that morning for the first time – have somehow always ended up bonding into a tight-knit group who often stay in touch for months or even years afterwards. The picture above tells its own story.
A CREATIVE ADVENTURE
So what we’re really offering on April 4th is not so much a songwriting workshop as a creative adventure. A nine hour journey into uncharted territory – a magical mystery tour into the unknown. It’s a chance to turbocharge your writing, take massive risks in complete safety and end up with a bunch of songs that didn’t exist that morning. Not to mention the chance to help me make my first album for nearly 20 years. It’s a win-win situation!
The All-Day Songwriting Workshop takes place in Camden Town, London 9am-6pm on Saturday, April 4th and is available via pledgemusic.com/tomrobinson