Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I've had a dream since I was sixteen years old. It's a romantic dream where I walk across Europe with just a guitar and I stop at every town and I play the local Inn and they feed me and I sleep in a stable. And the next day I rise with the sun and keep on. And it's a never ending road, and there's fresh bread and butterflies and flowers in fields and old wooden doors and it's the movement that rewards me, the never ending horizon which inspires me. 

When I quit the band the dream died too. Fifteen years ago. I gave it up and chased the bucks and worked packing newspapers onto palletes which led to laying out newspapers which led to designing music magazines which led to my own magazine which led to a career in fucking advertising of all things. And I found myself surrounded by musicians but instead of inspiring me it only served to fuel my low self esteem. The thought that I could no longer do what they did. That I had nothing to offer. Jesus. That one night, years ago, at The Tote, when we did it one last time. And I had years of pent up stage aggression to vent, and the four of us drank shots before we played and the animal came out, fingers up, fuck you, scream and shout, twist it out. Oh man, that rush. Until the drive home, when I was told how I'd been a mess on stage, an embarrassment. And those words shut me down again. So the dream went back into hiding as I reached once more for a beer to silence the screaming voices within. 

Last year I picked up my guitar again and I was encouraged and I sat in my backyard and noodled and my heart was happy and my head was silent. I can't tell you what that means. To have a quiet head. That's the thing that kills me. Not the bipolar lows, not the feeling of inadequacy, not the helplessness of a country boy's heart trapped in a materialistic world - it's the never ending voices. The cacaphonic chorus of thought which never relents, that's the shit that drove me to the edge. Not knowing which voice was your own voice and which was the sound of terror, trouble, mischief, anger, jealousy, sadness. But with those six strings singing, oh baby, everything hushed. It all just faded. So I haven't stopped, and now I'm ready. 

In the past five days I've experienced first hand the power of a few kind words. I'm still somebody's hero, against all the odds, and you know, don't you, that you're now my hero too. My words are a channel to something greater. A helping hand to people who need it. I'm a good person, I'm a talent, I'm somebody. Im actually somebody. And I won't lie, ego or esteem or just broken, I fucking needed it. I needed it so bad and I got it, and if I could I'd tell you all the same things about yourselves so that you got it too. Fuck, there's even a magazine up here with a double page spread on me. Now that's just fucking hilarious. I'll show it to you sometime. 

And now it's back to the kitchen. Back to the bottom rung. And I don't know what's going to happen when I get there, if The Fear will return, or if This Fire will fight on in spite of all the trials which are still to come. I don't know. But I wanted to talk straight with you. I wanted to converse as people, a straight up post that doesn't hide behind cryptic prose with vertical and rhythmic limitations. Hello. It's me. Mathew James Barker. I almost left it all behind, but a little nylon string guitar and two True Friends saved my fucking life. 

So this is no longer Hell for me. This is

this is

this is The Way Out.

And it's all for you, me and everyone we know.


  1. I think sometimes dreams have to die. it's part of the process of us letting go to deeper values.

    something like that.

    this coming from one who has to live with the 'suits' to survive, never thought I would be there.

    so long as the real people are out there and I get to cross paths with them, and hear and see their beauty. that's enough to keep some part of me going in the right direction and not giving up altogether.

    luv ya Matty you crazy cat

  2. Mushrooms killed my rock star dreams 17 years ago. I thought we were great, we rehearsed and recorded and everything. We did our first live gig impromptu and I was so fugged on my first try of mushrooms (18y.o.) that I got unplugged by the rest of the band during the second song (I didn't even realise! I was sitting cross legged on the stage thinking I sounded fucking unreal). Soon afterwards the (fuckwit) singer got shoved through the drum kit by an angry "music lover". End of gig. Probably for the best. Sarah Sands Hotel, now an Irish joint. Like you, I never got over it.

  3. I think we hear things when we're ready and deal with them when we're able. I'm glad you got your two page spread, but I'm even more glad that you know you deserve it.