Thank you for your kind words. I find them very encouraging because, every now and then, my songs draw the disdain of certain people who believe the way I represent women in my songs is reductive and objectifying and somehow an insult to the notion of womanhood. I think at heart they may feel a discomfort at the undue interest I pay to women in my songs - and to give the devil his due, women are indeed a singular obsession.
The truth is I have very little understanding of women at all, they remain deep mysteries containing multitudes - and this is exactly why I enjoy writing about them. It is their feral energy and their seemingly limitless capacity for wonder that for me, is their underlying attraction, both on the page and off. Twenty years on and I am still trying to define Susie, my wife, in a song, but it’s a losing battle. I have come to see that there is a wild and mercurial energy within her that my words will never contain, and that this bright energy is connected to her own singular and restless fascination with the world. It has little to do with me.
As to the recent cultural sea changes affecting women, I feel that they are in danger of eroding those bright edges of personhood, and grinding them down into monotonous identity politics - where some women have traded in their inherent wildness and sense of awe, for a one size fits all protestation against a uniform concept of maleness which I’m not sure I recognise.
Whatever happened between us , it saddens me that something of our individual nature has disappeared into the divide, our unique voices are being worn down and everyone is communicating within the safe and strident anti wonder of grievance politics.
As to whether this cultural sea change would make me more cautious with what I write, well, I’m not sure. It feels like time itself serves as a sort of corrective and there are lyrics I wrote back then which I simply wouldn’t write now, just as my younger self would probably look at what I wrote now and roll his crazed and bloodshot eyes in scorn. I would hope that the general shift in my lyrics is towards compassion that is human by nature, rather than tribal.