Holes will always take me back to my time in Bath .
I used to love going to Bath - a beautiful and historic town in Somerset which turns out to be an amazing place for busking .
It was so good , that there used to be a meeting held early each morning outside of the roman abbey for all of the street performers who wanted to perform that day .
we used to draw straws to decide who got the best busking spots and times .
It was a great and very diplomatic system and was such a refreshing change to the usual “fist come , first served” chaos .
The romans would have been proud I’m sure ….
I had a great set up there . I would arrive on a Friday , busk over the wk end and then play a free gig on the Sunday night at the hostel that I was staying at in exchange for a room and a few pints . It feels like somebody else’s life now ….
I did very well in Bath - sometimes drawing crowds of hundreds . I remember one time calling my manager in an excited state asking if he could send as many cd’s as he could as I’d run out within the first hour .
It really was a wonderful feeling to gather a crowd like that and knowing that so many people were walking away with a new awareness of my music and a cd that they might play to their friends and family .
looking back , although it sometimes felt insignificant when it was happening - I believe the totting up of these moments were what created the platform for my entire career .
Anyway , somedays , when the busking had been particularly fruitful , I would encourage the audience to give their money to the big issue sellers instead of me . I got to know a few of them and had a really good rap-pour with one in particular .
I remember sitting and smoking cigarettes with him in the late afternoons when the crowds would thin out . He was a really lovely and gentle soul . He told me about everything that had happened to him and why he’d ended up on the streets . the first verse of holes was based on his story .
There was something about playing in the street that would encourage these moments . people , of all walks of life , would come up and share their stories with me after listening to a few of my songs . It always felt like some kind of vulnerability exchange . They’d listen to my songs and stories and in return would feel a desire to share theirs with me …. A few songs over the years (travelling alone , David etc) have been inspired by such moments .
I don’t remember who the woman in the second verse was . She may have been hypothetical in truth , but I guess there are enough people who would share her unfortunate circumstances .
The song is about resilience . About getting up and carrying on even when life is shitty and unfair - which it will be at times .
For all of us , things happen that are beyond our control and as ever it’s how we respond in these moments that really shape the lives we live and ultimately who we are .
Its a magical song to sing at gigs and has been the final track of pretty much every setlist since it was written .
The singalong section at the end is so joyful . A celebration of the pain and suffering that we all have to feel as humans at sometime or another .
There is a real catharsis to the repletion of it and feeling it building in to a barnstorming curtain closer .
I love how it brings everyone in the room so close together one last time before we all go our separate ways - that group of strangers never to stand and sing together ever again , a unique event that has come and gone . A beautiful moment in time .