Now this may sound like an awful attempt by the BBC to spice up one of its daytime TV shows by hiring a fresh, young and talented musician to present the show, but stick with me here because that it is not.
Following his Brit Award winning exploits with his first album Every Kingdom, his follow up second album I Forget Where We Were, has already been pre-ordered by the owners of many generic MP3 players and their fruity counterparts (including me). With an expected release date of October 20, its liberation is tantalisingly close and I for one cannot wait until the greyed-out list of tracks on my iPhone hit me with all their rural glory.
Growing up in Totnes, a rural town in South Devon, the artist pulls his material from the rustic setting of his youth. The lines ‘Hot sand on toes/Cold sand in sleeping bags’ are my favourite from the whole of his first album. The song is ‘Old Pine’ and sings of countryside adventures, conjuring vivid imagery of the thrill of adolescence by the beach.
I, like many outsiders teased into London by the allure of the fast-paced metropolitan lifestyle, occasionally miss home. Home for me is Northamptonshire, Rose of the Shires, and despite my belief that this hyperbolic title is a hugely untrue assessment of home, I still on occasion pine for it.
By the time I traverse the pools between my flat and work I am drenched. This causes me great discomfort, especially when Year Nine students mock me for having wet myself
Consequently, I moan about city living for the precise reasons that I moved here. The palpable static in the tube stations at rush hour, for example. I can remember as a child, endeavouring to the capital for school trips, or what they now term ‘learning excursions’. The buzz, the pace, the energy of the place was captivating. I would step onto the platform at St. Pancras and be swept away by the wave of it instantly. I was hooked. I am now, however, untethered yet trapped.
That’s where Ben comes in. With the price of train tickets constantly rising and many Londoners not owning cars, he can transport you to rural England for the £8.99 that you will pay for his album on iTunes.
I cycle to work nowadays and, since the implausibly hot and dry autumn that we have been having now seems to have come to an end, I get wet. The lack of mud guards on the road bike that I inherited from my father means that by the time I traverse the pools between my flat and work (c. five minutes), I am drenched. This causes me great discomfort and displeasure, especially when Year Nine students mock me for having wet myself.
Ben, in one song, the title track from his new album, had taken me home to the ‘green, green grass’ of rural Northamptonshire
However, the other day something magical happened. I put my helmet on, inserted my headphones and scrolled to I Forget Where We Were. Play.
I immediately no longer cared that I couldn’t afford a car in London. I no longer cared that it was Monday morning and I had work. I didn’t even care that my grey suit trousers that had just been freshly dry cleaned were now sodden and russet coloured.
I was happy.
Ben, in one song, the title track from his new album, had taken me home to the ‘green, green grass’ of rural Northamptonshire and the euphoria of that on the wet streets of London was worth the £8.99 alone.
Between now and 20th, I will occupy the edge of this seat, waiting to see if the rest of the album can live up to the supreme pleasure delivered by its title track