“Canal Crash” is a brand new piece I recently released in a two-track single.
This piece is inspired by the time I fell off my bike and landed in the Canal. Yes, unbelievably, that is an actual thing that actually happened.
I was happily bumbling along a towpath by the side of the Regent’s Canal in East London, off on an epic bike ride which was to take me all around the Thames river, Canary Wharf and back. Suddenly a lady stepped out from behind a tree, which was a concealed entrance to a park. She had a dog with her and between them they completely blocked the path, so there was nowhere to go – either hit her, hit the dog, or try and swerve down the side of the bank and back up. Only there was no “back up”, I found myself heading straight for a canal barge.
I slammed on the brakes and catapulted myself over the handlebars. At this point, mid-air, upside down, I pretty much thought I was dead or would end up breaking every bone of my body as I headed toward the barge window. In what can only be described as a remarkable fluke, I actually ended up landing in the strip of water between the towpath and the boat, slamming my shoulder against the hull in the process. So I went from happy, dry and carefree to being completely submerged and soaked in the space of a second.
The water was pretty shallow, so I crawled out the best I could and just lay there for a while. At this point I still assumed I was probably mortally wounded, and a helicopter would have to airlift me out of there in some kind of complicated rescue mission. But, slowly but surely, I found my bearings, sat up and brushed myself down. I had managed to get away with scrapes, minor cuts and bruises. I had a very painful shoulder, and zero dignity left in me whatsoever.
I was completely disoriented, and now the lady (who was very kind) came up to me and asked if I was ok, saying that it was all her fault. I think she was a medical professional of some sort, as she felt around my arm and shoulder and said something like “Don’t worry, it’s not broken, you’ll be fine”.
I sat there a while longer, and started to realise how lucky I’d actually been. To not smash through the boat’s window. To not have fallen off ten metres further down the path where some large heavy chains were attached to a mooring post and could have decapitated me. To have been wearing my shorts with the zippy pockets so my keys and phone survived my acrobatics. To have not killed a person or a dog that day. That my bike was ok too. I swore a lot under my breath. I was in shock.
After a while I steadily got myself together. Just as I was about to leave, a stoner-style inhabitant of the boat appeared, blinking in the sunshine. She looked around in a haze, didn’t notice me, shrugged and returned back into the depths of the barge, blissfully unaware of the crazy that had just unfolded centimetres from where she’s been sitting. I managed to bike home.
Up to the present day now. I’m glad to say that after a course of physiotherapy, my shoulder is now totally fine. I’ll never forget that day, and I’m glad that I have now immortalised this story in the form of a composition for sax and electronics. Listen out for the bit where I fly into the water!
“Canal Crash” is out now as the second track on my recent single, alongside “Twinkly Tide”, a story about a trip to the seaside. I’ll save that one for another time…
You can pre-order my new album HERE