Updated: Apr 8, 2020
The story behind the song.
So this was a song was born of a poem I'd written on a flight home from the Alps during the winter sometime in the mid 1990's. I can remember the view from the window of the plane, a sunset as we crossed the sky on the journey home, but i can't exactly remember where the journey was on the way home from, maybe Salzburg.
More often than not we would make most of our European journeys by car or van, and cover the vast distance over a 20 or so hour period or so, depending on which part of the Alps we were travelling to. However on occasion we would make the journey by air, either because we may have been travelling solo or perhaps for a specific event for which air travel may have been provided, or simply it was easier to make the journey that way if it was a tight window of opportunity to make the journey, or if we didn't have much time to spare. These were in the days way before Global Warming or Climate Change were such a high profile, not that we weren't environmentally conscious even at that time.
It was most likely during one of my last two seasons (ski) racing as I wasn't racing so much those particular seasons, and had sustained quite a serious ankle injury in my last but one season which meant i would fly out to meet my team mates, rather than drive alone. In particular my good friend and compadre Gareth, who's car i would often share for transport. I think i was flying back from Switzerland as i recall, and it may actually have been during my last season.
That season, a fellow British competitor, friend and teammate Kirsten, had sadly died. She had crashed during one of the training runs for a downhill race in Zauchensee, Altenmarkt in Austria. Downhill is the speed discipline where the athletes fly over jumps and often travel at speeds in excess of 70/80 miles per hour as they hurtle down the mountain picking the fastest line for the fastest time.
It is the most dangerous of the disciplines and on occasion would take someone from us as a consequence, Kirsten, sadly, was one of those who didn't make it.
It affected a lot of us greatly, and I'm sure it was a strong contributing factor to many of us on the British racing scene reconsidering our prospects that year, and some deciding to retire from our much loved sport at the end of that season. Not because of the danger so much, but more that it put things in perspective, as these things can do, and certainly for myself it made me weigh up what i was doing and what i wanted to do, and what my life priorities now were.
I'd had a good run of International ski racing, had had a significant amount of success at the level at which I had attained and throughout. In my career I had been a member of the British Ski Team, won various National championship titles, podiumed enough times to fill a rather large display cabinet with trophies, medal, and other memorabilia, and had had an amzing time, and great fun competing internationally represeting my country for nigh on 10 years. Realistically it would potentially be another 5 years worth of work and commitment to make it in the next level or the opportunity to be anywhere near the top of. Added to that were always the challenging difficulties of maintaining sponsors, finding new ones, and working to get the financial resources together neccessary to be able to continue to train and compete at that level anyway.
I wasn't from a particularly wealthy background, and so it meant any time not the slopes was spent getting the cash together to be able to afford to keep up the level of training required to compete at that level, whilst many of my friends at home were partying and having a good time. Added to that I'd recently learnt to play guitar and by now i'd been playing for a little while, writing songs and started to play in an, albeit makeshift band back home.
I had been skiing really well that season on and off, my consistency was being affected due to having missed quite a bit of training pre-season the summer before having not had much work that year. I still did well enough that season relatively, podiumed several times, and won my last race, the Scottish National Slalom Champs, an all-comers international race in Fort William, Scotland. With everything that had happened that season, I decided that was a good note to end on.
My music then took precedence.
The lyrics for this song are certainly reminiscent of that time period for me, and I think reflect my mood at the time. I'd also started exploring more spiritual elements of my life, no doubt as a consequence of the events earlier that season, and that also played a big part in my decision to leave the ski racing world.
I can't remember exactly when I wrote the music for the song but likely within a couple of years of then. As often happens with my writing style I will already have words scribed and when i would come up with an interesting riff or pattern on the guitar, I would put the two together, often synchronistically, and a / the song would be born.
This was one such song.
I didn't put this video together with the song until around 2016, when i came across some footage a good friend of mine Jesse had filmed of various scenes and views over Snowdonia. I asked if i could put it to my music. He'd actually shown me the footage sometime prior but i'd kind of forgotten about it a little bit to be honest, but anyway, now was as good a time as any.
I think it works well, and whilst the footage is of the Welsh mountains and Snowdonia rather than the Swiss Alps above which the lyrics were written, it does reflect that environment to some extent, and certainly emphasises our beautiful landscapes, and the longing within the song to want to come home. And who wouldn't.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy listening.
Purple Sun (Lyrics)
Kissed by the purple sun
The peaks of desire are all one / won
We're on our way home
Leave me I'm burning inside
We all share your pain, and we cry
So what if you have to be alone
To go it alone
Is to know to be shown
To come to and fro
Between our minds so
We can all see
The way it's meant to be
And let the sun come up again tonight
And everything will be out of sight
You know how i want to be in your arms
Track features Dominic Grzeskowiak on keys. And original footage (and shots) of Snowdonia by Jesse Wilkinson (https://www.jessewilkinson.co.uk)