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Helgi spent the year 2012-13 working in York, first at Bar Lane Studios and later at the Golden Ball Cooperative Pub. With lots of spare time on his hands and few of his teenage friends left around, he taught some young musicians' workshops from the noisy tiled basement at Bar Lane. This was helpful in terms of self-reflection, as Helgi's go-to lyrical themes (fashion brands on the seats of trousers; being stuck in a recently renovated library) were a little at odds with the ideas and priorities of the young lads he was tutoring. The lads seemed to enjoy the sessions for the most part, and Helgi has recently seen some of them perform back in York and been favourably impressed. Also, the experience created a basis on which Helgi later devised the 'Random Song Generator', a flexible multimedia workshop where teenagers with no necessary musical experience produce lyrics and instrumentation for a pop song (featured in Oxford University's 'Splash' programme 2015 and 2016).
"The new Jake Thackray" - anon., 2007-8
Starting a weekly open mic session at the Golden Ball in June 2013, Helgi began performing again and slowly shifted his themes away from the light-hearted whimsy of 'Demerara', 'Branded Backsides', etc. and into the world of mainstream (read maudlin, self-indulgent) songwriting. It was at this time that he began to host songs such as 'Grey Matters' (Language is just a protocol, however comforting you find it / And you're not just a plastic doll: don't chase your tail around your mind) and 'Snoozing & Boozing' (Oh my days / I'm a master of lethargy and I can't get used to life's ways) on his newly acquired Soundcloud profile. Of course all this had to do with romantic (or would-be romantic) experiences at the time which can now be seen in a fuller perspective. In 2013 Helgi performed several times with female singers, the nature of the collaboration sometimes less than clear; now he views his songwriting as a primarily professional - though no less personal - pursuit.
Exactly how you'd think it would be twixt dreaming spires / the socialist inside me twitches and expires - 'Slum at the Randolph', 2014
From 2013-16, Helgi lived in Oxford and oscillated between feelings of great elation and banging his head against an elaborate sandstone wall. Officially studying for 40 hours a week (really studying for 20, worrying and stressing for 50+ and having hangovers the rest of the time) didn't leave much time for music. However, Helgi continued to write and performed a handful of times, sometimes backed by ad hoc bands (such as the short-lived Dr. Green's Very Special Occasion of February 2015, named after a bowl of soup). Songs from this time, such as 'Philosophy', 'Slum at the Randolph' and 'Being Original' now sound somewhat more teenage than what Helgi was writing when he actually was a teenager and stand as a sort of fossil record of quite an intense and difficult time.
In October 2016 Helgi moved to Manchester, where he has been trying out different combinations of the forbearance, laziness and neuroticism which have always seemed essential to being a gigging musician. Whilst keeping up on bass with Stockport alt rock band Demur, he is now writing, playing and planning further afield and ahead. Well-received appearances alongside Anne Müller's Solo Collective at the Anthony Burgess Foundation and Chris Tavener at the Old Pint Pot, Salford have encouraged him to take his writing and playing more seriously. What better excuse to put up 1000 words of spiel about oneself?...
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