Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…

Joni Mitchell

You’d think – well, I certainly did once – that for a musician to lose the use of his or her hands would be the end of the world. True, for a pro it would mean the loss of a source of income. I was never a pro. Semi-pro at most. As a self-employed man I made about the same amount of money each year from playing as I did from repairing violins. That is to say, not much.

Last gig ever- Stocai at Cecil Sharp House
October 2013

As a performer I played acoustic music on guitar, fiddle, mandolin and mandola. I sang, solo and in bands, and played for ceilidh dancing.
As a songwriter I have written and still write for community projects based mainly in Milton Keynes, and performed this material in the theatre, in concert and on the radio with the Living Archive Band.

Twenty years ago I fell down the rabbit hole of digital recording. I began to discover the joys of using sampled and modelled instruments and synths. I began creating music which could not easily be bracketed with the rest of my acoustic ‘folky’ output. I assigned this stuff to my alter ego, Dave Makins.

Thanks to MS I can’t play any more, or repair violins. I’ve sold off most of my instruments and my workshop tools. But – I’m surprised and grateful to find that it is not the end of the world. I can rely on Dave to create all the instrumentation for my songs. I just write the music, and sing if required. There is still music to write. When will there ever not be? And how lucky I am to live in an age where technology makes me able to write, compose and record without leaving my desk.

Here’s an instrumental we concocted recently: