Stepping into the flow

Here is a river. Wide of scope and long in the journey. Its skittish introduction, the leap and fall of its daring youth, the meandering, graceful curves of its calm maturity and the wide depths of memory as it meets the saltwater kiss of the sea. But, and here’s the thing; we can never see it all.

On the surface, the river may seem benign, a placid canvas for smiling day trippers, muscled rowers, solitary fishermen; wild swimmers. Don’t be fooled. Currents drift. Eddies swirl. Tides rip, pull and rotate, and languid secrets shelter in the depths or shoot upwards at inopportune moments to lay harsh truths before the sun. Oh, the stories it could tell.

They began as The Miracle Mile, then became Miracle Mile. Latterly, Jones and Marcus Cliffe. If the reductive nature of this chronological naming convention suggests the key protagonists in our drama have moved away from a sense of ‘togetherness’, you’d be mistaken. What started as a gigging band in a previous century evolved into a brains trust that almost certainly finish each other’s sentences, and if, occasionally, they wander down tributaries of their own, Trevor Jones and Marcus Cliffe are never far from rejoining the water.

East of peculiar, West of despair, South of familiar, North of a prayerCan I Start Again Please? - Glow

This is a river they navigate with love, kindness and craft. It’s a journey rich with all the hallmarks of classic pop. A light touch on the tiller with the wisdom to leave space others fill with unnecessary noise. Lyrics that not only come from the heart but go straight to yours. Melodies that haunt you hours after the song has finished, burnished excellence you can sit on the cultivated banks of and swoon over. The combination exhibits an intelligence only found in an elite of modern pop songwriting, where names like Aztec Camera, The Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout and Crowded House are held in reverence. It is no exaggeration to state that the back catalogue celebrated on this site ticks all the boxes required for entry into this elevated club. Don’t take my word for it; just listen.

Starwatching, then, is an unofficially official celebration. Nothing you see here has been added without the full backing of Trevor Jones and Marcus Cliffe (though they may not thank me for the photos, I was not the camera). Starwatching does not seek to detract from Miracle Mile’s official site but to provide an archive and a fresh look at the music these artists have produced since 1991. It will make reference to the official site and the Bandcamp sites for Miracle Mile, Jones and Marcus Cliffe whilst providing a home for new blog posts related to the music and the people who make it. I’d love to hear what you think of it, but more importantly, if Starwatching leads you down to the river, I hope you enjoy the flow.

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  1. Fabulous writing. Back in 2014 Di and I were at a gig at The Borderline just off Tottenham Court Road. We’d gone to see Case Hardin supporting Jason McNiff and Wizz Jones. Di was taking photos and I was propping up the bar. Wizz and Jason were great. I particularly liked Case Hardin, Pete Gow and Jim Maving were like a thinking man’s Keef and Mick.
    The next day I got a message through Miracle Mile’s website asking me if that was me, really me, at The Borderline the previous night. It came from a gent named Paul Woodgate who was there to review the gig for Folk Radio. It turned out that Paul was a long time follower of my band, Miracle Mile and had recognised me from the various cover shots. It’s nice to be noticed. We chatted on the phone and eventually met up. Paul and I have since become good mates: gig buddies if you will. Paul (‘Egg’ to his inner circle) has often talked about giving up his ‘proper job’ to commit his full attention to his two passions: music and writing. Those who know his writing keep pushing him towards it, he does have a singular style and a beautifully lyrical touch. His enthusiasm is addictive. It’s particularly flattering when you are the object of his affection. So… I’m chuffed to discover that he’s been beavering away on a website that promotes the music that Marcus Cliffe and I produce as Miracle Mile and ‘Jones’. It’s a work in progress and a labour of love that wobbled me a bit when I read Egg’s first post. It’s a bit like Busby Berkeley choreographing a school musical, Matt Busby managing the Beaconsfield Utd under 11’s or Paul Auster reviewing Readers Digest pamphlet 387. I’m a little overwhelmed and humbled by his bon mots. Marcus and I have put a lot of love and labour into what has become our back catalogue. It’s this kind of surprise that all too occasionally justifies the graft. It is gladdening that such a talented writer has chosen to cast and settle his gaze upon us.
    Read this and weep.
    I did.
    God bless you Egg: long may you pun…

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