It’s always the same three chords to start with.
G - D - C.
The first song he learned to play - ‘There she goes’ by The La’s.
Tightening and loosening each string he gets the guitar exactly how he needs it.
There’s something about this routine, the same ceremony he's gone through since he was 13.
It’s as if each practiced action takes him to those first moments: picking up the guitar, rearranging chords to write his own tune, daring to dream…
After all this time, it’s still the one thing he does where he doesn't feel he should be doing anything else.
He takes one step toward his microphone; how he’ll sing, the chord progressions, everything coming together in the right way, it all races through his mind.
It all goes away after the first note he plays, the first melody he starts to sing.
All of a sudden he’s Simon Fowler, he’s John Power, he’s Lee Mavers, he’s Michael Head.
There’s no-one around him. There’s no-one listening, no-one tapping their feet, no-one singing along.
But he plays like there is.
He plays like he’s in a sold out concert. He plays like the sun is setting behind the festival crowd.
They walk past him, shoulder to shoulder in their own lives. They can hear but they don’t look.
But they will.
All he has to do is keep playing.
Keep turning up.
And never forget the reason he's there.