It was like a marriage that had gone wrong

The time: 1994

The place: Boulogne Billancourt, a suburb of Paris

The man: Garry Christian, musician

We'd been dropped by our record company because there was a whisper that the Christians had passed their sell-by date. I'd guessed it was coming, because after three albums they put out the "Best of the Christians", but I felt relieved because I didn't think that Island records were right for us. I didn't mind the rejection but I would have preferred being told to my face "We're not the company for you". Deep down I knew there was something wrong with us and the company.

Our manager pushed the Christians into getting some demos together to rekindle the excitement in our music. So the three of us went off to Anglesey and wrote songs. It was working; we were coming up with some strange little tunes. For a while, I was "full on" and even started hawking the songs around to find a new record company. However, it was not working out personally; I'm not the easiest person to get on with on a professional level. I know what I want and if I don't kind of get it, there's friction. The same with the other guys. We'd been together for eight years and I thought, do I really want to carry on like this? Would I prefer to be independent - and only myself to blame if it goes horribly wrong?

It seemed that my life had come to the end of a chapter; great though it was, even great chapters have to come to an end. I went away on holiday for two weeks, to rest and reflect. Finally, I went back and told them I was going. They weren't shocked. It was like a marriage that had gone wrong; deep down everybody knew it, but it took me to say it.

I'd been going back and forwards to Paris for weekends for some time and I'd met a girl - who I really liked - and I decided to buy a flat so we could see more of each other. Going to France gave me the emotional as well as the physical space from the Christians. Away from Liverpool, away from England, and more importantly the other two members of the group. I don't mean it in a nasty way, but you can't move on if you're seeing someone all the time. You end up raking over the same old stuff. Generally, I believe that people would do far more with their lives if they had more courage to turn the corner, but fear gets in the way.

To start off with, my French was non-existent; lots of gestures and hand-waving but no communication. In a country where you can't speak the language, you retreat into yourself, and I started coming up with deep thoughts. There's a track on the album, "Great big city". It reflects my feelings of Paris. I was totally lost. I wouldn't venture out, except to creep to the shops, buy bread and creep back. However, I discovered that I do have a lot to say. Everybody at some time in their life has a troubled mind, and if you're not able to converse with somebody and get these words out of your head - you could go crazy. I coped by writing songs. In another which is also on the album - "Where you are now" - I write about "looking for a shelter from the storm, the night is full of demons, calling from my past". I could hear people calling me from Liverpool - my past, my family, the Christians.

Where I live now is very different from Liverpool. I look out over the Seine and I have a wonderful view of an expanse of trees, speckled with houses and chateaux. In the other direction I can see the commerce sector of Boulogne. The way my mind is right now, this is the best place for me.

Although it is a conservative place, my shaved head does not cause any raised eyebrows. Sophisticated Parisians don't look at you and think, "strange kind of guy". I got more funny looks in Liverpool, where they think they kind of own me: come up, push me, shove me, and demand an autograph.

I feel the move has matured my music. The first Christians album was recorded in 1986. There was no rootsiness, no real instruments. It was all very synthetic, which even at that time I hated. I still listen to Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye and early Stax, when they went into the studio and just recorded - we lost that in the Eighties. I'd like to think my new album sounds a lot better than the Christians, where we filled in all the spaces. Now the songs are more intimate.

I'd like to think I can also leave the spaces in my life. I'm always thinking, because I find it difficult to feel content. I'm waiting for that day when I can just go "Ahhh. I feel really cool and happy," but no, I'm still reaching out for that goal so I can really start living. Here in Paris I'm feeling close, very close.

Garry Christian's first solo album, 'Your Cool Mystery' (Coalition Records), is out on 19 May.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Sales Engineer - Cowes - £30K-£40K

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Engineer - Cow...

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Social Media Director (Global) - London Bridge/Southwark

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Social Media Director (Gl...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice