“If you’re going to take a dip in the North Sea in January you either have to be much hardier than I am or extremely desperate to feel something new!” – Ali Begg, Arbor Green
I’ve been reading about the growing amount of people who take cold showers in the morning. They’re often the same people who find unfathomable amounts of pleasure in cold water wild swimming. Without wetsuit, they plunge into lakes, rivers and pools without a care in the world. They talk evangelically about the health benefits that such extreme activity is providing; it helps with mental agility, daily concentration and in boosting energy levels. As good as that all sounds, I’m not sure that the ‘freezing your nuts off’ treatment is for me.
I suspect the same is true for Ali Begg, the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist behind emerging Scottish indie-folk act, Arbor Green. In the recent video for their glorious track, As We Grow, we find Ali dunking his body into the sea at a wintry Edinburgh beach. “I spent a solid hour shivering in a cocoon of towels after that.“, he tells me. “I dunno how all the middle-aged cold water swimmers do it. They’re out there in all fucking seasons.”
There is a method to his madness though. The perky and upbeat folk tune dowsed with a liberal sprinkling of Americana masks a lyric that questions ‘the daily grind of a listless reality’. We’re all desperately pursuing the next thing that’ll give us happiness, those moments that’ll lift us out of the general mundanity of life. This is not a happy tale, rather it’s a gloomy, wry reflection on the human condition.
“So I’ll fight like hell, And I’ll hide like a kid, And I’ll scream that I am just so sick of this, All I want is to be gone.“, sings Ali in one key moment of ‘As We Grow’.
Arbor Green have recently released a new single, Waiting On The Sun. It’s all part of the build-up to the release of a debut-album in the next few months. If the releases so far are indicative of the quality across the album then we’re all in for an alt-country treat. Ali’s delighted that Roddy Hart has been playing the latest single on Radio Scotland. It’s easy to see why it has been getting airplay though. You should check out that single as well.
But today, take the plunge with ‘As We Grow’..