Victoria Jones and Mark
Listen to the Song:
Victoria Jones is a Cambridge based songwriter and singing teacher. Most of her songwriting efforts to date have been with her award winning band Fred’s House. Her conversation partner is Mark, a Cambridge based piano teacher who is a wheelchair user and suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. Victoria and Mark have been friends for years through work and she has been very moved by Mark’s story. Unfortunately Mark has experienced discrimination in his work place and has had to fight to continue his teaching as his condition means that the use of his hands has deteriorated. Mark is still able to coach pianists giving verbal instructions and some minimal demonstration. In conversations with Mark, it became very clear that he is someone who wants to help himself. He wants to work to help pay his bills and not live off disability payments. He wants to continue inspiring young musicians and teaching others music, which has been his career since leaving music university as a young man. Music and his students are his reason for getting out of bed each morning.
So what happens if that gets taken away? The title of Victoria’s song is ‘These Shoes’. It occurred to her when cycling on her bike through Cambridge that this is something she does daily and takes for granted. She couldn’t help wondering how her life would be if she was in Mark’s position. The lyrics ask the listener to consider yourself in someone else’s position as a general question. To explore what others experience and the cards that we are all dealt; those with no homes, those who are invisible, poor, disabled, suffering, displaced, from a different racial/religious background or those from the LGBTQ+ community. However, the biggest revelation to come out of Mark and Victoria’s conversation was a very positive one. Mark feels very grateful for the life he has; he has loved ones and he has music and even though day to day life is a struggle, he wants to live every day to the full. This inspired the music element of ‘These Shoes’ to be uplifting, giving the listener the feeling of hope and perhaps even, change.