‘Do It Now’ is an expression my dad used to say.
It’s funny, you know, as you get older you remember things that your parents or maybe teachers or friends said, and if there’s a catchphrase. And my dad’s big catchphrase was ‘Do it now.’ You know, you’d sort of say, ‘No, well, I’ll do it later,’ and he’d say, ‘No, do it now.’
And he used to say ‘DIN’, so that was his particular little catchphrase. And I always thought, DIN, that’s a great name for a record label. Din.
Anyway, this has always been in my mind, this ‘Do it now’ thing. So I was looking for an idea to write this song about, so then I started off, OK, I’m on a journey, I’ve been invited to go somewhere, so if I’m going in my imagination somewhere, and the idea is that if I don’t do it now, I may never get to this place.
Basically it’s a song, an imaginary journey suggested by the fact that my dad would have said, ‘Go on that journey now, don’t leave it till it’s too late.’ So there it is. Do it now.
I did a lot of painting in the nineties, and nearly always I would do them in one sitting, so it would be three or four hours at the easel making that painting, because I found that to come back to it was not fun; it was like a problem to solve: ‘What was that mood I was in? What was that vision I was having? What was that feeling that got me this far?’ Whereas when doing it just in one go, you’ve solved enough of the problems and you’ve answered enough of the questions and, lo and behold, there’s your painting, or there’s your song. You can mess with it later if you want to, but you don’t have to come back to it and think, ‘Oh, what was that vision I had for this?’ ‘Do it now while the vision’s clear’ is a good piece of advice.
A friend of mine who’s a British painter was looking at my paintings, and he said to me, ‘Well, that painting style is called alla prima, which translates as “at the first time”.’ When it’s applied to painting, I think it means ‘in one session’. You don’t endlessly paint over it, like a lot of great painters do, which for me would have removed the fun, and I was painting for fun, I was painting to have joy. I’ve read about the lives of painters, and a lot of it sure ain’t fun. They’re bloody driving themselves crazy. I read a biography of Willem de Kooning recently and, with at least one of his pictures, he was at it all year. It turned out very well, of course, but it was just endless, endless questions. He was getting drunks, he was going crazy, he was leaving his women, he was just having a crazy life to get this one painting right. That sort of thing doesn’t appeal to me, and I’ll always hear my father, maybe no longer yelling, but whispering in my ear to get on with it: ‘Do it now.’
The Lyrics: 1956 To The Present