Monthly Archives: October 2020

When the space between worlds is thin and fragile

its that time of year again when some believe the barrier between what is and what was is thin and messages may be passed to us. Or else its just the change of the seasons.  All depends on what you believe of course, but there is an atmosphere at this time when we will lose those remaining leaves and the wind will get colder and stronger.  This has been a very strange year, last year was a struggle and this year has been too for very different reasons.  But maybe there is more, we just dont know and we cant predict anything. maybe a bit of hope won’t hurt even if its just a phantom or smoky dream. Sometimes the imagination is better than the realty. 


Mostly a review of the year to date

I think a bit of  a summing up will be helpful for me at this point.  At the start of 2020 I had got to a point where I was just about ready to start trying to reconstruct my life and move forward again. My confidence was rather lacking but I managed to pull my self together sufficiently to front a couple of gigs and at that point in February I felt like I was on the mend again and could start getting out into the world again. I still had the anxiety and arthritis problems but they were not so bad at that point. Then of course at the end of February the lockdown kicked in and the plans I had to link up with a few people were stymied. For the first few weeks I was frustrated but OK. But after my self esteem started dropping and I started to feel pretty useless about myself in often depressed and then on top of that started to have anxiety attacks. Often just triggered by a random thought or the prospect of going somewhere. So I have got more and more isolated as time has gone on and my confidence is pretty much at zero in some regards. I have never had to ability to be an easy mixer or make new friends easily. I am not antisocial but I am awkward and small talk is difficult for me so the normal avenues to making new friends and acquaintances are difficult for me to follow.
As the year has progressed I have found it more difficult to keep things together. 

I do have a routine for most days which is  to practice sight reading and spend a bit of time working up musical themes for songs and other works. I write stuff down on manuscript in a condensed form to keep the germ of the ideas. If I am working on a recording (which is most weeks) I put down parts and premix stuff. Part of the day may also be spent on a remote rehearsal/ collaboration session. In between that there are various exercises I need to do to stop myself from ceasing up. This week I have also managed to get out once a day which is helping with the depressive side of things a little. 

When I moved out of London I had hoped to get more involved with collaborative side of recording as I now have the space to work with 2 or 3 people live, and had Vicky and the Delta Ladies continued that potentially would have made for some very interesting sonic interludes along the way.  Sadly the fates intervened and it was not to be. I really had hoped to try and hook up with some local players  and see what might be done but that did not go to well either. 

If we ever get out of this Covid-19 centric universe again it will be rather like starting from zero in many ways. I cannot imagine a normal world where one can lean on a bar listening at a folk club or music pub again. Just being able to nip out and catch a gig again would be great but it is  almost impossible to do anything casually like that now. I feel that we are in for up to another 2 years, before there is any chance of real normality. Maybe by next year this time there will be a light dawning. I really dont know, but thats how its looking at the moment on the basis of everything I see in from the medical and research community.

I note that many people seem to believe we dont have a problem or that Covid is not real or anywhere near as dangerous as it actually is. That is really not helping.   

I am not on my own and its much worse for those that live alone of course, and I dont have a job to loose so I should l be able to just about roll along and keep the wolf from the door but that will not be an option for many others, and I do worry how people will survive let alone thrive.  As I write this I am  listening to “The New Deal – A Story For Our Times” on Radio 4.   A bleak time but there was hope and things did eventually get back to normal in some respects. In contrast to the current covid threat where it seems that “Normal” is  nowhere to be seen or hidden under a rock somewhere and realistically there does not seem to be much hope of sunny uplands being reached anytime soon.  


A damp day watching the leaves turn again

Ego, too much or too little can be equally damaging.  Something I posted as a Facebook comment in response to a comment that was made by  a musician claiming that his work was being taken away by non-professionals. In truth it dosent work like that and it never has.

I have been playing since I was 15 (keyboards , violin, guitar and stuff). My first paid gig though was at the age of about 48 having played for years but having had day jobs many and various. For about 15 years I supported myself with income from gigs averaging about 130 a year. Many were pubs with a few notable exceptions so HMRC think I was a professional musician, though i think they have paid me more in tax refunds than I have ever paid them in the last few years.

My last paid gig was in February this year and due to a combination of Covid-19s effects and the loss of a my long term musical partner who I had been working with since 2004 I am now by circumstance back to being a part-timer or almost no timer.

I still occasionally make some money from music from time to time from PPL and PRS and have even had some paid recording session project work.

I hope to get back out there post Covid but its unlikely to be some thing I personally can make a living from again.

The reason that I got into music was to be creative and to have fun and it has also provided me with a social life I might not otherwise have had. At present though I am mostly stuck at home recording, writing , practicing to keep my technique together.

So perhaps now I am again a hobbyist? That’s OK. Its just another label really.

if I was offered a gig tomorrow I dont think it would be taking anyone else’s work.