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.


More October 2020

Its turning into a long month.  Covids on the rise according to the latest stats.  Its  a Saturday and I am watching “The Big Bang Theory” on the box. I do enjoy the show but Its really not my ideal Saturday night to be honest. I hope at least a few of you have better things to do with your time. I think the weekends are more difficult in some respects for me personally as there is no differentiation between those and any other days of the week. So I am typing this as a sort of therapy I guess. Also as a break from various musical doings that are filling most of my time now as I feel as if I am stuck in a perpetual groundhog day loop now.  I know a few people are lucky enough to be out getting the odd gig or two, and that’s great.  However Covid or no Covid my attempt to keep the “Delta ladies” going wasn’t really working and in a sense recent events have made it obvious that its really not going to.  So that’s a chapter thats over now. But I gave it my best shot under the circumstances. It was though 14 years of my life and around 130 gigs a year on average. And that ended pretty much with Vicky Martins passing in April 2019. I  played a few gigs afterwards but then Covid-19 finished things for good pretty much. Anything I do in future has to be different, but its like starting from scratch and I dont think I have it in me as you need a particular sort of personality to front a show, and it seems that is not really me right now at least. Of course it may be there isn’t actually much of a future any and that’s that?

I will try to keep making music of course as there is not much else I could do really.

In other news.
I woke up last night with a pain like something had snapped, I had to lie on my side. Fortunately it went away. I think the culprit maybe the new upper back exercises I am doing. So more caution is advised.
All my exercises are basically to make sure I stay as mobile as possible. The upper back is lightly to cause some discomfort as specific muscles will be stretching out of there usually postions. Its hitting the point where there is resistance but not strain that is the difficult bit. It seems to benefit my ability to sit and type more easily and also sit in a much bette posture with out leaning forward. that could be a big deal if I can keep it up as it would allow me to do more useful computer based stuff and might even allow me to get a bit of an extra income from IT again. If I can just sit down for 2 hours a day in front of a compute there is work that I could potentially do that would benefit me. Also the upper back and violin playing are inextricably linked and the better the shoulders and upper back are in terms of freedom of movement the easier it is and the better it sounds.


its along road…..





Lockdown the Movie

Wow this is really weird.I am totally losing it now to be honest. Each day is blurring into the next now. I am sure it’s exactly the same for many others now of course. I have been working on various projects and find now that staying focused has become increasingly difficult for me.  I have had anxiety attacks which I though were a thing of the past but I seem to have come back with  a vengeance. I also feel really useless in almost every respect at present. I read the news and everything looks pretty grim again. Staying positive might work for  the Trumpster, but it’s very difficult for the rest of us who are not on a “mission from god” or whatever. 
Soon we will be looking winter in the face again.

Here’s  a song. Surprise, surprise.

Anyway there’s nearly always more. But should there be? That’s is the question.
Nobler to keep bashing your head against the wall perhaps?. OK maybe I got that bit wrong. Staying sane, is that working for you. For me not so much I would have to say.
After a frustrating day what better thing to do than meet friends for a swift half or two. Not now, not ever it feels like? 

Dont even think about it? 






Thoughts for this day

 What do you actually want and do you think you will be happy when you get it?
Only joking.

Not be able to see people that I know added the fact that its possible some wont be around by the time we get out of current restrictions is a major downer to be honest.

I think that for me, its a an acute sense of loss that I will not be able to break away from from until such time as we all get properly out of jail and that’s going to be a while. I am trying to cultivate any possible social and musical green shoots, but even with all technology available to help stay connected its very hard going.

Today has been very hard. I think there is something missing in my in my head at a certain level. I just cant live the way I used to My days at home are often a bit grim now. I have and am trying to crack on with stuff but there is an over whelming feeling of it all being a waste of time and pointless. That is depression pure and simple. Today was almost a not getting out of bed day, but I did manage to pull it together just about. Perhaps I need some drugs. (The prescribed sort?)

I have been practicing sight reading on piano and also writing down a few musical ideas. Also a I have been doing a  little production work on collaborative project. But by evening my mood has tanked again. There has to be more.


October 2020

Things are not looking much better at the moment sadly. on a personal level and only the passage of time will tell if there is much of a future.
So here is another shorter musical offering recorded at the end of September.  Its a piano and violin duet. 

The notion that we can all turn our hand to anything is not IMO correct Its worth I think though reflecting the fact that there are many who have done quite a bit careerwise but now find that they have arrived at a point where they are pretty much unemployable simply because of age or simply who and what they are let alone those with some disabilities.

Over the years I was first trained as a Cinema projectionist, worked in warehouses, worked in Wardour street at film a Sound production house and then a recording studio. Spent a few years as a driver. I also worked in personel, became a computer programer did project management, conference planning and a load of other stuff. Now at the age of 63 I am pretty much on the scrap heap as although I have skills having mostly got my income from live music for the past 15 years my very long CV is pretty meaningless now to the outside world.
I do wonder what kind of world we are going to be in soon.