Plotting and preparing

So after being coached in gig booking by wise Jedi (in brief: be prepared to combine the mundane side of amateur detective skills to find out who promoters are and ring bar staff in an ingratiating fashion to winkle out people’s phone numbers. If you can’t believe in the worth of your material, you won’t persuade anyone else-so if you are stuck in British self-deprecation, do whatever personal rituals/crazy person talking to yourself/sacrifices to the full moon can ease you out of it. It may take up to 8 steps before someone says conclusively Yes or No, but either you can be arsed and you will get some gigs, or you can’t and you won’t.)
In all of this, it seems to me managing your own motivation is the critical thing, and being honest about the leg work involved. No point in ten years’ time saying, ‘oh, I wish I’d gone for it a bit more when I had the chance…’ when actually, you couldn’t really be arsed. Obviously, no-one is paying you for the time you spend sourcing gigs, and at my level I need to take what I can get – (able to get radio play and fill a venue in London, but hardly oversubscribed in the regions as I’ve never filled steps a-f as above and actually booked myself a tour. If I’m honest, although I didn’t consciously think this at the time, I think I was hoping ‘someone’ would take an interest and help. ie – I wasn’t taking full responsibility for the outcome I wanted, and I also wasn’t clear as to what I was aiming for-probably because I didn’t want to try and then fail horribly and feel like an idiotic muppet, or be punished for the immense hubris of imagining there might be an audience for the music I’ve written by being terribly humiliated, etc etc) Better to get dinner and the possibility of connecting with new possible listeners at a nice, well thought out night run by someone who loves music, than hang out for a fifty quid fee in a pub where no-one will hear it or buy cds. So I have confirmed the first date on 11th June at Mr Wolf’s in Bath, which has the benefit of being near Bristol where I can crash.

I’ve come out of hibernation big style in other ways; I handed in the 5th of 6 submissions for my masters in composition, and the lovely Clea Friend did a quick workshop take of a cello duet I wrote which I was quite proud of and will put up on my composition website soon. I then went to chat to Sir Timothy Ackroyd, an amazing actor, about doing some Hitchcock style music for a play he’s written with the late Beryl Bainbridge. My first commission? The play has at least a chance of being staged, and it’s a great script, a whodunnit about the trial of Brian Hume-accused in the 50s of murdering Stanley Setty and dropping pieces of his diced up body from a plane into the channel (miscalculating the direction of the tide-the pieces were washed in to land and found…)

When we discussing it in the pub, we had the kind of encounter Tim has all the time and I rarely do-we got chatting to a very beautiful model reinventing herself as a writer. She was delightful and I recommend her blog – Jocette Coote.

Then I went to Spain for a week where my (Spanish-French) father lives. He made about as much provision for his retirement as I am currently doing, so we rent out his house for holiday lets in the summer. He lives down in the South East, sweltering in August, delightful in April. The food all tastes amazing-the oranges are juicy and sweet, even the onions are sweet. So I was working, but normally on work breaks I can’t sit out in my swimmers. I love that part of Spain. Dry and deserted, quite a rugged landscape, but with a simplicity in form that is beautiful. Every time I go there, the peace and quiet sends me into a vegetative state and I wonder why I bother with the stress of running around Doing Things.

Back on to booking, I’ve taken 3 days off hustling, had a rehearsal with a swing orchestra I play with called The Bombshellettes. They’re amazing and it’s brilliant fun playing with a ninja rhythm section, three part harmony vocals and 9 amazing brass players.  It feels like a symbolic relief to have confirmed the first date on 11th June. I’ll probably be in a state as I’ll just have been camping for 2 days at LLAMA fest, but anyway. I’ve bought a little Roland street amp so I can potentially do some gigs in random cafes and things. I really do wish I’d had the shove to do all this five years ago, but there we are. I hope it proves viable to compose this theatre score at the same time as all of this 🙂

So now I’ve procrastinated quite enough, back to my spreadsheet. Devon’s my next target. I leave you with one word of advice-don’t buy flasks from Ikea. They are rubbish, dent straight away and break, and you might pour boiling tea all over your hand on the tube, causing a sharp intake of breath and sting of embarrassment as well as a throbby hand for the rest of the afternoon.  ps-loving Tunng today, their lyrics are so suggestive and evocative and touching, without being mcCheese. http://www.tunng.co.uk/lyrics.html And the combination of beautiful vocal/guitar/organic sounds and bleeps is just exactly as it should be.

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