A Punter’s Perspective: Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage
No Such Things As Mistakes Part I
First published in Trad and Now magazine, March 2014
As has been the case from time to time in the seven years plus of A Punter’s Perspective, ’tis the night before deadline and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a half-decent idea for a folk music magazine article.
Realising my dilemma on the train to work today, I turned to the world’s font of most knowledge (and funny cat videos): Twitter. And I asked publicly to all, and pointedly to three or four music bloggers, what might a good topic be.
The answer came from a former radio presenter now blogger/vlogger (a kindred spirit, then) from the Netherlands who goes by the eponymous title of ‘The Dutch Guy’ (@DutchGuyOnAir), and he suggested:
“How about talking about some mistakes indie artists might make?”
By curious coincidence, this is a topic I’d considered before and only pulled back from it at the risk of causing offence.
Causing offence is a service I often provide — usually unintentionally.
I’ve put enough noses out of joint in the music world in the past nine years by commission, omission or at the very least, blind stupidity, and have no need to add to that score by inadvertent misadventure.
I often say that I can have intelligence insulted without watching certain TV programs or listening to certain radio stations. (And that I didn’t mention them by name is at least a sign that I’m learning — slowly.)
Similarly, I have no need to add to the great heaving morass of people I have annoyed by mistake or misinterpretation by going out of my way to rile them up. It’s just not how I’m wired and those who I run into who DO delight in this way of living, well, I just edge slowly away from them and run.
[UPDATE: This article was written at a time when I was pretty happy with life: working 6.5hrs a day at a very large multinational company — the one that never forgets that its THEIR money — bouncing between two locations (a girlfriend’s place in the south west of Sydney and a three-week on, three-week off arrangement taking care of a Tibetan Terrier and a three-level mansion of a place high, high up above the Pittwater on Sydney’s northern beaches.
I did not know it at the time, but all three were: mistakes. But maybe I had to have all of those fall and fail to embed the lessons of crowing too noisily about when things are going well. If you don’t know the parable about the bird that finds warmth and heat from a very unexpected place, then announces it to the world, ask me sometime. It’s not for here or I too could get covered in ship.]
Therefore, some disclaimers.
I am totally in awe of musicians, artists and singer-songwriters.
The concept of playing a three to 20-stringed instrument (or one you blow, slap or pump) while singing and possibly dancing (or at least a little light duck-walking), and then doing that from 20 minutes at a time, for up to three or four hours, leaves me absolutely breathless.
So any observations that I have about how musos ply their trade are made in that context. (See this is the fine print and early warning sign that so many miss and the next thing I’m being pilloried and people are jumping to conclusions so fast they strain their hamstrings.) Continue reading