People have been telling me for ohh, 17 years to get a ‘real job’
It used to irk me, until I realised it was just insecurity on their part projected, them saying: “I couldn’t do what you’re doing”

More recently, a conversation with a friend Dave sewed a seed. Dave’s partner’s artistic output/enthusiasm/productivity, and ironically financial viability had bloomed since taking up that ‘production line’ job preparing small wooden boxes in a factory. She ‘didn’t care’ anymore, that point where Bon Iver and Nathaniel Rateliff and countless other artists reached after years of graft and thought, ahh well, I’ll just make this one last thing. It’s been fun.
I like the grit that an uncompromising approach offers, holding the head up with honesty and loyalty, doing the yards and scratching an honest living. Add in to the mix an extra mouth to feed, a blueprint to form. The same conversations, bummed about asking family for financial help, sick of being dependant on the handouts and generosity of those few who believe it’s important for you to keep doing it. And a bit more time pressure comes in, and it becomes a bit more like the ‘real job’… booking certainties to bring back the bacon for all that time you’ve been ‘away’. I heard Ryan Adams recently talk about the squeeze that Covid and streaming has continued put on the viability of making a living with music, and that it’s been a litmus test for people’s commitment/skin in the game. I like that, time sees many an aspiring live act dwindle away. I’ve learnt that it’s critical to find a reason every night to be 100% into it, your intention is what an audience picks up on immediately. Easier said than done when the society that surrounds doesn’t seem to really value musicianship. It’s obvious when the lecturer’s just reading through the slides, going through the motions, it’s hard to concentrate let alone be inspired. I want to keep music at an inspired ‘level’, free of the wrong kind of pressure and desperation, without sliding into comfort, maintaining the grit and refinement and have it be the vehicle to learn more about myself and what’s going on upstairs/inside. Keep it in THAT pocket. Because I know I care. And I can’t stand listening to artists going through the motions. Time for what Dave dubbed: a capital c Change. Seems everyone’s so quick to get black and white. “Will you still play gigs”. “Are you giving up the music”. I’m doing it FOR the music. To keep it THERE. Arboriculture. Oh, cutting down trees? Nah, more than that. And so it begins, a complimentary string to the bow, another capability, contribution and viability enabler, not to mention an understanding of the very beautiful, positive, ancient living organisms that surround us lucky ones every day.