Monday, 7 November 2011

The Grotesque (Part I)

This isnt exactly a blog post, so much as a journal, or an observation, or an attempt to try to dig out my soul. I havent written for a while, I have been in a place of peace: inner peace, I guess. After all what is there to write about when you are happy?

I now live in a beautiful, spacious, flat overlooking the ocean in Kiama, Australia. I work only two days a week in my own business, and it is enough to survive and pay the rent. I have a beautiful girlfriend who I am in love with, and will marry. She gives me just enough space to feel comfortable, just enough love to feel I don't own her. She has two kids, a boy 8 and a girl 4, who I seem to have adopted with ease thus quelling any fears I was passing the age of having a family and going to die alone. And she is independent enough to be non-plussed by my controlling side when it tries to come out.

You could say life is perfect, and it has been this way since earlier this year. And best of all, BEST OF ALL...I am making music again, and it is prolific. I have a back room converted into the beginnings of a healthy home studio. This is great news to me, as just having passed my 45th birthday, I have spent the last, nearly, decade thinking music was pretty much over for me, and trying to figure out how to replace it.

So, I guess this post is about music, about what music is for me. And though at 45 years old you would imagine that I should understand that very well, I have discovered that the truth is, I really actually don't know what it means to me at all, nor what it is really for, nor how to approach it to feel a sense of true satisfaction in it's execution. It's changed, I've changed, the world has changed, the industry has changed, the availability of music has changed, the money in music has changed, the style has changed, the reason for making it has changed, the future has changed. Everything has changed. And with an awareness that I was clearly preparing to dive back into it, with possibly even more gusto than I had felt in my youth, I realized it was important that I knew what the fuck I was diving into it for this time.

I needed a reason, a purpose, a strategy. She'd hurt me before, or maybe I should say that I had hurt myself along the way; singing to her from beneath the light of the streetlamp under her window, I had gotten in spots of trouble here and there. But I couldn't afford to make the same mistakes again, and I didn't want to feel that sense of weakness, anxiety, frustration, directionlessness, or meaninglessness, again. I didnt want to feel lost when trying to woo her. If I didnt stop to consider my actions, you could be sure that I would get lost again. But despite the sense of fear, of insanity too; insanity at the idea of being 45 years old and trying to make music. And that sense of uncommon un-certainty of direction, which would descend so often that I never quite understood, and which would make me tail off from any idea , and ultimately give it up. But there was an undeniable certainty of purpose and fatefulness about it all this time, something inside me was calling me to duty, and that excited me. I always KNEW I was born to make music even if it was just for a while, even if ultimately I might very well give it all up, and try my hand at writing, or something else instead.

I have spent the last 5 years seeking a way to give up something I had invested most all of my life into. It took a lot of work but I had almost achieved an acquiescence to the sense of failure that came to me whenever I thought about music. That was the hardest thing, the cruelest thing; I felt she had lured me, all along, to be suckling from her bosom only to end up shoving a dried-up teat into my mouth and laughing at me. I couldn't understand why, all my life, I had held onto the steadfast belief, and internal drive, the certainty that I was going to 'make it' despite everything everyone said to me, only to discover in the end they were right; it had been a dream, a delusion, nay, a lie. I had not only to accept that music was over for me, and that I had failed, but worse that my intuition and self-confidence could not be trusted either.

That was a confusing and hard thing, the hardest part was to accept it all without falling apart.

So I turned the corner, and finally started to let go, accept that music was over for me, but that my life had to carry on.

Then what happens?

A collaboration from a few years ago with some random friend in Sydney gets signed up by a label in the UK and cut to vinyl. It ends up reaching over 50,000 hits on Youtube and getting airplay in the very clubs I used to frequent. It's like fucking making it without trying, and in a genre I wasn't even really working in !
The irony of it all wasn’t lost on me, but it did something else for me. Two things in fact. Firstly, it gave me the feeling that, at last, after nearly 30 years going nowhere in the music business, I had finally made it, I had put my name on the god damn wall, somewhere down the bottom, but that wasn't the point, I was up there. I didn't make any money out of it at all, I made probably about 100 english pounds in total, but that is the ridiculous state of the music industry today, and a whole other story which is a part of why I write this now. But what else it did for me, and probably most importantly, is it gave me back my confidence. Enough to consider whether really, honestly, truthfully, had I given music up ?

She'd got me. Like a true woman, played me to the very limits and then when I finally stopped chasing her, she flipped the script. My god, in a funny way I actually thought it was beautiful. I fell in love with her all over again. And at the same time my life changed for the better, as I said in the first part of this post.

And that brings me to the here and now.

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