Blog no 9. for diary of an alt pop mother.
Ah yes, it’s time again. For the craziness that is….a gig.
Last month it took me about five working days to set up band pages, loud hailers, banners and posters to sites that promised promoting ease, to make my life a breeze, and only after hours of designing blurbs and filling in forms, divulging all my details and allowing the internet machines to have access to me in every possible way, do I find that upon trying to send out my self made invites to come and experience what it’s all actually about (music) - I find that access to my own actual friends’ emails that I myself have provided - I am not allowed to have.
I wanted to scream.
I dragged my feet around the house dramatically to represent
my inner grief.
Ah the computer stealing precious time from me again.
Even my twice removed sister in law of power and energy and music organizational prowess said to me recently that she is quite frankly…fed up. We - at her CD launch. She - fresh off their UK band tour. It had taken the last of her stamina. The last of her health. Sick of and from putting so much in, she felt forced to say “Enough!”
Life forced her, and I, to step away from the computer that week and put our hands in the air - for just before my hope had all but died, my laptop died instead.
Now two weeks later, on my kids hand me down iPad, I am back. The gig is now a fortnight away.
Today I find myself looking for a big-kid-size drum kit on eBay. I want it two kill two birds. To serve both our son - as a gift ‘cos he loved the drums we borrowed last time - and for ourselves as a handy kit to borrow for our drummer from New Zealand who has not got one yet.
Yes it seems our shows are not meant to be easy.
The rehearsal is tomorrow. Depending of course on us having drums and also on wether the cafe owner and fellow performer is still in hospital or not. It was an a & e adventure, last minute.
At least this show’s venue is just down the road - which means our favourite sounding keyboard - that is also the heaviest keyboard ever made - can be possibly dropped off or taken in a borrowed a car, or if all else fails it can be carried on our local bus almost door to door. Luxury. From our house at the top of the hill near Greenwich Park. To the old markets at the bottom of the hill near Greenwich Park.
Greenwich park, the Royal Observatory. Where time began. Well …where time …keeping … began.You know - Greenwich Meantime? Ring a bell?
Yes. We live, sleep, hope and plan our lives - right in the heart of time’s pivotal point. Is it why time makes me anxious? Because it’s so close, breathing down my neck? I can feel the power of the great controlling ticks from three blocks away, reminding us. Pressuring us. Why did someone ever even start this in the first place?!! What if we still just had no track of time? We couldn’t be late and feel bad for it. We wouldn’t feel wasteful of the time we have. Who decided time mattered? That time is of the essence and that there is a cut off time in each phase of our life that we are lured in to believe …and worship.
We find ourselves shouting at our children because of their complete disregard for time. Then we realise they are oblivious and free and we apologise in word or in deed but can they still get their shoes on please.
What does "it’s only a matter of time’" even mean? It sounds set in it’s ways. Predicting doom. Unchangeable.
All in good time Pet, feels friendlier. Something an old person would say because they know better.
For some of us in this neighbourhood - time is on our side, for some of us it is ticking away. Depending. Is it about us then? Our outlook? Our attitude? Or just our age?
How to unravel our minds from being so wound up in what may not even matter.
Once the winding mechanism is at it’s capacity, it is let go of - and off we go! Ticking and ticking, governed by the unwinding, the moving ahead backwards, all the time spinning towards stopping, towards a possible too late.
But I say - all in good time. To myself. Sometimes I’d like to be old, and be saying things like that. And really believing it. In my bones. Past the living out of youngness, past the many years ahead, past that bit. Old.
While the rest of the world measures their clocks up against us here - Ben and I sit measuring ourselves up against the rest of the world. Often unconsciously. Sometimes on purpose. We can’t help it. Humans find truths by measuring.
We measure ourselves up against people we respect - and learn about ourselves. Against people we can’t stand - and learn about ourselves. Against other parents, other singles, others childless. Against those in our line of work. We wonder - How they tick. Where they play, where they go, what they hope for, who they share their lives with, how they built their cast and stage and story and how they feel.
Sometimes Ben and I catch the reflection of ourselves in our lounge-room mirror. Sitting there in our little suburban house. And we wonder why we - two seasoned music doers, hardly ever play music and are not in a really proper band again by now, recording and breathing new ideas with others, out there… out there….you know…. somewhere. All in good time.
Maybe it’s London, maybe its busy-ness. London with all its potential but deep wide waters. I wonder too about those bands I knew in Australia who have perhaps not ever stopped to pause but have just kept on going on and going. Have they achieved what they have because of it? Because of not leaving their own country? Because of not giving birth to children?
The things I chose to do differently to them I would not choose to change - for flinging ourselves across the world with our eyes shut was us being true and becoming pregnant at the end of it was a gift. And a world I would never want to exchange, despite my comparing.
Thankfully I did leave school rather young and crammed in quite alot early on, so I had some extra time to play with anyway - ha ha, if you look at it like that.
We all leave a trail of a timeline behind us as our lives play out. And I guess it becomes a serious business to us at times because we know we can not switch the bits round or take bits out once they are drawn. It feels in those moments our decisions are so important.
My time-line from birth ran happily enough along. The dot that depicted the start of the next bit spewed forth a line that ran fast through teenage hood to a line that was quite stubbornly straight and slightly going up at the end. The next important dot threw the line high in the air at the finding of love and the story-line started to become a bit more meandering with bits jutting off to littler lines that interwove and now hang limp as threads do, yet to be sewn.
And I measure myself up against myself also. To all the other me’s in the other bits.
Especially when I have a gig. Especially when there is something comparable to my past. Especially when this madness of getting my music sorted ensues, pursues, and when I am staring into the face of having to do it all myself. Like I am a beginner again.
I measure myself up against the early bit of time-line where I dreamily hoped for a record deal - to be in that elusive club, and then to the me at the dot where I got the record deal - and was allowed into the club, to a point…for it still felt like a lonely road and like it dangled an ‘almost’ banner ahead of us, forever in our view, so that the now was never okay and the line jumped up down, up down, confusing us. The me on the shitty stage, the me on the big stage, the me at the dot in that manager meeting, the me in tears, the me at the music party, the me reminiscing about an earlier me lying down on our band house floor alongside my long term band mates, listening in the dark to our finally finished album on our big speakers turned up loud. All of us Proud and Relieved for something solid to hold, that doubled as something that showed the world what was inside us, what we had to offer.
It is this measuring up and studying of the line behind us that leads us ahead. To decide to make things work better for us now so that we aren’t just stuck, wondering why we are here. To feel better about our dot. The dot we are on - on the map. I actually sewed my time line physically once in an arts therapy group that I helped mum lead for a Hackney Hospice for the ill and dying. With cotton and colours, material, buttons and emotion - we all allowed the mourning of the various deaths and endings in our lives to be acknowledged, to gently lead us to our Now.
The venue owner just called me to say he is 1. out of hospital and 2. there are drums in the cobble-stoned cellar of his Greenwich cafe. They’re dodgy he said, but existent. We is livin’ the life man. And it means I can get off this ipad and get on with playing some music. Yee-har.
At this Greenwich show coming up soon -
I am going to perform this very new song below - “Fragments” .
It is the song inspired by Vicki’s art in the blog I wrote a while ago - “Pictures of the ball.” I promised you I would post it when it was ‘finished’. Well it is not totally ‘finished’ as such - as it will evolve, through playing it live and then later through recording it again for an album most likely, but for now - I’d like to present you “Fragments” - in all it’s lo-fi demo glory. xx
PHOTOS: A few of the pivotal dots on the way :
The Mercy Bell (after Dale our drummer left and we lived and waited in between the UK and USA for the next dot on the map to call our names, call our names)
The Big Announcement of our wee bairne, over the phone, to those far away.
And the child himself. Gob-smacked we were. Amazing.
There is a season turn turn turn, for every thing turn turn turn….
- A song my dad used to sing around the house. He often only sang bits of songs ‘cos he couldn’t remember the rest. But we gather bits don’t we, the bits that matter to us, to make our soundtrack.