Good News: I've banned Mondays... they are now "TeaDays"... Okay?
I've been wanting to write a blog recently, that isn't entirely about #VANLIFE because I want to write a bit more on what I'm thinking about and discuss it.
The first thing I want to talk about is the "scene" in your home towns. Me & Doozer come from Southend On Sea. I've been missing it a lot lately because it seems like there is an absolutely buzzing Art & Music scene where something is happening every single night of the week that I wish I could go to. Whenever we come back here we're out all the time, and most of it is for free. The Art and Music scene here feels like some sort of secret club though because not everyone knows about it and I'm wondering WHY?
We've been all over this country in the last four years, visiting, gigging, touring and what I've noticed is that in every town there is a rich Art & Music scene bubbling beneath the surface, even in those shitty out of the way towns where you drive in through the boarded up high street and there's an alleged pre-teen criminal standing on the street corner with his hands down his or her jogging bottoms smoking a cigarette and collecting all the latest, most fashionable ASBOS. Actually, it's especially in those towns that something pretty incredible is bubbling beneath the surface if you look for it. So what's the problem?
Could it just be that people aren't interested in going out specifically to see music anymore? Are we too engrossed in sitting around staring at screens instead?
We can now too easily access an overwhelming amount of stuff which means you have to try to pick what you like by sifting through an entire catalogue of hungry musicians releasing their albums online from their bedrooms.
I've also noticed that people are much more hesitant now to go out to a local gig or a pub, staying indoors watching Netflix and staring at Facebook is the new "Friday Night Out".
I know Doozer is very careful as a musician, NOT to ask people to come out to "support" him because it sounds like an obligatory chore, honestly, it sounds like we're asking you to come and watch us do the sack race on Sports Day at Junior school (Bad example really, because I bet a lot of you would be up for that) or alternatively, it sounds like we're asking you to pop round to our van and do the washing up for us. So Doozer always tries to encourage everyone to enjoy a night out with us... which is fun, right? Because essentially, that's what we see it as. It's a much better way of looking at what art and music is supposed to be about.
As an Artist I don't want people to come to my exhibitions because they fear I'd become bankrupt and bitter then blame you all personally and write passive aggressive statuses on Facebook about how no one likes my Art anymore (I have never done this, just so that you know, however, if I do become bitter and twisted in my old age, I'll at least have the decency to tag you all in my passive aggressive status about how none of you like my art anymore). I want people like you to come to my exhibitions because you're excited to see what I've got to show you, which means you're excited about what I'm excited about. Maybe generally speaking, that's the problem, people aren't excited for others anymore?
I've had friends who have actually been angry at me for inviting them to gigs and exhibitions. I recently lost a bunch of friends, partly because it came out that they resent being invited to Doozer's gigs all the time and despite the fact that in four years they never came to a show, they actually saw my invitations as a narcissistic attempt to boast about Doozer and our lifestyle. It turned out that's one of the big things that made them actually hate me, specifically for being such a selfish arsehole and trying to drag them away from the comfort of their TV screens. That's weird, isn't it? The thought that people seem to be stuck in a trend of not being happy or excited about what other people are doing is bizarre to me, if I don't like a band or an artist I don't hate them for it... it's OK if the music ain't your "bag" (that's contemporary urban slang for "thing" I think) but to purposefully hate something or resent someone because they are doing something cool is really fucking weird. I have a lot of friends who's music or art isn't really my "bag" but I am 100% behind anyone who's got the bollocks to follow what they love in this life because while it's such a privilege to know what you're good at and recognise what you love, that's the easy bit, the hard bit is facing the enormous task of chasing it down with all your might and making something happen, which can be impossible without other people behind you rooting for ya.
Another topic that I think ties into this, but is not really a comparison to the above... is popular or mainstream Art & Music. There seems to be a lot of people complaining about the likes of Ed Sheeran being in the charts, people have expressed anger that they feel like there are lots of musicians and bands out there who are more deserving of a "chance" at success, I've even seen people blame him for the decline of the quality of popular music now days. Most recently, I saw an article where a journalist compared Harry Styles to David Bowie, I had a moment to spare so I clicked on the comments and saw a keyboard bashing shit storm of angry people exercising their fingers to express their hatred of this boy that they don't even really know.
He's young, handsome and extraordinarily wealthy... I can't see why anyone would hate him.
I'm not saying I'm a massive Harry Styles fan, so I made a careful decision NOT to write a status on my Facebook about it because last time I wrote about Ed Sheeran, ( I kept seeing negative statuses about him and I genuinely felt like I had missed something) so I asked Facebook what Ed Sheeran has done wrong - Maybe he kicked a granny in the face, or pooed on a public train and I hadn't heard about it yet?! It turned out he's done nothing wrong. People just hate him for being popular, and they hate hearing him all over the radio. This kicked the potatoes on my Facebook page though and I quickly realised I had sparked some sort of after school fight on my own page. OOPS.
What made me laugh about the Harry Styles article, is that there was a man in the comments ranting on and on about how the music scene was thriving 25 years ago and that everyone had a chance to "make it", then he essentially blamed Harry Styles himself for single handedly destroying the music industry since 25 years ago... it's hilarious. I don't understand this. I don't understand why people are getting so riled up about popular faces and names that they hate JUST because.... but none of these people think to put that same energy into going out and finding the bands and musicians that they DO like, the ones they will "support".
It makes ALL the bloody difference to a musician to have a team of people behind them believing in what they're doing. All it really takes is for all of those people who don't really care for Ed Sheeran to go online, find their favourite band and download all their music on spotify or itunes or whatever, infact, you don't even have to download it, just "streaming" and "sharing" it is enough to get that music rated higher up and maybe, even possibly in the charts. That seems to be how music works these days... lots of promoters and organisers won't even look at a musician or band that hasn't got loads of "likes" on Facebook, "views" on Youtube and "streams" elsewhere and you don't even have to leave your chair to do those things. Going to shows helps too, even if its your local boozer... I've seen it first hand how much Doozer loves his gigs, and how much it means to him when people are there because it makes the night great. It doesn't matter if five people show up or fifty people show up, its another friendly face to share a pint with. For some musicians, this is their therapy. And for me, as an audience member, sometimes I feel like going to a gig is my therapy too.
If you're really that fucked off about Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles or Doozer McDooze... then go and DO something about it (I don't mean go and beat them up or anything) I mean go and do something positive about it, go to a gig you DO like, go stream the music you love and back it up with your friends and make a difference, because you really can and before you know it, you'll be moaning about this band you used to love before they sold out and got all over the radio.
That's us actually out down the pub, drinking "Fruit Bat" Cider listening to live music by Dave Sharp (Solo Musician from The Alarm")
What do you think???
Comments below please :)