Two questions

"Mum! Come in here. I've got a load of blog posts and I want to start them all with quotes from us."
"Hang on. I got confused and tried to work with the computer with a foot treadle."
"There are two questions I get asked a lot. In relation to music, so not 'what colour is your hair really?'. What do you think they are?"
"Who's the most famous person you've met?"
"No, questions by actual music people, not you and your mates."
"Oh. Are you single?"
"Music people, not teenagers with guitars."
"Do you have an informed opinion on the Rolf Harris situation?"
"A careers person might ask it."
"Do you like sitting at a desk all day, or do you like being out and about?"
"Nope, not what we're looking for."
"Can we buy a good review from you?"
"No, that's in a different article."
"Are you done with the weights? And do you want to add the courgette?"

There are two questions I frequently get asked. They may not be the most interesting or commonly occurring questions, but they are two that bob their heads into conversation with alarming frequency, interest, and contrast.

The first of these is "how did you get into the music industry?"
Since about Hit The Deck (late April), reviewing has slipped into a timeless thing and with the culmination of festival work and college work, I've been forgetting things that weren't totally essential. Basically, I forgot who said this to me, and if whoever said this reads this, please show yourself and I deeply apologise for totally forgetting you.
They asked me this question and I replied, "by accident", to which they laughed and said, "isn't that always the case?"
I got into music because my best friend cancelled on me for a gig, and I had to shift an Emily's Army ticket via social media in about six hours. A review company found the tweet, asked if I wanted to review it, and wa-la. The rest is history being made.*
I don't believe in luck, so I think it's sheer determination and probable foolhardiness that has kept me in music for two years now. But I am perfectly aware (again, to be discussed in another article), that no matter how much I throw around working with Union J, Rixton, Conor Maynard, Lower Than Atlantis etc. to impress (or irritate) non-music people, I only have my toe in the water. I am here by an accident, a happy accident, but an accident nonetheless, and so far circumstances are going in my favour. This summer I intend to push the boat out and get much more fully involved.

For the record, I do not know what I would be doing otherwise, probably continuing acting even though I am notably abysmal at it. The path of straightforward journalism has been one I've entertained over the years, though with any discussion of war generally reducing me to tears, I've been somewhat reluctant to study it. I may have bitten the bullet and studied it, I may have pursued creative writing, or psychology, but I can fairly safely say I would not be where I am today, this far along this path, if it weren't for my best friend, then and now, letting me down on that day, as he has continued to do ever since.

The second question is harder to romanticise. It's a question almost every actor gets asked, and I believe the same goes for musicians. One the other hand, as demonstrated in David Nicholls' One Day, it's a question also posed to waiters for the opposite reason. However, it's not one I expected to find in an area of music that wasn't performance-related, per say.
"What's your other job/what do you do besides music journalism/what do you study full time/what's your other option?"
No, really, I just do music journalism, I have to earnestly reassure the interrogator, with a smile somewhere between "honestly, I'm sane" and "honestly, I'm mad". Yes, I really think I can do music journalism full time, yes, I want to study it and make a career out of it.
I believe we're at a point where Joe Blogs is au fait enough with the ways of Spotify, YouTube, file sharing and illegal downloading to know that unless you're really big, every musician is (pardon my French) getting fucked left, right, and center by rip offs in bad sales, because everyone is getting their music someway other than paying.
I also think everyone has heard the story of "two cups of Starbucks coffee is the same cost as a CD, but which will you buy?" but I'll probably delve into this idea in another post.
So musicians need another job. Often it's bar work or the like, or tedious shift work (easier to get time off if you're an unspecialised drone, from what I hear), but some are lucky enough to get another music industry job - take Chris Pennells as your poster boy for this. Guitarist for Deaf Havana, and (from what his Instagram and an article I read a few months back show) sound guy for various London venues.
I don't have an alternative to music journalism, this is my all, there is very little money in the bottom majority of the music industry, in fact so little that an outside, a real job is assumed, and I adamantly refuse this. I may now (just) be an adult, but I wish to retain all my foolish determination and never succumb to a "proper" job.

*A few days ago I was explaining this story to my friend and we came to the conclusion that the biggest two driving factors in my music industry adoration came from a bit of a weird boss, and the death of a deer (that I had nothing to do with, and only found out about, through someone I've only met once's autobiography, about eight and a half years after it happened).


Popular posts from this blog

2016, a disgustingly good year (bar all the shit)

Half marathons are boring unless you're quick

25 things I learnt in St. Davids, Wales