It’s not every day that a busker finds himself headlining a theater. It’s not every day that you find a theater headliner busking. After playing a couple rural theaters in northern New Mexico and the panhandle of Oklahoma (where I sold my weight in kazoos and got drunk off the power of conducting an entire theater full of kazoo players), we were back on the highway and out of money. It’s amazing how quickly money goes when you’re on the road. The rent goes in the gas tank, and the rest into our food tanks.
If you’re an artist like me you probably struggle with feelings of doubt, irrelevance and despair on a regular basis. I often go through spells of “what am I doing?”, “why haven’t I made it yet?” to: “I’m not good enough,” “no one cares about what I’m making so why bother?” etc etc. The voices of doom are assholes and I’m gradually learning how to deal with them and not let them sabotage the good thing I’ve got going. In fact I’ve come up with a few tips as to how to stay cool when these voices start their onslaught.
photo by Elle DioGuardi (http://elledioguardi.com/)
One of my favorite things about science fiction is how a creator can project their vision of the future. However, as it is a projection, and we only have our own experience to draw from, often we color this future vision with bits and pieces from our now. Like having characters that exist 200 years from now conversing in vernacular from our time. Or having an alien race appear humanoid. One of the best examples of this is the famous “Cantina Band” from Star Wars playing “alien” music that sounds a lot like jazz.
If there is one thing as a musician and composer that I hate, it’s being asked the question, “So what kinds of music do you like/listen to?” Not only is it an unfair and biased leading question. But when folks like myself answer, “Oh, I like everything,” usually that is met with a smile and nod combo or total silence. Nobody seems to know how to react to the fact that … dear lord … he probably likes classical and jazz too. And yes, this is a very true fact. I’ll even throw in new age for the hell of it! Here, I’m going to talk about another aspect of these different listening habits, though. More in the vein of how many genres and artists have and continue to influence me up to this very stage in my composing career.
A few years ago I was traveling from St. Ann to Kingston, Jamaica. While on the highway I noticed a police jeep signaling me to stop. I wasn’t speeding nor was I doing anything out of order. So I hesitated a bit to make a halt. But the cops insisted. Therefore I finally pulled over.
Will a football hooligan ruin your day on the River Cam? It’s unlikely today.
At secondary school in Cambridge, I was friends with an extremely strong boy. Let’s call him Alan.
Once, all the boys in our year were involved in a rough version of rugby. You had to get the ball from one side of the playground to the other and could use any means necessary to get the ball off your opponent. Most of us didn’t want to hold onto the ball too long for obvious reasons. But Alan went the whole length of the playground, jaw clenched, taking a torrent of kicks and punches like a badge of honor. He was a warrior who did not register physical pain. For that episode, we all got lined up and told off by the headmaster.