I always thought it was good to be idealistic. Especially when I was a loner. Most people agree that the world needs (and does) change, and it’s new concepts that bring this about. But it can also be to one’s detriment, should you get stuck in a certain mindset.
When I was younger, in my art (which became my life), everything had to be perfect. Everything had to happen just right, exactly how I wanted it. Every occurrence was a tale, a story, and therefore needed to be adequately romantic. And you don’t know how much of a hindrance this was. On the one hand my writing benefited from this outlook, big time. Having a perfect world in my mind in which I could escape to, in which everything that I created stemmed from, well, it was a great source of inspiration. Everything I wrote was tainted wonderfully with it and it helped me develop my own unique style. But as far as interacting with people, networking, making things happen, well, it just got in the way.
Being a singer-songwriter, one of the first things you need to do is put a band together. And for the first few years of me doing music seriously I never really managed to. Not properly at least. I gave such importance to the ‘meeting’s of the other band members; there had to be some whimsical tale involved, some great legend and story. But that’s just not how it happens, not much at least. I refused to put up any adverts or search for musicians in any conventional way. And not surprisingly, because of this nothing ever happened.
I also refused to use the internet. This was probably what held me back the most. It just didn’t fit into to my perfect, medieval, back-to-nature, technophobe idea of how life should be. And trying to connect with people without the internet, as far as organising gigs and building a following went, it was hopeless. I still managed to get gigs but it took a lot of effort; a lot of shyly speaking face to face. It wasn’t until I was 24, in 2009, that I actually started going online. And once I did, well, that’s when things started happening.
Later on, in the bands I played in, ideals got in the way again. Worrying about whether or not we should be making money from something so pure as music; worrying about what audiences we should appeal to; worrying about getting a record deal and what bad things might come of it. And the result of these worries? We obtained no money, no audience and no record deals. It was such a relief when eventually I let go of the weight of all these damaging thoughts; I stopped trying to be so controlling and let the world do what it wanted with me.
It’s been a gradual process, my stopping being so idealistic. And don’t worry, I still stand by my morals, my thoughts on how we should treat one another. As with everything in life it’s all about getting the right balance, us humans on our tightrope. But I’ve found it so liberating to keep an open mind, trying new things that I usually wouldn’t. And some are shit. But some are good. And getting more involved in things brings me closer to other people, making more things happen; leading to a much richer experience for myself…
Like this article? Then maybe you’ll like my book, At Home in the Bushes, about a year I spent living in a tent, cycling & busking around Britain. It’s available HERE