Tag Archives: addict

What Makes The Perfect Gig?

For years I’ve been searching for the perfect gig and last week, I experienced it.

Don’t get me wrong; there have been many brilliant gigs in my career, but what makes a perfect gig? Is it about getting hundreds of people to turn out? Is it about getting paid a wadge of cash and getting M&Ms in the rider?

Actually it’s quite simple:

  • Everyone involved enjoys the music and each other.
  • The organiser, venue and performer get paid enough.

This means I enjoy performing and the audience enjoys and engages with the show. In other words ‘people get it!’ They get the music and ideally I can get to know them too.

In order for the gig to be viable for the organiser/venue, enough people need to attend to make it financially viable. This means I too get paid enough to represent a fair recompense for my effort.

Last Friday I was lucky enough to play at The Jellyfish Productions Gallery in Buckfastleigh (Devon), as the sole performer in a gig organised by Ami Lee of the captivating acapella trio The Hummingbirds.
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Let me tell you some of the wonderful things about this gig. 15-20 people attended which was the perfect amount for the beautiful gallery setting. I got to meet each of them before I played and chat to them afterwards whilst browsing the artwork. I knew who I was playing for. Two long time fans had made requests, which I practiced especially and performed. The space was just right to play unplugged and the whole audience were just so responsive it was unbelievable, even singing along unprompted. Almost everyone who heard me for the first time that night liked the music so much they walked out with a CD. It was a wonderful night!

In 10 years of performing there have been gigs with no good side. I wasn’t paid, the audience would rather I wasn’t there because they wanted to talk to their friends without having to shout over some music, and the venue held me personally responsible for low turnout. These are bad gigs. Why? Basically because the music may be good but all the relationships are either negative or disconnected. At Jellyfish Galleries all the relationships were brilliant! The gallery owner, gig promoter, performer and audience members all respected and appreciated each other hugely. They connected and shared personal ideas, opinions and feelings.

But even a gig where one thing is out of place can be a horrible experience. Being well paid but musically ignored is demoralising, and having a warm fuzzy gig which sets you back £50 in fuel with no payment, simply leaves a panic about how to pay bills. Even a gig in which they audience is suitably impressed but fails to ‘get’ the music can feel a little sad.

So, my message to frustrated musicians out there is that the ideal IS possible! Jellyfish Productions was actually not my first nor my only perfect gig since I made the decision to create gigs that have the potential to be wonderful evenings for all involved. After years of oscillating, I’ve pretty much given up noisy pub gigs or anything where I’d be considered background music. Instead, I’ve focused on unplugged environments and listening spaces. It’s finally paying off, because when people listen, they hear.

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Watch out! Everything is trying to addict you to it!

“Why do people watch so much TV?” someone asked me. “Because like most things, it’s trying addict us to it” was the first response that came to my mind.

It’s true. Humans love to interact. Screens provide us with a form of interaction and we respond. But SCREENS ARE ALL AROUND US! We watch people’s lives on TV, send messages through facebook, text, watch online videos, comment on posts by our favourite celebrities, all out of our desire to interact. What’s wrong with that? Well, a friend of mine always says “you can tell something is addictive if the more you do it, the worse you feel, yet you keep wanting more of it”.Square-eyes Ask yourself if there’s anything in your life that you feel this way about? The likelihood is that “screen time” is on your list. You know how you’re tempted to just keep clicking on more and more distracting things on the Internet even when you’re not really enjoying it? Or maybe you can spend 16hrs playing a computer game without noticing RSI, eyestrain and muscle cramp?

The problem with all these interactions is that because they are through a screen, they are not truly emotionally fulfilling. A dog knows that people on Skype have no smell, and part of us knows that we are not getting any human warmth from screens, even if we are interacting with friends. But on the surface, we are fooled, and the more we engage with screens, the less time we spend with real people. We get more lonely. Screen time doesn’t stop the loneliness but it temporarily blocks it. So whilst we don’t feel satisfied by screen staring, we feel worse when we turn it off. This is how people end up spending all their recreational hours in front of the TV or computer. It’s addictive because it pretends it’s alleviates loneliness, whilst making you feel MORE lonely. It’s masquerading as the cure for the problem it’s creating.

Don’t forget: TV wants you to watch it, so it can show you adverts. It uses cliff-hanger endings to addict you to programs so you’ll watch more. Computer games want you to keep playing, so you’ll buy the next game. The Internet wants to keep you clicking on little 3min distractors until they total hours. It wants to collect your user data and show you that sidebar of ads. These ads, compound the problem, fooling your psyche into thinking you’ll feel happier if you buy a certain product or service. But really, this is the same premise – spending creates temporary high that can mask unhappiness for a little while. Consumerism too masquerades as the cure for the problem it’s creating.

So what’s the answer? Well, go back to your list of things that make you feel worse, yet are strangely compelling. Now, make a second list: a list of things that really do make you feel good, like seeing friends, or learning something new. Instead of simply banning yourself from the things on your first list, start doing more of the things on your second list. Put one in your diary every day of the week, and soon you won’t have time for the things on list 1. You can ban yourself from list 1 too if you like, but it’s much more important to fill your life with things from list 2, otherwise you’ll be left with an empty hole where list 1 used to be. Chances are, if you don’t give up screen-time altogether, you’ll notice that it’ll lose its additive pull for you.

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