The Calling


It’s 2:36am. Clearly I’m not asleep, given these words are being typed into a laptop literally as I write. Fortunately it’s fairly unusual for me to be this awake in the middle of the night. When I am it’s often as a result of some caffeine intake later than is really sensible, but not that’s not the case today. Rather than disturb anyone by tossing and turning in bed with an increasing level of frustration at not managing a further period of REM I’ve consciously decided to get up and make some practical use of the situation.

I’m reminded of something I saw about people historically having 2 periods of sleep rather than one. A quick search and I find a post on ScienceAlert which was posted only days ago (although originally posted on The Conversation a few years back) which at least confirms I didn’t imagine that even if it doesn’t explain my current state of early morning consciousness.

But this post isn’t about reasons for failure in the ability to sleep for 6 or more hours uninterrupted, and yes I know that kind of makes the previous 160 words kind of redundant preamble but hey, this is all bonus time so who cares!

No, what I want to pick up on is something that is something that I think has been bothering me for a number of months now; What should I be doing? From the age of about 13 I’ve dreamt of performing and working in music. I’ve sung in choirs, vocal ensembles, fronted several bands, written and produced songs in the 30 or so years since then, with varying degrees of satisfaction and enjoyment. I keep coming back to it but never feel like I’ve done enough. Then I dipped into a book I’d bought my wife for Christmas, Mark Manson’s “The Subtle Art of not Giving a F**k”.

I’d been questioning the point of the 9 to 5 and looking for something with more meaning, and was looking for some feel good words of wisdom that would bring things back into focus. I found a chapter which could have been written just for me. You can read it in a slightly amended form on Mark’s blog but in essence the bit that I tuned into (no pun intended), was where he describes his realisation as to why he never made it as a rock star. This left me wondering if I, like Mark, “wanted the reward and not the struggle.”

As I lay awake in bed immediately prior to deciding to make use of the temporal insomnia, my mind flitted back to songs I had had in my head during the previous day, a Seal track lead me to an Erasure song from the same time then to thinking how I don’t listen to Erasure as much as a used to, despite never falling out of love with them. The conscious chain of thought then drifted to “A Little Respect” and back to an idea for an act I had a few months ago of doing a one man show consisting of songs from 80’s synth duos. It would allow me to go out, sing songs I’ve always loved and stick a mannequin behind a keyboard if I didn’t manage to find anyone else interested enough to form an actual duo. Pet Shop Boys, Go West, ABC, Hue and Cry, Tear’s for Fears, Electronic, the aforementioned Erasure and even some Wham! would make for a fabulous “guilty pleasure” playlist. With tracks from each new duo providing an excuse for a prop or costume change.

I remember being introduced to the idea of visualisation as a means of helping to achieving goals. The principle being the more detail you apply to the idea of you doing something, of actually picturing all the tiny details of what you are wanting to achieve the more likely it is that you will get closer to success in that pursuit. Well my visualisations certainly don’t lack the detail. The question I’m facing is, “Is this the struggle I want to pursue?”

If I was so intent on music as the source of struggle and happiness, why am I writing a blog post about it first rather than picking out songs for a setlist? Surely the latter takes less effort than pouring out the previous 700 plus words? Is the writing another excuse to avoid starting the hard work, one more busy reason not to be phoning venues, committing to gigs, getting out there and actually performing if I say I enjoy it so much. Would I be better suited to simply writing as a creative output where the emotional risk of failure is zero?

I keep coming back to music, can’t seem to help it, the ideas for shows, lyrics, picking up mutating earworms out of new songs I hear. Despite the fears, I know having performed in front of people, the moments spent delivering a song you love to an audience who appreciate it are ones of true joy and satisfaction. Maybe it’s just been so long that I’d forgotten what it was I enjoyed. Maybe I need to stop writing and start picking out some more songs for a setlist…

Definitely (Maybe) Tomorrow.


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