Well it’s been a good week and yesterday was a good day. The cd for Nine Chains To The Moon has come in and I’ve been basking and celebrating and in general feeling good. Seeing that my songs are occasionally getting favourited on SoundCloud and my BandCamp statistics are favouring more plays than skips. Yesterday specifically was a good day though and it actually breaks down to one hour or so. I checked my email and almost missed the letter from The FolkFest because it went to my junk mail folder. But I caught it and read it and it started with Thanks and Unfortunately. I guess a little background: The FolkFest runs a song writing contest with the Ship & Anchor, Lacey sent me the link (Thanks Lacey). So I was a tiny bit bummed but I never expect to win those things, I’ve long since stopped getting my hopes up. I think of myself as a artist who will not be understood in their time like Van Gogh and Sarah Silverman, it makes little rejections easier. So I leave my email and go to Facebook and lo and behold the very first thing is an old friend saying she’s listening to my music. And I thought well you take the good with the bad, up with the down, and there you have the facts of life. I was okay, I was on balance. I watched an episode of House. Episode three. The one with the babies.Heartbreaking wasn’t it? Anyway there’s 40 minutes and it’s time for bed but everyone checks the internet one more time before bed, right, everyone. And as I opened my email I remembered that contestants in the FolkFest contest got to upload two songs, one in each category. I saw a 1 next to my junkmail and thought hey this could be a letter about the other song. This is what amazes me about the mind, just how fast we think. In the time it took to mouse over to that little 1 I was already telling myself to prepare for it being spam when, lo and behold again, it was from the FolkFest and I instantly recognized it was a different shape than the first letter. Again human brain, faster than I can read a single word it’s taking in information. Well that first single word that I did read was Congratulations. I had won. Either Solitary Light or Pride Of My Hometown earned me a slot playing at the Ship & Anchor Monday May 19th (Show starts at noon).
I felt like basking and celebrating some more but I was already in my pajamas. I went to bed and dreamed I was on tour with Snoop Dogg and we were stopping at gas stations looking for Caramilk bars.
Thing is, I’d been thinking about a blog, sort of an addendum to my blog about ‘Our Scene’ about being thick-skinned as a musician and how I’m really not. When I looked at my early Bandcamp statistics and saw that people were listening to less than 10% of songs like After The War my first reaction was embarrassment. If I could have called those people up and apologized I would have. To me, if someone doesn’t like Frank Turner it’s because they have bad taste and are stupid and it’s okay to throw rocks at them, if someone doesn’t like me it’s because I’m a selfish, talentless, bottom-runger who’s been coddled thus far trying to play a big-kids game. This is hypocritical. As a pragmatist it goes against my beliefs. Though I should stop throwing rocks at people who don’t like Frank Turner, I know that. Also the eight people (or one person eight times but that would be weird) who listened to less than 10% of That Day In September 1974 are cheating themselves. You heard the Johnny Cash vocals and moved missing the sickest gospel harmonies at the end.Someone should throw rocks at you. Like I said though that was last week and now I’m getting fewer plays but they’re more complete. I guess my audience is finding me and I’m proud to be obscure. I read all kinds of biographies and no matter the field the subject is in, though especially music, the best part is the pre-fame time when they’re doing their best work and completely broke. I’d rather stay in that phase forever than muddle through anything else.
What I realize is that I don’t want to be thick-skinned. I came here, to the temple of music, to feel it all. The highs, lows, the stings and the bliss, everything. My dad showed me a quote once that referred to creativity as profound sensitivity, every friend is a lover and the slightest things are felt so strongly they have to be turned into art. I want to stay thinned-skinned and be an open book, it’s what makes me a good songwriter, I absorb the intense feelings and turn them into something to help me understand them, to help you understand them, and to help people understand themselves.
it’s what makes me a good songwriter. That felt a bit weird to write but I can say that now because I literally am a winner. Alastair wins at songwriting is a statement that’s true. Encase it comes up on your SATs. And I can still hear that cynical voice-of-the-cool-kids in my head saying Oh look at you, so happy to have won a little local songwriting contest. And I say yes. Yes I am.