Friday, 14 August 2009

"To be or not to be"

To be, or not to be? Whether it be nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes…….or just knock it on the head and go and learn to play golf instead.

There has to be fewer and sadder sights than to see the disappointed look on a publicans face when the much hyped band has promised so much, and yet delivered so little. Sadder still, the final debate over the agreed fee, the honoring of which would have resulted in a significant loss for the landlord on that evening.

Why the mentioning of such sad states of affairs??? We went and had another monumental flop that’s why.

The Mudheads had been booked to play in a Bristol venue that has been growing in status and respect and we wanted to play there. It has a proper stage, PA, lights and even a changing room (granted a cleverly placed curtain drapes over the urinals and even as a three piece we were tripping over each other, but at least this toilet had a carpet and a television)

Perhaps common sense rather foolishly took a back seat when you consider that the gig was in the middle of Factory Fortnight and on the same weekend as the Bristol Harbor festival.

However, undeterred we accepted the offer of a whole night to ourselves without a support act and set about promoting the dickens out of said event.

My promoting I mean e-mailing everybody we have ever met. Saturation in media coverage from magazines, newspapers, the radio and even television stations. Then adding the event to every music website in existence, even those in other countries.

After that we went back to e-mailing friends and not withstanding crimes of blackmail, extortion and downright threats of violence for non-attendance.

There probably wasn’t a person in the western hemisphere that was not aware of the gig.

Of course days before the gig the excuses would be forwarded to us. Family members that claimed to be in Africa, mothers dying, that sort of thing. Even one honest statement…”Nah, I can’t be bothered”… but truthful none the less, at least we knew where we stood.

Even so, we were confident of a crowd big enough to impress the venue and guarantee a return visit.

The music scene is oiled, well oiled on optimism. It has to be, why else would any one of us put ourselves through the constant embarrassment of a ‘lousy turnout’ night after night.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. The turn out although enthusiastic and supportive was by any scale ‘tiny’. In a venue that could accommodate 150 people, swigging beer and sipping wine. I think we made about 30.

That was after selling our souls to the Gods of rock & roll…..30 people, and a good 10 of those were regular drinkers in the venue and would have been there who ever was playing.

As I have already mentioned, the conversation with the Landlord at the end of the evening was to say the least embarrassing, He loved what we did; he thought we were a great band; but that did not deflect from the fact that by booking us he had lost money.

Can you see now why so many pubs and clubs are ditching live music altogether and putting in giant video screens to watch the footy.

My only solace was in fellow musicians that had suffered the same indignity over that weekend.

Friends from Vienna in Austria had flown to London (at their own expense) to perform two gigs.

The first night they played to three people. The second night, flanked by a band from Australia and a band from Japan, they got six.

Do you start to think, that as a country we deserve the likes of X-Factor and Pop Idol because that is what we are going to be left with when there are no venues left to play in and no artistes left to perform any how.

Right…….it’s tee not tea! When they say club I don’t have to hit people with it (no matter how tempting it may be), and a handicap refers to my standing next to the professional and not to the fact that I am retarded in any way.

DUCK!! sorry….. FOUR!!....