“Whenever we choose to tell [a narrative], we are choosing to silence others.” Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus.
My diaries are an example of that, because I will always have the feeling that I’ve missed something out, or am talking a load of bullshit so I’ll try to keep it breif.
The posts are self-moderated by the late-night whims of an uninformed musician attempting to remember something. There is no formula; I’m not satisfied with my knowledge, point of view or attitude.
The modern view of happiness, in my case, the view of a music career, conflates economic growth with consumption and competition. For example, being employed playing a famous bands’ songs has its positive and negative aspects like any other occupation, and is not heaven. Sometimes it might feel heavenly, but if I don’t find meaning in the time in between, my mind will most certainly get into trouble.
Lately I solve this problem by using time to read. Maybe I’m getting thicker skin. It’s also practice for dying: leaving, leaving, leaving places behind, getting a feel for this by appreciating what there is, and drawing some memory. If not, it’s really okay. So the challenging things are different than they were before. Writing is like a lot of things, digging through the cuttings in the trash to find all the pieces of a puzzle, and learning to think aloud.
We all have to be vigilant about who our friends are, especially when you work with a lot of people. It makes sense that actors will traditionally not often meet the audience after the show. I’m meeting genuine people around the world with common interests, intelligent and hard working technicians most of the time with an unfaultering sense of teamwork. Technicians seem to never take the piss. The microcosm of one show on one night brings a local community together. I wonder what else we would pull together for? We have some genuine solidarity with the audience: freedom of thought and expression, a sense of humour in the face of austerity and conservatism, and music that is balanced between being gentle and volatile and not in a volume war. So even if I get depressed, that is a lot of good stuff, and depression is fine with me, just move on.
In any profession we sacrifice the potential of further study and imminent development in exchange for definition of our regular income (the more busy you are, the better you must be doing in life), revolving around infinite economic growth (which is impossible, it has a time limit, there is much more going on). We don’t find a shangri-la of meaning by making a great band, even if the paying audience passionately believes so, and even if it has a lot of objective meaning. The fact that we pay to see a band makes us more willing to believe in their stories. And that doesn’t make the band the expert on the subjects that the songs are about, and they don’t have to be. The same goes for writing. We don’t live in a world where people only do one job anymore, even though we specialise more than ever. Knowledge and energy are growing faster than we can read or get degrees in universities. Then technology is making our expertise irrelevant, and we have to reinvent ourselves.
With such rapid development, we are under pressure to become experts in things we cannot. But we try because we have to. We must learn to fix our things, farm our food, think for ourselves, and stop worshipping ourselves. In the bubble of these music tours, it’s easy for me to ‘rest on my laurels’, image and status the job might bring, and resist the temptation to think I’m an arbiter of taste or humanism, modernism, aesthetics of ‘punk’, because I’m not. This life is full of contradictions, with reasonable people, nonetheless we are doing business on a good foundation.
Spelling Out a Shared Reality
I’m sitting in Das Triest in Vienna currently, in a room I have stayed in on two different tours managed by Alfred Wihalm. I think the management knows that I have stayed in this room and it feels lke home, it really feels like no one else has stayed in here since I was here. That is so lovely, and this time there is a bowl of fruit. Should I feel this is normal? Expect this treatment? Of course not. I have to spell out reality because I don’t know it.