What it’s like

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You want to know what it’s like?

The majority of musicians love what they do. It is a lifestyle and more often than not, a labour of love. Most of them didn’t study it in any kind of traditional way. They might have taken lessons for a few years, probably back in high school, but mostly they continue playing out of love. It is an outlet for expression and just because they couldn’t afford to study music at a University level does not mean that that door should be closed.
They found other like-minded and like-inspired musicians who shared their passion and love. Despite going though different phases, bands and friends, they continued to pursue their craft. But it had to be a hobby for the majority of them.
Why?
There is a host of different answers for a host of different people. The majority of musicians had to get jobs outside their passion. Some jobs took preference over their love, whether briefly or for an extended period of time. Some of them fell behind never to play again, save for a few informal jams, but I can assure you, the love and passion still burns for many of them regardless of how intense.
The rest soldiered on to find new forms for their expression. New bands were formed and bands disappeared, only to show up in new forms and so on and so on until they found a group of people who shared an ideal and understood where their love of music resided and what it truly meant for them.
Maybe this group of like-minded, like-inspired musicians all have had to take full-time jobs. Jobs that don’t necessarily always allow the time for band practice or even personal practice. Maybe some even struggled to find a job and had an income below minimum wage.

Imagine you were part of this group of musicians and had to find a place to rehearse, because neighbourhood garages and living rooms were too loud for the neighbours to bare.
Maybe this rehearsal room costs a couple hundred bucks for a few hours of rehearsal AND writing new material.
Maybe one practice a week isn’t enough.
Maybe band practice twice a week isn’t enough and you need to have a personal, quiet time practice by yourself. Maybe that costs money too.
Maybe you broke strings, skins and shed too much wood and have had to pay for the upkeep of your instruments.
Maybe your equipment runs the risk of getting stolen from time to time and you are unable to afford insurance.
Maybe you land a gig and it is the most exciting thing, because you get to bare your souls to an audience. Or so you hope. You hope for an audience to listen and like your creative expressions. You also hope that they like you enough to come to another show, in hopes to build a fan base to help relieve some of the financial burden. So you market and advertise for your shows in the capacity you can with the hope that you can get a good attendance.
Why?
Because it costs you to play at a night club. Venues want to see money, even though all you and the band/s really cares about is a heart-felt, passionate performance which the attended can (hopefully) appreciate.
So what happens when there is a poor attendance?
You and the band/s (about 3 bands per show) pay in however much you didn’t make from your puny R20/R30 cover charge. A “successful” night would be if you made (anything.) over a grand at the door (after deductions from club/engineers/door staff/etc.). That’s a little over R300 PER band.
That one gig, that took weeks of practice and rehearsal, over and above full days of work, only succeeded in paying for ONE practice.
Maybe your band has a few songs ready to be immortalized in a recording. How much is that going to cost? Well whatever it is going to cost, a percentage is more than likely going to come out of your band’s pocket.
Why?
Because you love what you do.
Are you making any money?
Fuck no, but does that mean you have to stop doing it?
Maybe. Maybe eventually.
Do you want to?
FUCK NO!
What if your band is lucky enough to land a sweet gig, but the organizers say: “We’d love to have you on the bill, but we are unable to sponsor or pay you/for you. You going to have to find your own way.”

The majority of musicians have jobs and much of the time it is difficult to do some of the things that are required from a band, extraneous from performing, practicing and writing.
Why not get a manager?
Cos we can’t necessarily afford to pay for two practices a week, pay for upkeep of instruments, finance a decent recording and play shows too poorly attended to be paid.
Maybe because of the poorly attended show the venue gets annoyed because you didn’t bring in the numbers you hoped for.
Maybe clubs stop doing live music because it doesn’t bring in the money.
Maybe there are only a few places left that have live music…

True musicians and artists are not necessarily concerned with money. They are concerned with the expression of their craft as an individual and as a group. They care for the platform for their expression because they need it, because it is part of life itself and that platform is mostly concerned with money because in these times money is the savior of all and without it they will not be safe.

That’s what it’s like. I do what I do because I love it, so I will do what I love to my capacity. If one can’t even do that, then what is the point of doing anything?
I do know that with more helping hands the burden will be lighter.

 

P.S  This is written purely from my experience in my local alternative rock scene in Cape Town, South Africa, although I am sure there are others around the world who can relate.

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In memory of a sacred temple

 

He was a cosmic expression.

He was a temple.

He pulled teeth from his mouth as if they were sacred teachings

and planted it within the dirt inside his chest

and tried to make a garden.

For the concepts he pulled and the love he tried to push

I will forever have respect.

May we always remember the meanings behind the appearances;

and although the appearance is at peace,

may the meanings never rest.

Freedom day, free mind, free life…

Some of you may know I reside in South Africa, which recently celebrated (27 April) Freedom Day. Freedom day celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid elections which happened on the same day in 1994. It was definitely a victory for the time, and the more I thought about it, the more questions popped up. On my freedom day, and up until now, I been doing quite a bit of reading, watching documentaries and brushing up on some things I didn’t know. Some of the stuff I came across I knew already, some I didn’t, but it did put a lot ofit into perspective. Yes, perhaps it is a bit depressing reading about the inequalities of the world and how it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible to do anything about it.

When I was in school I had no interest in school work. It was something that I needed to do to try to obtain high marks so I can go study more, blah blah blah. I had no interest in history, reading, researching, occult, politics etc, but now something has happened. I feel like I need to do something. Anything. But what? The only thing I can really do is share information. Share consciousness. Weather you choose to read the information or choose to use it or not use it is entirely up to you. I can’t just sit here and see injustice take a seat on the throne of justice. Information is the most important way for people to make a decision, if that information is corrupt, the decision and the outcome of that corrupt information may have greater implications. Why would anyone want to distribute lies? The main answer to that is money. It is scary to see the implications of money and its capitalistic system. The problem with going up against capitalism is that you automatically get labelled a socialist, communist and even unpatriotic. We must remember that every story has 2 sides to it. It is not wrong to explore both sides of the story. I think what has happened now is that a lot of people are either 1) too distracted with life to care 2) authority scares them into thinking one side of the story is wrong and anyone who thinks otherwise is an enemy of state or 3) We just don’t care and we think “That’s life!” Wrong. This is NOT life.

1994 was supposed to be change for the better, freedom for all.  Where is that freedom? How have things gotten any better? It hasn’t. The fact is things have gotten worse. Not just here in South Africa, but all over the world including the land of the free and home of the brave. I started reading an e-book by an ex-South African who has been living in UK for the past 12 years, and it is a great place to start to get information about political South Africa and its place in the global conspiracy. Many of us know that the South African government, the ANC is incredibly corrupt. My question is what will change if, lets say, the DA comes into power? Im sure there would be change, but would it be enough? Mandela had such great aspirations and ideas to liberate South Africa and its inhabitants. What happened to the freedom charter? What happened to those ideals and ideas? We need to understand that its global politics, every country is at the mercy of those with money, and unfortunately South Africa still owes the IMF a lot of money. We currently owe approximately $109.4 BILLION.

Words like democracy and freedom mean very little these days, but one word that controls and dominates both is capitalism. Capitalism is the new word for politics, for it is money that puts those people in power. Dont you think the rich have an agenda? They love their money because it comes standard with power. Dont be fooled for a second that you and governments have an equal say in how a country is run. It doesn’t matter what country you are from, we are all effected by it. We are sucked into false hopes and promises, it may have made sense at a time but it is no longer relevent anymore. We are so far down the rabbit hole that we have become willing slaves. I urge you to read more, question more and remember every story has two sides. Be mindful of where you get your information, most ofmainstream media is nothing more than propaganda. Remember, the small percentageofwealthy elitesmay have money, but we, the majority of the world have sheer numbers. They cannotdictateand control us indefinitely, the cracks have begun and are now easily visible. It’s up to you to decidewhether youwant to acknowledge the cracks and do something about it, or would you rather have your home become derelict?

 

Human rights?

Yesterday (21st March) saw my country (South Africa) celebrate Human Rights Day.  I think most people were just happy to have mid-week public holiday to save them from work and give them the extra boost to see them through the rest of the week.   I think very few gave much thought about human rights.  It’s a topic that concerns everyone; we are all born with it, many have to fight for it, some even live without it, some take it for granted, whilst some don’t care much for it –  it’s the spectrum of human rights.  Yesterday morning as we lay in bed, the topic of South Africa and Africa came up.  It’s morbid history that still repeats itself, with different plot twists.  I found myself paging through an old high school text-book and came across the section of the U.N and its intentions improving human rights and lives across the world.  I then read the 12 points of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” :

  1. All human beings, regardless of race, colour, sex or religion are born free and have the same rights.
  2. All people have the right to life and liberty.
  3. Slavery and the slave trade shall be banned in all their forms.
  4. No one should suffer torture, or inhumane punishment. No one should be in prison without trial.
  5. All people are equal before the law and have the right to a fair trial.
  6. All people have the right to travel freely in their own country.  They also have the right to leave their own country and return to it.
  7. Adult men and women have the right to marry.  Men and women are entitled to equal rights in marriage.
  8. All people have the right to own property.
  9. All people have the right to freedom of thought and religion and to worship in freedom.
  10. People have the right to take part in the government of their country.
  11. All people have the right to work, and to equal pay for equal work.
  12. Education should be free and compulsory.

…And then I thought how many countries in the world, including my own, are in violation of human rights?  So what is human rights and what does it mean to us?  It probably does mean different things to different people depending on their situation, but is it not hypocritical for those that we depend on for safety and security to come up with a good set of  “rights” and yet most of the world is in direct conflict of these rights.  What was the point and purpose for this declaration?  The term “human rights” is seeming more like an oxymoronic phrase than a declaration of human freedom and independence.  Just something to think about, another cosmic conundrum…