Monday, 4 October 2010

It’s Alive! (The Joys of Mediocrity 3)

Okay, so there are a couple of glitches to be ironed out – and those are regarding my general inability with systems and processes in the html world – but the Mechkov website is now very much up and running.

Thanks to the unbelievably patient and imaginative Timothy Read of Ripplenet for the design and tutorials, who, from a few scribbled notes on the inside of a Rizla packet, got the whole thing finished pretty much exactly as I had imagined it. It took a couple of months and I am just so chuffed.

I suppose some people might be thinking ‘why?’ Why would an almost completely unheard of singer songwriter with a penchant for the left-field and the obscure want to fork out the time, money and energy necessary in building and maintaining a website when the chances are no-one is ever going to even visit it, let alone buy anything? In this age of ‘access all music’, why would anyone want to visit an isolated website to listen to music that has had no influence on his or her life, when everything and more is easily available cruising along the mainstream superhighway?

Well, I suppose the ‘because I can’, one-size-fits-all answer fits here, but I also think precisely because of the plethora and dominance of the mainstream in music, whether that is mainstream television (massive cult success of the X-Factor and the like), mainstream rock, metal, pop, R&B, blues, hip hop, garage, trance ambient – whatever – I am certain that there is someone (and maybe only one) out there who is looking for something that he or she simply has not found elsewhere.

The great Robert Fripp, my hero for many and untold reasons, has many aphorisms he uses to provide distilled kernels (er, sorry, mixed metaphor there)… Distilled droplets of understanding – each one capable of being expanded out into whole areas of discussion or explanation and I take pleasure from time to time considering these.

One of them, ‘music will always find a way to its audience’, struck a particular resonance with me and it has become something of a motto. Another one (and I’m probably going to stagger into the realm of paraphrasing here) says: ‘Music so needs to be heard that it sometimes calls upon the most unlikely people to give it voice’.

A further (mis)quote from Fripp is that asking a musician not to play or create music is like asking a pregnant woman not to give birth.

Working Backwards
, then… I am not a mightily gifted, talented nor even hard working musician. So much so, in fact, that I have spent many years of my life trying very hard NOT to play music. After the fourth such attempt (from 1997 to 2000) I ended up working in and around the musical instrument industry and finally realised that there was simply no point in trying to evade something that didn’t simply stir me, or stir within me, but it drove me, it compelled me. Wherever I was, whatever I was doing, fragments of songs would form and I found myself itching to put something together.

Unlike Fripp, I am not a disciplined person – or rather, I have not been a disciplined person. Certainly not to the nth degree that the people I admire always seem to be (this is one good reason why I kept trying to walk away). As a result, as I have said in previous blogs, I have achieved a level of mediocrity that is almost good enough, but not quite. Because of this, I am the most unlikely person I can think of who should be putting himself out there and making any sort of noises before an unsuspecting public.

So, I feel driven and compelled to make music, despite my (many, various and sometimes quite terrifyingly large) shortcomings. I am thus left with what seems a requirement to try to work out why.

Could it be that at some point – I’m pretty sure it is not in the past, thus I guess it is in the future – the muse that pours this need in me to make music sees the opportunity to say and/or do something that no-one else can or would?

The answer to that question is: ‘I have absolutely no idea’, but it is the only reason that has struck any sort of chord with me, so until I find another chord struck that says something different, I’m going to carry on down the path that will allow my music to be heard. In this day and age, that is a website to feature what I have done to now – and to make space for what I will do in the future.

The next step is a return to performance – and, once again, I have absolutely no idea what form (or forms) that will take, but the empty pubs and clubs of the UK are beckoning and I fell obliged to… Yes, you get the picture…