Sunday, August 15, 2010

Getting Used to Being a Loser/Don't Be In a Rush to Succeed

James was skeptical of my triple encore theory but then like Kanye ruining an acceptance speech Ali Shaheed Mohammed had retaken the decks and cranked out 'Award tour' and the crowd that was in the process of departing hit the roof.
Except they didn't which was why Tribe stopped and rewound like 6 times until they were sure we were hitting the roof.
And it's not like they fucked up, after 20+ years of performing their shit was tight, we were apparantly fucking up our role as the crowd and it was really hard to determine what I was doing wrong as a member of it and further more I began to wonder who was paying who.

But I totally respect the will to do it over until its done right. And they did it over and over, and they did it multiple times through the show and it was totally the opposite of unprofessional.

24 hours later I'm standing in the reopened Tote's bandroom as men with ratstails and women with mullets pushed passed with plastic cups of bear reminding me never to stand between the stage and the bar again. One girl even even spilt her beer running into the back of me but I was wearing my terrance towel hoodie so I wouldn't have noticed if she hadn't been so apologetic.
Barbarion took the stage and started playing and more or less didn't stop. My ears are still ringing 4 days on. They had their original bassplayer Yuri back and boy were they tight. Tight yet loose and there a band I was lucky enough to get on the wagon of on their 3rd or 4th gig, they have a couple of new songs where they've clearly taken what they've learned but what really impresses me is what they've done with the tracks they've been playing for year(s) now.
They've pretty much amped them up, they've evolved, improved and basically injected more energy wherever they can.
They move about the stage better, command the space better and they aren't afraid to yell out instructions to their sound mixer to correct the balance throughout the show.
They've come along way in a short space of time and I can hear (and feel) the difference. The highlight though was when during 'Running From the Law' one of my favorites, the lead singer Myles a mighty man made a lacklustre attempt to crowdsurf which resulted in him singing from the floor.

The irreverant gracelessness is a big part of what makes this band successful and allows them to shape themselves and grow.

I'm sitting with 150 in a food court as usual (but unusually since we hadn't met for 6 months or so) waiting for the other members of the real gayle king to arrive. He's jotting down something I said which is kind of the point of this post, it's not something I said originally and sadly I can't remember who actually said it because I trawell through that much shit searching for references but whoever said it I resaid it and it was this: 'good is the enemy of done'

And 150 was writing it down, he seems to like my business management cliches that I like to recite to creative peeps. But this one was actually said I'm like 90% certain by a creative peep and that's what makes it so poigniant.

When the Real Gayle King first formed we wasted like 6 weeks of meetings (truly wasted because nobody documented the hilarious arguments) having infuriating arguments between 150 and me about online campaigning. I couldn't believe that 4 creative peeps had come together and the first thing 150 wanted to do wasn't to create but to online campaign and use trolling and forums to max out our web hits.

To be fair, this blog is my forum and 150 can't really defend himself, so in an attempt to do so, 150 was sort of the most successful of us at the time having quite a following of his zines through Sticky and was thus the least excited about creating tangible pieces and most excited about having a blog which the rest of us already had and not much more.

But while 150 is excused the rest of you ain't. Everybody coming into the creative scene is too impatient. How do I know this? Because I'm impatient, and yet whilst I know I've wasted years and it will take me years still (and years longer than I can ever anticipate) simply to get on track very few people think like this. They need to succeed and succeed now.

And I think that's what makes the old school acts, be they bands from the 90's or bands that should have formed in the 90's or earlier special.

H-wang when he eventually arrived at our meeting concurred about the photography world, saying that many of the old hands at photography had taken 20 years to establish themselves and nowadays the newbies worked 2 years before they were teaching classes on how to be a pro-photographer.

The mentality is everywhere despite the success of Malcolm Gladwell's outliers, and mayhaps that's just the facebook/myspace generation mentality. What the fuck is wrong with it though? There's a time to 'go professional' but not till after you cut your teeth. I remember in Year 11, Jacob yelling at Chris for missing his queue that it was 'un-fucking believable' this was a crappy house music competition of no consequence that's not the time to go pro but that's what so many creative peeps feel like to me these days.

I'm guilty as well, I once ripped shit through a friends manuscript (it was like fan fiction of some of my friend and my's fiction that in hindsight was too complicated to produce and never going anywhere anyway) because I was too attached to my own baby to see that everyone else just found it annoying.

Well the Beatles played in Hamburg for like 3 years just earning their stripes. I've seen Sutcliffe's or Lennon's sketches of Paul McCartney attempting to take a bath in a mensroom sink.

"We used to dress how we liked, on and off stage. He'd tell us that jeans were not particularly smart and could we possibly manage to wear proper trousers, but he didn't want us suddenly looking square. He'd let us have our own sense of individuality ... it was a choice of making it or still eating chicken on stage." - John Lennon - after 3 years playing strip clubs in Hamburg is the time to consider turning more professional.

Bobby Chiu one of the lead concept artists for Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland talked about when he first set up Imaginism studios and how hard it was lugging books around to comic cons with no money and reflecting 'these we will look back on as good times'.

I'm not sure if anybody in the Real Gayle King is doing the work necessary to make it, but regardless I certainly will look back on our listless sporadic and disorganised meetings in QV food courts as good times. Sitting in front of the state library checking out girls necks at Butcher's insistence were good times. Having my phone go off with one word text messages that simply read 'late' were good times.

Rather than turn to Malcolm Gladwell I'll turn to an author I actually have read being Nicholas Nassim Taleb's Black Swan that talks about how to choose the right brother in law.

Basically there's two kinds of people in the world, the vast majority stake their dollars on a daily basis and win a long succession of pennies, encountering a major loss once a decade or so. It's a metaphore so you can basically substitute dollars with 'important things' pennies with 'small pleasures' and major loss as 'any kind of hardship'

Then you have the creatives, the risk takers, the 'losers'. But a very special kind of loser, they are a minority they bet pennies on a daily basis and typically lose them setting up a long string of successive losses all in the hope to win dollars, once ever decade or so (or perhaps never) they win big, real big.
Again the metaphore, should be easy to translate, it's the struggling artist, the research scientist whatever. They are convinced that grand prize is out there to be won and they've inherited this conviction from that common risk taking ancestor.

Whilst most of us would prefer a long succession of small pleasures, others can never be satisfied unless they win big. Many or most never succeed, but its hard to tell because we never hear of them the ones that do win big misrepresent the odds of winning big because we hear about them all the time convincing other losers that their dreams are possible.

And this is good because this is how progress is made. If nobody attempts to hit the jackpot then it just keeps sitting on the shelf of possibility and never crosses over into our reality and enriches our lives.

But maybe the balance is shifting, I just meet too many people that are less patient than me to succeed. Most creative peeps have done more work than me so power to them, but in the spirit of 'good is the enemy of done' I think the biggest leap I made towards actually getting somewhere with my drawing was to give up on the idea that I could ever actually get anything done right.

Looking back on my sketches for the early Real Gayle King Stuff I cringe, but I also see a lot of progress now. Looking at how terrible my drawings were then makes me feel a lot better about how terrible my drawings look now.

FYI I'm publishing on facebook mostly because I'm too ashamed to put any of my stuff up on deviantart yet, I'll get there though with a lot more work and it will be good to kick the facebook habit.

But maybe I'm lucky I never went to art school, and I don't expect much of myself, (the little I do expect is more than I can deliver) I think some of the professionally trained peeps expect more of themselves and expect to get their creative produce right the first time. They don't fuck around and experiment and screw up and evolve anymore because they just want to be pro's right now, they've been trained to be pro's and they aren't ready. 'the perfect is the enemy of the good, the good is the enemy of done'

I'm lucky I tried being one of the majority of peeps, and have a regular steady paycheck in a secure job earning steady small incremental accolades and whilst I wouldn't consider it a total waste of time I met some great peeps and learned a bunch of stuff and what not, I know it's not for me. I'm for living in a garage to minimise my living costs whilst I make ill concieved attempts to create things of meaning hoping one day I'll make something that will resonate with somebody whilst not being sure if that/those resonating somebodies exist.

I feel though if you're not a loser like me you should be putting down your pencils, your plectrums, your stylus, your tough new Lumix and buying a milkbar. If you want to succeed and you're in a hurry go to a real estate seminar and be a real loser. If not take the time to fuck around, fuck up, feel fucking terrible, get back on the fucking horse, fuck shit up old school, and fucking enjoy it.

To end with a cliche, it's the fucking journey after all, not the destination.

1 comment:

Joãozinho said...

Não conheco ,mas goastaria de conhecer !Quem são ?