Monday, November 15, 2010

I Make Airconditioners

The title of this post is taken from somewhere within the rambling pages of Ricardo Semler's 'The Seven-Day Weekend' it is a rambling book making it hard for me to find the exact quote, furthermore Semco is a rambling company that produces everything from biscuit factories, to oil pumps to cleaning products. So I took a punt and guessed it was the industrial airconditioner branch. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnyway... the words come from the mouth of a Janitor whom when asked what she did at Semco responded 'I make airconditioners.' That is she recognised that her menial role of cleaning the Airconditioning factory was a vital part of the whole production process. It is beautiful she recognises this.

On Friday I went to the first of three live music performances I took in this weekend, and was told by my friend in the band that my presence ment a lot to him. Which was touching, and I know exactly how he feels. Attached is a picture I didn't end up using as my profile because it disgusted me too much:
so disgusting I didn't even bother to finish it off

Anyway I was going to caption this picture 'tohm lives off a diet of feedback and he is starving.' I also felt bad about trying to shame people into making comments. I do get plenty of feedback and am lucky I can display my work through media like facebook where a 'like' from someone goes a long way in motivating me to keep drawing.

But seeing live music is different, slightly, I mean I'm duplicitous, in that going to see a gig gives me an excuse to go to a bar when I'm a non drinker*, and at the end of a day cooped up drawing, it gets me out of the house. BUT, what I dub the airconditioner philosophy holds true. I draw comics so they will be read by people. My readers are in fact the real final part of the process of creating a comic. Bands play music to be heard by people, the audience is a crucial part to the performance.

Check it, I LOVE Faith No More, and if it was possible for easily replicable and replaceable digital data to be 'precious' I would say my live bootleg of FNM in Cologne is the most precious album on my ipohd. The track 'midlife crisis' brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. Yes the drum intro is my favorite ever, yes I am in love with Mike Patton greatest vocalist ever but my first emotional response is to the sound of the audience screaming with excitement:

The sound quality isn't the best on this video but hopefully you get an impression. Think about it, when have you seen a gig being performed to you and one tired drunk guy in the corner of a bar that was truly 'great'. (It's concievable, if the band took the attitude 'okay there's two people here and the bar staff, they all use facebook so we are going to blow their fucking faces off!') but fact is any given performance, and even yes a track can be made or broken by the audience.

Let's not delude ourselves, peeps don't deserve band credits just for paying a cover charge and clapping politely. Nor even getting drunk and screaming enthusiastically and inappropriately at the band. But fact is the audience is a crucial part of the performance.

I had my birthday drinks sunday, and as I am to be honest uncomfortable with the idea of peeps celebrating 'me' I thought I'd combine it with the skylines whose music is like some intoxicating form of liquid-funk-happiness:

These guys make people dance, I did not end up dancing, due to the intimate conversational number of peeps that turned up and probably the overcast weather too. I plan to sneak back next week though and see them again, so I might dance away from prying eyes. So there the role and objective and importance of an audience is clear. But when I have like a party I find myself stressing about who's going to turn up and who isn't and whether one of these years two friends will meet that produce the statement 'I'm gonna drop that cunt' and which way that statement will go and hopefully it won't be directed at me.

Anyway, I don't envy these bands that when they are really doing work must go through the sensation of organising a party every week wondering who's going to turn up. (I do envy them their musical abilities and general coolness though)

But really it's simple. Before I did anything creative and most importantly put it out in a space where people could actually see it I kind of looked at these people creating things and producing things and recognised that they were strong willed competent people and thought 'they'll be right' as in 'it doesn't matter if I go to their gig, they are still going to play if I'm not there' or 'I don't need to comment on this picture, he'll keep drawing anyway' or 'No need to get to that book launch, the books already written after all.' which is even fine in theory,

for example, Tool are probably not going to miss my presence at their next concert in Melbourne. They aren't going to gaze out and say 'I wonder why tohm didn't come tonight, he came to the last two concerts we did?' because they can sell 50,000 tickets in like a minute. But that's the thing, the phenomena of concerts selling out fast takes so many people, interlinked but acting independantly. They make up their own minds to go, to fork out cash and stand around in Sydney Myer Music Bowl enjoying some of the shittest sound quality ever.

Think of it like a wall st crash, everyday this phenomena of buyers and sellers coming to the market in their millions is happening from a bunch of independant pieces. Then when you have a crash suddenly a bunch of peeps independantly decide not to go to market (on the buying side) and heaps decide to go on the selling side.

So you should go is what I'm saying. If you are just another face amongst 150 or just another comment among 570 on a post so be it. They will notice you in the whole if not the individual and it still means something. If you are one of 5 people, sure it's awkward but it still means a lot, perhaps more even.

I must confess I always always drag my feet to these gigs. It's part and parcel of being an introvert, but by now I know rationally that I always enjoy myself when I get there, and there is no shitty mood that can't be fixed by chugging down disgusting gatorade before you leave the house. That's my advice.

Most importantly don't underestimate your own importance to the creative process. You too could make airconditioners.

*for those that hastily will point out they saw me drunk yesterday, I don't mean I don't drink. I mean I never go out to drink and drink alone**.

**As in sole purpose 'alone' not 'by myself I'm an alcoholic' alone.

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