Friday, 27 November 2015

20.15 Blog #15: Who Killed Blogging Moose?

The first gig I ever put on must have been something at University, possibly the Hydropaths with Leeds Punk Soc.  The first one I very clearly putting on and being a massive success as Al Baker & The Dole Queue, The Ruby Kid and my friend’s band Elijah At Sea.  I knew absolutely nothing about equipment or running a gig, but it seemed to work OK.  We passed round a hat for UCU on strike and I got a load of mates to do some poetry.  That would prove to be standard for a Henryish gig.
I’ve done a load of poetry gigs over the years.  Too many the count.  But gigwise, I can remember them all because they were, initially, far and few between.

I put on Franz Nicolay and Chris T-T at the Basement, which was very busy and popular, but I still lost a lot of money.  I think that put me off gigs for a long time, despite the fact it was a great night.  For everyone on my support band’s cheaplist, I said I’d give them a quid.  As it happened, I gave them a lot more than what we’d arranged I’d ‘owe’ because they really did deserve more than a few coins.
Again, that would prove standard practise.

Then, in 2014, when I moved into my current house with my mate Nick, we plotted, schemed and devised a gig at some point.  Then KINKY said they were looking for dates.  The time was right, we made our move from the shadows.  We would be Who Killed Psychotic Moose.  The brand was born.
Or so we thought.  We decided to change the Adjective of Moose for various complicated reasons.  It became a running joke which Moose was getting killed each gig.  Poor mooses!

That gig taught me a lesson about putting on gigs, which is true for all the ones I’ve done.  Don’t get bitter because people haven’t turned up.  It’s not worth it.  It’s not justified.  People can do whatever they want with their time, they don’t have a ‘duty’ to your gigs.  If I had a penny for the number of times I’d missed a gig I should have, in fairness, attended to support the scene or a friend, I’d be able to pay Rancid to play Fulford Arms.  I bet folks would come see that, though.

Next few gigs were all pretty well attended, Petrol Girls in March was really busy and had a real energy as we had a few speakers talking about Reclaim The Night marches and Hollaback!  York branch.

No Ditching was a different crowd, but a really fun one nevertheless.

Then Mooseless I put on Block Fort all on my lonesome.  Lessons learnt, that’s hard work.  But it was DirtyGirl’s first ever gig, and it was rammed.

Petrol Girls returned with Typesetter, and already we'd built up a following for the band who are, without doubt, one of my fav bands at the moment

Our the Refugee Action York fund-raiser with Magnificent Seven was a real tour-de-force of York's energy coming together to play and sweat!

I also put on Daniel Versus The World & Ay Carmela!  without the Moose brand, and thankfully had a crowd despite it being a wet, cold half-term Wednesday.

Our last Moose gig of the year, Casual Nausea, had a decent little dedicated crowd, but it reminded me of those lessons from the Moose gig #1, don’t ever get jaded about a gig’s turnout, whoever comes is there to have fun, whoever isn’t misses out.  As long as you did all you could to convince and spread the word, you should relax and dance.  A hard personal lesson for an anxiety-ridden gig-promoter.

So what else have I learnt over this year putting on music gig (poetry gigs is another blog entirely)?

You have a duty to publicise as much as possible.  That means Facebook event, posters, flyers and spreading the word

That’s not just a Facebook event made a few days before that says:  “This will be ace” with no selling points.  If a stranger who’d never heard of these bands came across the page, would they be enticed?

Posters and flyers.  Everywhere.  York has plenty of places to put them.  If it gets one passer-by who wonders whether to come or not, it was worth it.  Flyer other gigs, is the venue is OK with it.  Carry flyers around in case you pass someone in the street who looks like they might enjoy it.  Carry them in case you bump into a friend who asks what you’re up to.  For all it’s illusion of ultimate connectivity, Facebook only has a small circular reach.

In this respect, I have learnt not to put on too many gigs, no gigs for the sake of it, and bands that are truly worth time and energy.  I’ve said no, and turned down gigs.  But when there is a gig worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

I’m still learning.  It’s my basic instinct to just slog it out there. There’s more to it, but I’ll learn.

Thanks to all the people who played a Moose gig, and everyone who came down and supported us.  It’s been super awesome to see so many awesome bands and people!

Next we have Moosefest 2016!  Details here, come down, have a dance!

Monday, 16 November 2015

20.15 Blog #14: GreedCreep

If you were to sift through my bedroom back at my parents, you would find stacks of old Games Workshop figures.  The only thing I brought with me from this stage of my teenage life was a huge map of the Warhammer world, which sits alongside my map of Westeros and Middle-Earth.

This has been my first year living away from my parents since University, which came after a good few years working out how to make this Freelance Thing work.  I moved in with a couple of Anarchists who were glued to Gogglebox.

This year has really been a productive year for me.  I wrote a play for Harrogate Youth Theatre, and have just finished another for Hull truck Youth Theatre.  Past Henry’s goal was to write plays for young people, and to achieve that has been super awesome.  I’ve gigged at Latitude and Boomtown Fair and went up to EdFringe with a show.  Say Owt Slam has gone from strength to strength.  But I am constantly worried I take it for granted.  I’m always worried I take everything for granted.

I get anxiety sometimes about what should be achieved, and is achievable.  I constantly compare where I am to where other people are.  This is too much of a competitive trait, it assumes everyone climbs the same ladder, or worse is on the same production line.

Now I have more rent and food bills to pay than when I lived at my folks, I have started to worry about money.  Now, actually, I don’t really need to.  I’m kind of on top of finances, and I am slowly making enough each month.  But I do worry about money, because I worry about GreedCreep.

This term popped into my head recently.

When I was a kid, I would write long lists of what Warhammer I would buy if we won the lottery.  I don’t think this was because I wanted to hoard all the Warhammer in the world all for myself.  Warhammer is a game you play with other people.  I wanted more to use in our Saturday daytime battles.  Though, at the end of the day, it’s still ownership over stuff.

I wanted all the music I could get, so that I could find and enjoy gigs, take part in conversations and maybe even form a band (pity it took 10 years, but we got there, guys).

I’m getting that quite badly again.  This time with Board Games.  2015 will forever be recorded as the year we all got obsessed with the Game Of Thrones Board Game, but I’ve also got very much into Boss Monster, Dominion, Coup and a few others.  I like the fact I can arrange a gaming day/evening and have a huge selection to enjoy.

To that end, I have this twitch whenever I walk past Travelling Man or OG Games.  I kind of get this sense I really want more games to add to my collection.  Lego, Mighty Max, CDs, patches, plays, comics, books…I’ve always been a bit of a magpie for collecting. 

However, I think this is GreedCreep.  It’s not necessarily an evil thing, I don’t want to have all the money in the world ever.  But I do think it is a gnawing bug in the back of my brain.  It’s a force that drags me in certain directions, to certain websites or to certain shops.  And I think it’s a major force in nerd culture.  Since the nerdifcation the ordinary, since the commercialisation of nerdiness, you can get watches, dressing gowns, shoes, hats, gloves, socks, pencils, notepads, cases, clocks, curtains, bedsheets, stationary…anything with Tyrion, Finn, Batman or even Joe Strummer’s face on.

And, yeah, it might be punky to love music, nerdy to love games but it’s still capitalism, it’s still a wanting of objects, of things, of items and no matter how much you dress it as ‘alternative’ culture.

So I’m going to keep an eye on this GreedCreep.  This wanting.  Because I like my Pokemon shoes, I like my bag o’ patches, I like my zine library and play collection and new comic books and I LOVE my new board games, but I need to make sure these are for sharing with folks.  These games are to be played, comic books to be shared, CDs to be lent and plays to be written for people to perform.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

TakeOver's 'Trainspotting (Not The Film)'

I created a short piece for TakeOver Festival and performed this half-term, here's a video for your eyes and ears!