I have a million things to do today but like a group of fat men all rushing for the door at the same time, none of them are able to squeeze out. I've been moping for a day or two, not sure whether it's simple tiredness or my self-diagnosed Stockholm Syndrome. The second would certainly be more interesting.
I'm supposed to be in Cardiff today and tomorrow having a couple of meetings and catching up with an old friend. My longest serving friend, in fact. We've been playing football and arguing since year 4 of primary school. Unfortunately a combination of the above factors and the poor weather has ruined my plans and left me here, in front of the computer, rotting.
In happier news, the next two nights promise a couple of great gigs, firstly in the shape of a rare performance from Shoes And Socks Off, at The Wheatsheaf in Oxford. I'm yet to see Toby play a live solo show so am greatly excited by the prospect, as well as having a chance to catch up with him and discuss our many plans for the year. The SASO project has been so refreshing, it's just fantastic to be able to work on something creatively without the pressure of selling x amount of records, worrying about press targets or planning huge tours, it's just good old fashioned fun with a person I really like spending time with. Simple as. Wednesday night is the Copy Haho EP launch at Old Blue Last in London. It's looking like being 'one of those nights' with so many people to catch up with, meetings to attend and drinks to be drunk, but through all of my complaining, I do enjoy it really. It's a hard life, and all that...
I was going to write a lot about this but might save some of the details for my next Drowned In Sound column instead. Having now had time to carefully think through the events of the weekend, piecing one drunken memory together after another, I think the over-riding feeling I came away from it all with was one of positivity and solidarity. Yes there was bickering during the panels, people with opposing views and whatnot, but it was just so nice to see everyone feeling so passionately about their local scene, and willing to stand up and be counted for it. The fact that an event like this was even conceived, let alone so well attended or so beneficial to this many people was a marvel and something which, sadly, I am yet to experience in Oxford.
To anyone reading this who was at the event: I hope you found the record label panel of some interest. It was my first public speaking performance since school some 10 years ago, and the fact that I had only been in the country for an hour, and not slept the previous night, made for a fairly shaky talk, but I hope I managed to get a few of my points across. I also hope that my comments on being worried about starting a new record label in the current climate haven't put any aspiring entrepreneurs off. It's still a fun and varied career path and one which I very much enjoy, I think it's just important that if you do attempt it, make sure you're going in for the right reasons and thinking creatively about the approach. As many times as I've daydreamed about BSM following in the footsteps of Sub-Pop, Domino and the other bedroom indies turned super powers, I'm just not convinced it's a viable possibility on the basis of selling records these days. I'm sure I'll touch more on this in the DiS article anyway, and there may be some videos online sometime too.
All in all I can't speak highly of my short time in Belfast, I only wish it could've lasted longer and I'd perhaps strayed further than my 2 road zone of venue, hotel and tapas bar. That said, hitting 45 hours without sleep, 12 hours without food and a Noah's Arc drinking philosophy certainly took its toll! Hanging out with Huw Stephens felt a little bit like talking back to the radio, finally meeting some of the wonderful folk behind Smalltown America Records and the Richter Collective was as enjoyable as it was long-overdue, and where do I begin with the array of other wonderful Irishmen who all made an appearance along the way? I also achieved a life-long dream of having someone meet me at the airport with my name on a sign, and made a new friend on my flight home. If I didn't know better I would say that I was delusional and just imagining this Macaulay Culkin-esque inquisitve 7 year old!
Kid: Who do you support? Tottenham? Chelsea?
Me: No, Reading
Kid: Thought so. Where are you going?
Kid: Why aren't you flying to Liverpool then?
Me: What? No, it's closer to London
Kid: Are you wearing Joop?
Me: Erm... yeah, how did you... Alright that's a bit weird
Kid: What's your job?
Me: I run a record label
Kid: What do you mean?
Me: Honestly, I wouldn't know where to begin...