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Blog: The Great Escape

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I was out of the house at the UNGODLY HOUR of 7:50AM (a!m!) today to head to Brighton, where I was due to take part on a panel called "DIY Artists - Getting Started" at The Great Escape Convention.

I felt quite EXCITED about being part of such an AUGUST INSTITUTION. I was only asked last week because somebody else had dropped out, but still, even as a Super-Sub it's very nice to be thought of. I was, however, very NERVOUS - i was acutely aware that this is a Proper Industry Conference, which people had PAID to come to, and that i would have to BEHAVE and be GROWN-UP about it all. On the other hand I didn't really want to turn up and be The Boring Guy On The End - I used to RUN conferences a decade or so ago in Leicester, and I have seen FAR too many of Those Guys to ever want to BE them.

It was all very similar to those conferences - registration was a scene of PANIC, and everyone seemed to be turning up at the last moment, and though there was a PLETHORA of A4 signs stuck up over all and every surface, delegates were still wandering around confused. It brought back a LOT of memories, of getting up at EVEN LESS GODLY hours in hotels in other countries to try and sort out other people's badges for them.

Once I was all sorted out I saw Mr Chris T-T, said hello, then nipped over the road to The Old Courtroom where my session was due to happen. It was the first of the day and so, AS TRADITION DICTATES, it started ten minutes late... and then FLEW by. Mr Chris Cooke was hosting and asked me a bunch of questions first, which i THINK i answered all right, but may have GONE ON a bit. He'd sent me some questions beforehand and I'd spent the past few days THINKING about them, so had a wide and various range of POINTS to make, some of which hadn't necessarily been asked, but it seemed to go all right. As ever I tried to make points with GAGS, which didn't get MASSIVE LARFS but then it WAS still first thing in the morning. Everyone else on the panel was dead good too - I spent a LOT of time NODDING - and at the end I think I caused some disagreement in the audience when I said that only a TINY percentage of GEEKS give a toss about high quality audio. I think I was right tho - everyone else listens to SONGS, not recordings, on crappy little headphones or driving at speed through tinny car speakers.

The next session was about "Getting Noticed", again for DIY Musicians. Everyone kept saying "DIY Musician" as if it's officially A THING now, which made me very happy. When i first started on what must now be called THE DIY ROUTE it was just called "Unsigned", which was a rubbish description for a MODEL that was all about independence from The Bad Old Ways. It's only over the past couple of years that "DIY" has become the accepted lingo, and I'm very glad of it.

Anyway, the "Getting Noticed" panel featured all round hero Chris T-T - he, like me, was the only actual DIY Musician on the panel (the other speakers on both panels were very good, but it did seem odd only to have one actual PRACTITIONER on a panel with three service providers) and, like me, talked a lot MORE than anyone else. This was fine with me as he had much WISDOM to impart. The most interesting bit, I thought, was when he said that if you're starting out you should be PATIENT, and WAIT until you're Actually Any Good before doing your first gigs.

Initially this got my BACK UP. "What?" i thought. "Surely you should get STRAIGHT OUT THERE and LEARN YOUR CRAFT! That's what I did and... oh... hang on..." for LO! i started doing gigs on my own as soon as I could nearly play TWO CHORDS, and did lots of gigs where I was TERRIBLE. This MAY be why large sections of the East Midlands still think i am LIKE that - I played so much that way that it DID leave a lasting impression of DREADFULNESS, and maybe it would have been better to BE better first.

It was certainly food for thought, though I didn't have much time for MULLING. I had a quick chat with a couple of very nice people (and gave away more BUSINESS CARDS than ever before i.e. TWO!) then had to ZOOM OFF for my train. As with the Horizons event on Saturday, I really wished I could have stayed - there were lots of fascinating discussions going on and TONS of interesting people, but I the LIFESTYLE of the DIY ARTIST (hem hem) does seem to be one of constant dashing around. I had to get back to work for the afternoon, and tonight it's Totally Acoustic. The rock and roll treadmill, it NEVER STOPS!

posted 10/5/2012 by MJ Hibbett

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