A Musician’s life

It’s funny sometimes, thinking about what one does with their time and in their job.

I can imagine that for some people, the life of a musician may seem fun and frivolous, glamourous even – we turn up to people’s celebrations, dressed like the guests, and get paid for doing what we enjoy the most, and possibly even get food and a couple of drinks along with it. Not quite considered with the rest of the serving staff, bar tenders, chefs, we are a strange mid-catagory between those also working, and those enjoying the event.

And I can see that. I mean, of all the people I know, I’d imagine the musicians will own twice as many suits, dresses, bow-ties as the equivalently-aged ‘civilians’.

I could, and probably will, (in fact, probably have..) go on at length about how the great musicians make it look easy, and while they are really enjoying themselves, they do it inspite of a hell of a lot of hard work that people don’t often see. The wedding guests won’t know of the weeks of to and fro between the organisers to make sure everything runs smoothly, the hours driving to and from gigs, often not getting home til the very early hours. Lugging around equipment that costs to maintain and insure and upgrade, and the time spent waiting before performances, between performances, and during speeches whilst people who don’t necessarily understand the concept of a directional/vocal microphone (despite it being explained to them) scowl at you to turn volumes up whilst they quietly speak 8 inches away from the tool of your trade.

But (despite how it might sound!) I don’t mind it. Yes, it has it’s moments and you have your struggles, and it takes a hell of a lot of perseverence and hard work and love. But there are certain things about the life of musician that I find almost comical, and those things put a smile on my face on days like today.

For example, if I had have not been a musician, (as well as not knowing at all what I would be!) I wouldn’t have known that about 5 minutes out of Corbridge on the A68, there is an actual 13th Century castle (CASTLE!) lived in by a couple, with the most beautiful view of the Northumberland countryside. Similarly, I’d have probably never been inside Roundhay Mansion, and countless other stunning wedding reception venues. I wouldn’t know about the hidden events spaces in Leeds, like the Loft and Aspire, or been in the higgledy-piggledy space that is the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall, in York. I wouldn’t have travelled to Liverpool and back in the space of 6 hours for an choir-related interview, or seen London Jazz venues before the doors opened. And I certainly wouldn’t have spent so much time in high-quality restaurants and bars (like Lounge, Harvey Nichols and Epernay), and be recognised in one place by audiences of another.

This weekend, one such strange situation presented itself. Aidan and I followed the little blue dot on a google map to a beautifully decorated house in Ilkley. I had not known anything about the event that we were to perform at, other than it was being organised by an events company in Leeds. As we went downstairs into the ‘basement’, I saw the kitchen had been over taken by a chef working on his canapes and a bartender shaking Cosmopolitans. The small room next door had been cleared of it’s regular furniture to make way for a white sofa and many little white stools, brought in by the events team. Pink uplights provided some colour against the white walls, and it became clear that the owner of the house had had created her own little nightclub on the lowest floor of her house, for her hen do.

As Aidan and I squeeezed our equipment into a little corner and retired to an upstairs reception room to talk about what tunes we should play (now we realised it was a hen party,) I did have to giggle: who else but a musician would ever find themselves in such a situation on a Saturday night?!

Despite it’s oddities, it was a lovely little party, and I think that the bride-to-be and her guests had fun, as is always the aim. 🙂

The following day, I set off into Leeds to perform with Solaris as part of the Planet Leeds festival on Briggate. We were first on, so Leeds was a little quiet (and very rainy), but we attracted quite a crowd when we performed at midday, and met some lovely people after the performance. Then it was off Lounge for my regular Sunday afternoon gig (and tasty lunch).

Sunday night saw me unfortunately miss out on a gig I was hoping to see, in favour of allowing someone else to enjoy the performance. As much as I do wish I had gone, I feel very happy to have allowed someone to have the experience. It’s a great gift, Music, and I have realised that not many people go to live concerts very often. In fact, even I know that I should be attending a lot more. I’m not trying to act like a Martyr and say I selflessly gave someone the ‘wonderful gift of music’, but it did feel good to know they enjoyed it as much as I’d hoped they would.

I realise that since being in Thailand, I have not blogged. And I do feel bad about this, however, I am pretty much finished with this post, and probably won’t write about what happened between then and now in detail. So, in a nutshell:

* I’ve had a couple of lovely gigs at Lounge – You should come along one Sunday. The food is very tasty (and the roast dinners are HUGE!)

* As well as Planet Leeds, Solaris performed at ‘Acoustic Revolutionaries; Vocal Special’ in Huddersfield’s Media Centre, which was great fun.

* I sung at Epernay, with Mike Conliffe at the ivories. I’ll be there again on the 1st of October, this time with Magic Al, which I’m looking forward to.

* I took on a new singing pupil, and potentially have a few more, and have been running part of the Voices of The Day rehearsals too – next one is tonight!

* I had a complete nightmare trying to get to Undercliffe for my gig there, having spent a day trying to sort car insurance, I was then blocked in, running late, and also managed to put a rather impressive scratch in my shiny blue car! 😦

* I managed to somehow get tendonitis in my right wrist/arm, which has slowed me down somewhat.

* I have started to sort my receipts for the yearly joy that is the Tax Return, although having a new CD to listen to (from the gig I missed) has made it a lot happier thus far.

I do believe that is it. Thanks for reading, and I will try and update a little more often in future, so that the posts are not quite to long.

Ta ta for now.

Tessa x

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