February 11, 2005

Two weeks to go til ‘opening night’.

Good news and bad news on the budget front. Good news is that we got some help with the poster run – Brian Wafer who I know from New Plymouth called in a favour with Sticky Fingers and so they’re putting up a hundred posters for us in exchange for a dozen beers and some names on the door list! That’s a saving of about $70. The bad news is that an item cropped up which I’d overlooked: getting a sound technician for the gig at Happy. That’ll be $80.

I also added in some expenses (petrol, discs, photocopying) that Nigel’s been covering. So as it stands we’re running at a – fairly intimidating - $470 loss. Or in other words, that’s the amount of money we need to make over three shows just to break even. Spreadsheets are great things… $470 divided by an average ticket price of $5 (a steal for what the show involves) divided by three shows means we need 31 paying people to come to each.

I keep getting this image on auto-replay in my head of Terry Gilliam in Lost in La Mancha saying “we are f#&^ed! We are so f#&^ing f#&^ed!”

Calm down, take a deep breath. From here what matters is generating income. I’ve got some copies of the ‘Live 2004’ DVD ready to go – any sales of that will be very helpful in relieving some pressure (psychological as well as financial!) before the gigs.

I’ve been musing about what comes next after this Fringe show. It seems the logical thing is to scale everything right back to almost nothing – just me, a guitar and maybe the laptop. This ‘big band’ thing is not exactly out of control but its mass makes it unwieldy – using a sledgehammer to swat a fly. I’m having my usual problem – the artistic side of things is going fine, it’s definitely good music we’re doing, but it’s messing with the rest of my life. I went for a dental checkup today and unfortunately I need a cleaning and some fillings – that’s $375. Plus $60 for some arcane tax bill, $60 internet bill, $70 to get a new passport, $35 to set up an Australian bank account, a $22 library fine… it’s all a bit of a blow financially. Funny how these things arrive all at once. If I spent more time working to earn money rather than running around organizing this show it wouldn’t be so bad.

In a way this is familiar territory – it seems like nearly every time I embark on a big artistic project it has fallout. Here’s a quick recap of my artistic career and its consequences:

1998 – Scratched Surface: First album, went alright (though partly inspired by some teenage girl-trouble & heartache).

2001 – The Marion Flow: $550 production cost (puts Ascension Band in perspective), still nowhere near broken even. Also annoyed collaborators by being disorganized.

2002 – Mantis Shaped and Worrying, Anterior Pathways: Lost a girlfriend, minor mental breakdown.

2003 – Parataxes, Loose Autumn Moans: Depression & possible suicide attempt.

2004 – Live 2004: neglected shorthand paper for journalism course so didn’t pass diploma, loss of confidence & self-esteem.

2005 – Ascension Band Electric Symphony: budget blowout leading to public embarrassment and loss of reputation?

…Or maybe it’ll go OK this time. 31 per night’s not that many people, and the number will come down if we can sell some DVDs beforehand. They’re worth having in their own right, it’s not like asking for a handout. The thing with all the albums is that they represent my good side – the creative me who gets things done and has something original to say. It’s just the making of them that causes problems. I call this the ‘Dorian Grey in Reverse’ syndrome. I’m reminded of a quote by the great local musician Anthony Donaldson in a newspaper article about him where he says “well, my life’s screwed but I’ve got my music”. Is that going to be me when I’m his age?

If you’ve read through to the end of this entry, can I just conclude by saying – I don’t want your sympathy, I want your patronage!! Thank you.

Ascension Band: Electric Symphony

Friday 25th February @ Happy, 10pm
Friday 4th & Saturday 5th March @ Newtown Community Centre, 7.30pm
$6 full price, $5 unwaged, $4 Fringe card

Live 2004’ DVD available now for $20
Visit http://ascension05.tripod.com or email fiffdimension@hotmail.com

Posted by fiffdimension at February 11, 2005 05:40 PM | TrackBack

i shall be there with bells on and hopefully plan to drag at least 4 people along with me.

Posted by: sue at February 11, 2005 07:39 PM

Oh, and if I'm still awake (arriving morning of 25th), I'll come along. I'd be keen to get the DVD too.

Posted by: Ewan at February 11, 2005 09:30 PM

That's a good start, thanks. Another 87 people and we'll be sorted...

Posted by: Dave at February 12, 2005 01:45 AM

no problems dude
i'm going to a party tonight and shall rave for hours about this cool fringe show, music thingy i've heard about that is the hottest ticket in town.

Posted by: sue at February 12, 2005 03:01 PM
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