February 20, 2005

the 99th blog entry

I got woken at 5am by the window rattling. Iím annoyed at myself for going to sleep with an idea for a song in my head and not writing it down, because I was sure Iíd remember it. Now Iíve no idea what the idea was, probably nothing earth-shattering but itís irritating to lose it. Iíve told myself a thousand times not to rely on the instinct that says Iíll remember things Ė must be some kind of devil whispering.

I do remember one exchange from a dream I just had though Ė bumping into a guy I went to school with, now older and looking uncomfortable in an ill-fitting suit. He was complaining about his (presumably well-paid) job in legal publishing. I said, ďwell I wouldnít want to work in legal publishing Ė fuck that shitĒ. The punchline being of course that I do have a part-time job in legal publishing (not that bad as semi-skilled sitting-in-front-of-a-computer-all-day jobs go Ė thereís a minimum of pressure and I can listen to CDs while Iím there). In the dream I went downstairs to work and spent the rest of the time hoping the guy wouldnít see me.

Two weeks to go here Ė my flatmate/landlord Alice has already put an ad in the paper for someone to fill my room and been showing people through. Itís slightly annoying and uncomfortable, makes me feel like Iím being rushed away. Iíve been here almost exactly a year now and will be a little sad to go, itís a good flat. A yearís enough time to watch the cycle of the seasons Ė another year would be repetition.

It will be good to have a change from Wellington; I get pretty sick of it here sometimes, walking up and down the same streets always. I also saw in the paper the plans for Weta Workshop to build a big monument to itself at the end of Courtenay Place Ė at ratepayersí expense. What if you took the $300,000 and gave $3000 each to help a hundred struggling painters or first-time novelists or unsigned musicians? Might not that be a bigger contribution to the cultural life of the city? I could have a small record label up & running for three grandÖ Kerry Prendergastís right behind the sculpture on one hand, and demolishing Te Aro on the other Ė the Ďcultural capitalí image stinks of hypocrisy, but in a way itís appropriate since film is all about the image (Ďillusion and delusioní as my cousin, a film-crew focus-puller puts it). Just make sure all the homeless people are hidden away when they get around to holding the Olympics hereÖ

Itís weird how my calenderís full up til March 21st then huge question mark after that. Daylight savings ends on March 20th so the travel date seems quite poetic Ė have to make sure I donít get confused by the time change and miss my flight!

March 4th & 5th we have the gigs just down the road at the Newtown Community Centre, then the after party Ė just so I can have a hangover when I have to move out of the flat on Sunday 6th. Then Monday 7th Iím up at Otaki Forks doing a training week with DoC, restoring a 1930s sawmilling site. The plan after that was to go to New Plymouth for the WOMAD festival but now I donít know if I can find anyone to go with, so wouldnít be so much fun. Kronos Quartet are the star attraction but theyíre playing in Wellington too so could see them here. Then a few days to get ready for the shift to Melbourne. My friend Mike who moved there last month still hasnít got in contact Ė hope heís alright.

Iíve reached the point where Iím getting nervous about the move Ė especially the possibility that I canít find a job, run out of money and come crawling home after a few weeks. Time to start seeing if I can line a job up there before I go. I can manage my finances; I don't spend excessively and it's a big help that I don't smoke, drink a lot, or run a car (otherwise my student loan would be up in the stratosphere somewhere). My problem is that I'm not much good at generating income.

Iíve been spending a bit of time recently on spreadsheets on my computer, for Ascension Band and then my own plans for the next year or so. I thought I had the budget reined in, but Nigel decided he wants to hire a PA and lighting operator for the Newtown shows. Iím not sure what a PA would achieve, since we already put out all the volume we could want in that room. A bit more thump on the bass drum would be nice but thatís about it. Anyway, from here my position is Ďfine, so long as Iím not the one paying for ití. The band already owes me $295, out of a total shortfall in the vicinity of $500 if these new expenses go in.

Iím just doing my personal budget on the assumption that I lose that amount. Really Iíll get at least some of it back. Other key numbers in my planning include: $1300 worth of miscellaneous expenses before I can leave (dentist bill the biggest), $A1200 allowance to set myself up in Melbourne (is that enough??), have to save $60/week on return in August to have enough for the bigger world-travelling mission this time next year, and two years to pay off my student loan at $35/week after this year (assuming I have a regular income).

With the show though itís not so much that losing money would be a huge financial burden, itís more the psychological aspect of feeling like a failure. I know itís my fault in large part for setting the ticket prices too low - $6 for a twelve-piece band plus multimedia presentation and 30+ hours of rehearsals, compared to the $15 most other shows are charging for much smaller-scale events. We're the underdogs in this festival thanks to my foolish modesty - when people like Weta and the bigger shows have been repeatedly drumming in the message that if there's one thing you can't afford as an artist it's a sense of modesty!

On the other hand weíre the best value-for-money show in town. We need something like a hundred people along over three nights just to break even Ė so if all of you who read this blog come along and bring three friends we might just scrape throughÖ

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

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

Posted by fiffdimension at February 20, 2005 09:08 AM | TrackBack

A lighting guy sounds expensive.

Posted by: Sister Novena at February 21, 2005 07:16 AM

I think he's doing it as a favour - a hundred bucks is well below market rates, but it also means we need an extra twenty people to come along. It's probably most important to put on the best show we can though, rather than getting too hung up on the money side, so people remember it and want to come back for more later. I'll be gone by then though - I guess I will have achieved something by getting it started. Nigel will be the only original member left, this whole thing's been a gradual torch-passing. They'll do fine without me.

Posted by: Dave at February 21, 2005 09:18 AM
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