To Strum Or Not To Strum

Last weekend, I dared to venture out the house in the evening. This is not something I’m generally keen on doing here in London, largely because to go anywhere costs a fortune. But this time I had a good excuse.

Earlier on Saturday I’d received a call from my aunty that they had arrived in London. This was met with a certain degree of puzzlement. People in my family never come to London… my immediate family haven’t even been, apart from when they brought me here. But for my aunty and uncle to be in London was a bit weird.

Then I remembered why. Upon asking me if I was going to come and see them, I realised – my cousin’s band (of which another uncle of mine is also a member) – were in London to play a gig at the Camden Barfly. This was a prize they’d won after winning a “battle of the bands” competition back home. Having never seen them live before, and their music is actually pretty good, I thought I had to go. I had to seize my new found positivity (which has not exactly had much success yet) and take this opportunity. I hadn’t seen these family members for some months, probably not since New Year. Plus, this was the band’s biggest gig yet. Not in terms of the size of the venue (as I soon discovered) but because of the high profile location. There is, allegedly, a year’s waiting list to play there.

So I went along. In the end, I was mightily impressed and extremely glad I had put a swift stop to any thoughts I might have had about trying to make my excuses for not going. It was great to see everyone, and they really were much better than I thought they’d be. So many bands struggle live, but they were so lively and on-the-money with their performance that the atmosphere in such a small venue was powerful. It took two days for my ears to finally stop ringing… which is bad… but I’m sure they’ll be OK. It’s not as if I do this every week…

But it generated a lot of thoughts for me. I am trying to avoid regretting things, but if there is one thing I wish I had done differently it would be learning the instruments I did from a much earlier age. I have always wanted to be in a band of some kind, and it upsets me a little that I have not achieved anything along those lines. When I was younger I used to write lyrics and music almost prolifically. Very little of it was any good, but now I don’t quite know where my creativity has gone. It’s possible I’ve become more critical, and so more unlikely to tolerate my dodgier compositions.

More likely is the fact that I’ve just lost the will for it. In the past I had great visions of having my own band, and gigging. Not necessarily professionally, but again, it would be just another string to my bow. Something else I could do in my spare time. Because I love performing music for people. Would prefer doing it with a band, but I’m OK on my own with an acoustic guitar. That much was proved to me when I did my camp counsellor experience in the USA. The fun I had from the musical peformances I gave during that has not been matched since…

So there was a little twinge of envy when I saw my cousin and uncle doing what I would love to be doing, and starting to generate their own success with it. But good luck to them. They’ve at least showed me that it is possible. Now I just need to rekindle my enthusiasm for it, and, harder still, find people who like the music I like, play (the right) instruments, and actually want to form a band.

That’s where the difficulty begins…

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