Thursday, 29 January 2015

Dr Dave Is Trying To Make Me Deaf and Poor (Introductions)

What did you do in the past 12 months? Seriously. Think about it. This is not an idle question – I don’t care “how you are” or “what’s up” – I am questioning the way you live your life.

OK, you say, so what did you do in the past 12 months then, Mr Foreword Writer? That’s Dr Foreword Writer to you. Because that’s one thing I did last year. I finished my PhD. I also published some academic articles about the psychology of social networks, spoke at some conferences, and told some businesses how to do their online marketing.

Being a researcher is a diverse and challenging job, and I think I had a pretty good year. But in five years I’ll still barely remember any of it; hundreds of thousands of academic articles are written every year, even the audience at a conference doesn’t remember the talk they just sat through, and no one wants to dwell on the time they spent telling advertisers how to annoy people more efficiently.

That leaves me getting a PhD. Pretty cool eh? And I’ll surely remember it. But fifty thousand people got a PhD in the US in 2009, so it’s not very unique.

What I will remember is the time between Christmas and New Year when I sat in the pub with Colin, and he mentioned that he’d been to 30-something gigs that year. “That’s nearly one a week!” I said, “You should go to 52 next year.” And then, for some reason that I can’t fathom, he agreed. Despite being just a spectator of his crazy journey, for me 2013 will be the year that Colin took that insane bet.

So, that’s what I think this book is about. OK, there’s a bit about punk rock now and again, but that’s just allegorical flavour for the real morality tale, which is about doing something interesting in your life. Whatever you want, as long as it’s something you can tell people about. Something you will remember.

Dr Dave

I love music. Specifically I love punk rock music. I love it because it’s so accessible, its music anyone can get involved with and anyone can relate to. Punk rock music is the thing that gets me more passionate and excited than anything else in the world. I love listening to it, talking about and most of all going to watch it live.

I was very late to the live music scene. I didn’t go to my first until November 2010 but from that moment on I was hooked. It’s now January 2013 and I’ve now been to forty one. Thirty three of those were last year which to me is ridiculous. At the end of last year I decided I should probably try and cut down on the gigs and start to think about saving to move out of mothers and I should probably learn to drive. I’m nearly 27, probably time to think about growing up.
It’s that between Christmas and New Years 2012 and I find myself at the pub with one of my dearest friends. It had been a few months since we’d seen each other so we were catching up with each other. Telling stories of things we’d done throughout the year. He finished his PhD and is now a doctor of psychology. I went to lots of gigs. He was impressed with how many I’d been to and enjoyed my many stories. I then began to tell him about my plans to cut down next year and do some growing up. What happened next will shape the next twelve months of my life.

Dr Dave (who is now a respected member of society) told me I shouldn’t cut down and then challenged me to try and average one gig a week for the whole year. That’s 52 gigs! Straight away I said “no chance, I’m growing up this year.” I amazed myself with how well I withstood this idea. Normally I’m very much up for such a challenge. He then offered me the prize of a pat on the head and a kiss on the lips from our friend Sarah (she for some unknown reason wasn’t too keen on this part of the prize). Even with these massive prizes as incentives I stuck to my guns and said no and we left it at that.

The next day at work I thought a little more about the challenge. The more I thought about it the more it seemed like a fun thing to do. After all, I LOVE GOING TO GIGS. I spoke to some more friends about it; they all encouraged me to do it as well. Clearly nobody wants me to grow up anytime soon. I decided “fudge it; I’ll grow up next year.” I got in contact with Dr Dave, accepted the challenge and we decided on some rules. Here they are:
Go to 52 gigs before midnight on 31st December 2013.

Normally a “gig” is defined as an event for which you need a ticket (even if it’s free), but if you go to a music event lasting multiple days, in which it’s possible to buy a ticket to a single day’s music, then you’re allowed to count the number of days you’re there as separate gigs. A gig is an event at which (live) music is the main event - but for the purposes of this challenge we’ll also include that punk rock crap you nod your head to. We’ll need photographic proof from each gig.

Should you beat the challenge, then I will give you a hug and a pat on the head while proudly saying the words “good Pig”, and Sarah will give you a kiss (maybe on the mouth).

So the challenge has been accepted, now I just have to find 52 gigs for the year. How hard could it be?

Finding Gigs
When I said I now I have to find 52 gigs for the year I wasn’t strictly telling the truth. I have four gigs already booked for this year so technically I only need to find 48 more. That’s 7.6% of the work already done; I’ve got a sneaky head start.

A couple of days after the challenge was set I decided it would probably be sensible to start planning my adventure. The best thing to do is probably to work out what will create the biggest obstacles for me. I quickly realised that they would be having to work full time and the fact I’m sadly not a millionaire. Luckily I have the coolest boss in the world that will always help me have time off if it is possible, however as cool as she is at that she can’t get me a pay rise. Money will definitely cause me the biggest problems.

When I speak to people about the amount of gigs I go to they usually ask how much the tickets are. The majority of time they are usually surprised when I reply “between £10 and £15 most of the time.” I guess they usually go to see the “bigger” bands whose tickets usually range between £50 and £100. If was doing those gigs this whole challenge would be impossible. So the tickets themselves aren’t going to be the major stumbling block either. The biggest problem I will have is travel.

I’m sure everyone is aware trains are expensive. The majority of gigs I went to last year were in London. If the majority of this years are there as well I will spend over £1000 just on travel. Needless to say that is a scary amount of money. The obvious plan is to get to more local gigs at home in Colchester. The main venue for gigs in Colchester is The Arts Centre. Weirdly the same day I started to plan gigs and flyer for Colchester Arts Centre came through my door. It was if they knew of my challenge. Straight away I found gigs for screamo/post hardcore giants Funeral For A Friend, ska legends The Selecter and up and coming local band Dingus Khan.
Sadly, Colchester Arts Centre won’t supply enough gigs for me to complete the challenge. I used Google to search for gig venues in Chelmsford and Ipswich as they are the closest towns to my own. Sadly both appear to be pretty shocking for live music so I would have to go to London. I’ll worry about money later on.

I figured I best get some sort of system going to organise the gigs before I get started booking them. I also figured I better wait until I get some money. I decided the best thing to do is to make a table to organise the gigs. Once that was done I got online and started searching all the usual venues for gigs. A couple of hours later and I had 9 more lined up. That’s now 16 in total. This should be a piece of cake. Assuming I get the time off work…….and I can afford it.

Now I have a system for organising gigs and some lined up its time to start going to them.

Now listening to Truth or Consequences by Eric Ayotte

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