When you’re hammering a nail with a fumbling mangle of thumbs as I have, the inevitability of smashing flesh instead of metal is all too, well. Inevitable. The instant your brain registers the intense calamity causes a cataleptic freeze while the shock paralyses you moments before the avalanche of growls and expletives. Having got to the end of 2016 with no sensation left in my nerves and with tear ducts drained, I felt frozen in that moment of shock. Mouth open. Eyes widened. How many of my musical heroes gone? How many talented actors? The generation of artists who inspired me across multiple art forms suddenly started disappearing with no heir apparents ready to carry on the baton or bear the standard of creativity relentlessly onward. How can you replace Bowie or Prince? Or Gene Wilder?
During the bereavement, someone posed the question that if an unknown David Bowie tried to enter one of the modern day talent contests such as The Voice or The X Factor, how far would he have progressed? The answer showed how our generation is doing its upmost to destroy the creative fabric that fuels our dreams, morals and empathy.
In our self-obsessed, solipsistic revery that somehow the path of human evolution needs to know every thought in 140 characters or less, we are simply ‘too busy’ to stop and truly listen to each other let alone marvel at true musical or artistic talent. We need to have the arts carefully packaged into heavily edited and vetted radio, news, podcast or Facebook post fed to us intravenously through our technology. Our ever depleting batteries rationing our exposure through a Retina prism of corporate bias and design. You could say that the true artistry is being shown by accountants and marketeers trying to convince the world that all that glitters is gold. It’s the moment you realise you’re reaching for the gourmet cook books far less often and emptying your trash filled with microwave Pilau rice packets and own brand tomato soup tins.
Prince was not like any of us. As a late teenager, he knew how to play in excess of 10 instruments and how to record his tracks with astonishing competence. Throughout most of his career, many people never knew that he was an exceptional producer and engineer. Listen to a Prince album next to another of the same year and it will be louder, clearer and have an energy and dynamism to match his relentless drive. How could this young black guy stand in front of an audience in nothing but bikini bottoms and a trench coat and have the audacity to wrap a guitar around his neck and kick out rock guitar solos? Because he wasn’t spending every minute of his day fiddling with a mobile phone taking selfies and pretending to be a rock star.
So here I am. I’m not Prince or David Bowie. I never will be. But I am on a personal creative path. I have been all my life. Searching. Feeling. Closing my eyes and letting music propel me somewhere else. This website will show the result in audio visual form. Now in my misanthropic forties, I know I must walk deeper into the forest and wilderness away from the chatter and chaff and seek new dreams, morals and empathies. And if you’re reading this on your iPhone slurping your way through yet another bowl of soup, well, I can only remind you of a marketeers dream slogan. ‘Think Different’.