In 2015 the best thing that happened to me, was something that seems to come from a cliche - but occasionally cliches become cliches cos they’re true.
It's something along these lines: when you follow your bliss, don’t ever overlook the journey that entails. What it means is, if the only ship available that follows that bliss is full of pirates and assholes, that is who you’ll be stuck with for most of your life. If you’re lucky, there may be another kind of ship. Or, there may be something else worth aiming for. The journey is what you spend most of your life doing, so it is at least as important as where you imagine you want to be in a future that has not yet happened.
I doubt I am the only one who finds more than one thing interesting and worthwhile persuing. It’s a good thing. This year I jumped ship (without the bloodshed involved in this picture.. but only cos the thing about assholes is that there is always another one to replace them ;)) and escaped being part of an industry whose every facet has disgusted me for years. 2016 is a new journey towards something that turns out to be similar to what I was aiming at in music: doing something that will actually have a positive effect. Whoever said you can change the world with a song, clearly did not live under the current flavour of global capitalism.
So, “doing something that has a positive effect” - maybe I just changed the ship, or maybe it’s a new take on the goal. What’s important is that the ship is different: that I don't have to participate in something I see as damaging - and not only to the very thing it professes to support. My day to day life is not pouring energy into things that get blocked by gatekeepers, or that require me to be part of the sea of desperate voices viaing for attention. My day to day life is getting to cut code for a leftie software firm, and write stories for a feminist games publisher. So far the journey has only been several months, but already so much more rewarding than dealing with pirates*. It’s one of those journeys where effort in actually results in something happening, and where the people in charge aren't assholes.
You guys were the solace in the journey - which is why I am writing this. I couldn’t have written as much music as I did if you hadn’t been open to listening. You are rare and awesome for that. So for 2016, I hope that you all get to enjoy the things that your day to day life is made up of. May you be surrounded by good people, and may the things that you do bring you joy and the sense that you have made something happen. May 2016 be your best year yet.
* a ranty aside here in case anyone reads the wrong thing into pirates. It’s not about ripping CDs. Pirating my music is ok by me. If you haven’t heard something, you should be able to try it out. If you don't like it, no love lost. If you like it, you should buy it, unless you are genuinely broke. If you don’t, that’s not good, but at least you look for new music, so you still aren’t anywhere near as bad as the actual pirates I am talking about - those who seek to extract money from the young and hopeful for services that aren't really services, those who prop up an industry that constantly re-hashes, plays it safe, and plays to the middle. Those who support it’s going nowhere using gate-keeper tactics, sydicated promo and booking, and reactive marketing tactics that rely on repeating ideas because they already sold once, twice, or a million times already. Not to mention those who insist on saturating music with the kind of gender propganda that pushes polarised ways of being on us all. In short, if you are reading this, you are not the kind of pirate I am talking about, and I thank you for it!