RIDING ON A WAVE OF COOLNESS & CALM
When the sun shines onto the water, or through the clouds, or reflects on a mirror, or shines through tiny gaps in the curtains, creating a beam of light where you can clearly see the droplets of dust, dead skin and other discarded natural artefacts simultaneously fall slowly and gently to their temporary resting place, in perfect formation and unity whilst you are burping and farting on your settee on an early autumn afternoon, it makes you think about things that are beautiful. Did it jump or was it pushed? Did anyone see?
You’re going to have to listen deep into my back catalogue of music releases in order to get that reference. If you haven’t, then I suggest you look. I’m guessing most of my stuff is available on the internet for free, not only because I have purposely and thoughtfully made a lot of content available for nothing but I discovered the other day that there is a torrent website is hosting my music. Which I think you will agree, is a bit odd.
Why are they pirating illegally something that is already available for free? Who has done this? And more importantly who has cared about my music enough to painstakingly re-upload it to the World Wide Web… again?! Immediately, I was put in a position I have never been in before. I thought of myself as a musician and how I felt about that happening to me. I noticed the torrent had a considerable amount of downloads – it may be some kind of spammy botty kind of thing doing that bit but I noticed none the less. So, I was part delighted that so many people across the world had downloaded my music to sit on their hard drives, unlistened to forever, collecting dust that has fallen from sunbeams then been sucked into a fan on a laptop or PC only to settle and probably one day break it’s accommodator, settling right next to, snuggling up right beside one of my MP3s that I made once.
But the problem I have with it, apart from the fact I have no control over the quality of what has been shared, is that I do not have the faintest idea of to whom or where it has gone. When you download stuff officially from a musician like me, who has decided that record companies, promotion or indeed friends and relatives are not worthy of bothering with, then you kind of rely on the information you get from your World Wide Web activity. It doesn’t give us your name and address or anything but it gives us graphs and statistics that we can use to make our next move. Although that torrent appears to have made me 1000s of new fans, I can’t clearly see what I should do with them.
For instance – I noted earlier this year that there were a few people downloading or streaming my music in North Yorkshire, Lancashire and a little bit in Scotland. This led me to scaling down my live (one man) show ambitions to using just 1 acoustic guitar in the anticipation that we could feasibly do shows in other cities. Doncaster, Manchester & Edinburgh would be the obvious choices given the statistics I had at the time. We’d have done a date in London too just because we were making the effort and might as well!
These statistics are important to me & probably all other musicians like me, who are just little specks of dust in a simultaneous falling motion, wondering what best course of action to take, as they will perhaps dictate what they will do next. We’ll probably do that tour next year but I know it will be horrible! I know that no matter how I look over the stats that this business is generally built on luck & being in the right place at the right time & generally not about being the best artistically.
I’m not saying that I am the best artist you will ever hear or that my songs will move you to any kind of emotion. But if you think they do and I am… I need to know about it! My musician friends would also love to know how much you’d like them to come to your town – so tell them! They are waiting for your polite messages on Twitter, Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube, Soundcloud, yeah fuck it… even Myspace. Just leave your comments and support your local musicians wherever you are… online. Socially, and social networkanly.
I know from experience that 1000s of those people who illegally downloaded my music via that torrent live in Japan, where they download, consume then shit out free stuff and pass it on like a giant, country-long human centipede. I’m sorry that I have had to bring that analogy to you but, apart from me alluding to a film that should never have been allowed to be made/produced/shown or funded and having been slightly racist and maybe a little prejudiced, you can take solace in the fact that ‘at least he did not say the same thing about Manchester’.
I didn’t ever think that politics could affect the music I love. After one venue goes bust, and then the next promoter falls out of pocket, a sound guy puts his PA away and a great band give up making music because the infrastructure and logistics have been taken from under their feet, that’s where I carry on as a musician. That’s why we have, at Meiosis gigs, a clear rotation of more or less the same bands playing with me & supporting me over and over again. I have been recently criticised, fairly and squarely, that we have the same bands over and over at Meiosis shows. Having been performing in this town for 15 years, having DJed and promoted shed-loads of bands - I think I know who are the good ones to present to you. Also this came from "people" who have only seen one show and review purely by looking at my posters on Facebook. I think the people who do this by looking at posters on Facebook, whilst massaging their genitals, should perhaps get themselves outside once in a while and force themselves to subject themselves to something new that they may or may not like, rather than sitting at home being force-fed easy, fame-induced music via a spout like a really, really already far overfed goose.
So anyway, come to my gig this Sunday at The Head of Steam in Newcastle. If you can’t make it I will assume it is because you have been in a car crash or a close family member has died.
The New York Times, The Guardian & The Northern Echo (echo) have all given me 5 star reviews, but I have chosen to be humble, as our lord would be if he came to you begging like an idiot, and show you this review from our local Newcastle Magazine, The Crack.
Songs For 20 Something Year Olds
"Meiosis is actually Newcastle based Martin Thompson, a talented so-and-so who certainly knows his way around a wonky tune with added Scott Walker style flavours. There are touches of Bowie too (from the tuneful playfulness of his Hunky Dory period to the avant-clatter of Low). And you’ve got to love a tune called Roald Dahl which has the refrain: "We miss you… When I die, be dignified."
I enjoy watching the dust bounce. I care only for a certain few bands and artists and I doubt they care for me in the same way in return but that is how it is. I don’t ever ever want to be remotely "famous". If I am then, I hope it’s for the music I have made and not the killings I am quietly plotting.
If you enjoy my blogs… check out my music. I will return to blogging about the Tories next week x
You can buy the new Meiosis album, ‘Songs For 20 Something Year Olds’ for just £3 (like Martin said) here: http://meiosis.bandcamp.com
This is Martin’s next gig:
on Twitter: www.twitter.com/musicbymeiosis
and Facebook: www.facebook.com/musicbymeiosisuk
and the World Wide Web: www.musicbymeiosis.com