First up today – a little breakdown of my second solo acoustic gig earlier in the week. This time the venue was totally deserted for the first hour I was meant to play. I ended up going on at 10pm, eventually playing to five Japanese exchange students. Due to the late start and the feel of the room I didn’t play any original material, instead sticking to an hour of popular covers. A bit of a depressing situation, but not one that I’m unused to and it does build character – you have to accept that there will be many sub-par gigs over the course of a career in music. Everything is a learning experience.
Right, onto my main thoughts for the day. I want to talk about one of the other things that has been a massive contribution to my lack of musical progress – the amount of video games I play.
Now I want to be perfectly clear here – this is not a post condemning video games in any way. I am still very passionate about games as a burgeoning art form. I don’t believe they cause violence or unsavoury behaviour. I don’t believe they are harmful to children (the appropriate games at least!). With that out of the way, let’s proceed.
There is a scene in Special Correspondents, the latest film from Ricky Gervais, where his character says ‘I think maybe I play video games because they’re so much better than my real life’. That line actually brought a tear to me eye as it rang very true to my own experiences for several years. I went through a very nasty child custody battle in addition to my own previously documented emotional issues, and gaming has been a very powerful way to take me out of my awful daily struggles.
The problem with my gaming habit was just that; it became a habit. An addiction. I wasn’t really working at the time so I would get up, take my daughter to school, then play games solidly from 9am to 3pm, pick her up from school, then once she was in bed I would game from 7pm until 3am. That was my life every day. I don’t want to downplay the positive side that it helped me cope; but at the same time I can’t help but think of those four or five years and wonder how far along my music could be if I’d poured my efforts and emotional anguish into that instead.
Up until a couple of weeks ago I was a regular contributor to an independent gaming website called Low Fat Gaming. In fact I did more than contribute, I was a founding member and appeared on every single podcast the site ever did. If like me, you are into gaming I highly recommend checking the guys out at http://www.lowfatgaming.com.
I made the very hard decision to step away from being a regular contributor – between my family, teaching job, retail job, wedding band, wedding duo, gaming website and getting my original music off the ground, something had to go. And by cutting down on my gaming I will open up a lot more time to work on my music. Quite how well I stick to this remains to be seen!
My philosophy going forward has to be stripping back time spent with other people’s creations, and concentrating on my own creativity instead. After all, its so much easier to consume than create.