Monday, 16 January 2012

Unexpected items in the Bagging Area

Last night's pre-bed noodlings wove their magic, as they are sometimes wont to do, and I woke up this morning with a fully-formed new song on my lips. Now, I'm waiting for the delivery of one or two items for the impending tour, but unless the Man from Parcelforce ends up doing a sterling impersonation of the Man from Porlock, it's pretty much in there, and I'm rather pleased with it.

It's still rough, and needs considerable panel-beating, but it has the potential to be a cracking little number - kind of late 50's Sinatra in style. Probably one in ten songs I write get the kind of thumbs-up I gave this one.

What I found interesting about it, however, was that my first reaction was: "There's no way I'm putting this one out as a 'weekly freebie'. I'm saving this one."

So, I'm beginning to change my Quality Control perameters; the reject bin has been relabelled the Giveaway Bucket, and those diamonds in the rough are being filtered away to safety.

The implications of this are manifold. Would I only release the B-stock if they weren't freebies? Am I in the proper position to judge what's a good song and what isn't, even when I wrote them? What am I going to do with the A-stock? If I only release the seconds, will people think that's the best I can do? Does that matter?

I don't have the answers; I'm just ruminating out loud really. I don't even think I'm trying to make a specific point - I just thought it was an interesting development.

Another interesting development leads me to concede at least one point. The sudden need to come up with a new, original song - as well as at least one new piece of writing - every week has stimulated creative muscles long-since withered and ossified. I'm noting down ideas I would have previously allowed to slip back out of my mind, and my ears and imagination are more open. If it continues in this way, I think it likely I'll be a far better songwriter this time next year than I am currently, and possibly more creative, self-disciplined and productive in general.

Of course, the recipients of the freebies may not necessarily directly feel that benefit. We're back to the implications of the internal Quality Control Inspector. We'll have to see how it pans out.

The final interesting point is raised by the notion of cheating. It would be very easy to cheat at this, and I'm sure when my schedule is ramped up to fever pitch later in the year it may be very tempting, but I find I have no desire to do that. I've got notebooks going back years, containing literally hundreds of songs that have never seen the light of day. It would be all too easy on a busy week to pull one of those out of the bag. But I won't. Partly, I won't because cheating this challenge would be cheating myself, and would weaken, even if only in my mind, the principle that has driven me to do this. Partly, I won't because the vast majority of those songs are bloody awful, which is why they've never seen the light of day in the first place. Anything I'd consider good enough to use, or even to cannibalise, I'd rather put somewhere else than in the weekly freebie bin. So I won't cheat.

Anyway, stuff to do. I'll probably do the next song on Thursday - it's always a good day for it. It probably won't be called '50 Ways to Leave Your Mother' as someone suggested - the Quality Control Inspector wouldn't stand for it.

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