The Geek has inherited the Earth*before I start, I'm aware of the irony of blogging this.
I think one of the the reasons I rail against those folks who prosper in the arts by starting up a little web page selling their potential and their promises is one of pure jealousy: I lack the basic technological wherewithal to perform even the simplest online tasks, never mind conjuring vast fortunes out of whispers, miasmas and HTML.
I don't even know how to work FaceBook properly, and my feed is awash with sentimental drivel, unthinkingly regurgitated from websites that do nothing but churn out annoying memes about rainbows, positivity and all that gubbins. I try to hide those people's posts, but they don't disappear.
They never disappear.
I'm supposed to be a professional entertainer, and I work fairly hard at it. Entertaining, I mean. I can play a bit, sing a bit, get an audience chuckling, etc. But I know bugger all about this internet stuff. Java is an island, a coffee; Adobe is what Mexicans skim their breakfast nooks with. A Bing Bar is ... oh, I don't know. Something about crooners and alcoholism. I can't be bothered to formulate the joke. They're weak anyway.
The point is, I don't know much about this stuff, but it's the lingua franca now, and although I can point at the beer and shout, I can't really converse. And a large part of me doesn't want to. Rightly or wrongly, I resent having to add web savviness to my skillset. And 'having to' is the operative word; it's become obligatory.
I had a website once, but I broke it. I've spent some time looking at reinstating it or getting another one, but even an hour of research leaves me breathless with despair. I ended up stabbing a mandolin to death with a screwdriver out of sheer frustration.
But I'm a 'muso', and I've been writing an album; progress has been slow, and the nearer it gets to completion, the slower it goes. The wife thinks I'm frightened of finishing it in case it bombs. That's not it: I'm frightened of finishing it, because when I do I'll have to start selling it, and all that entails. Web work.
I had an album before, and I pulled it off sale and gave it away - not because it was rubbish (though it wasn't particularly good), but because I just didn't know what to do with it. I hated every minute of ham-fisted attempts at internet marketing, etc. I really don't know how these self-publicising crowdfunding, spamming nerks deal with the embarassment and shame. I genuinely don't.
I know it seems odd saying this, bearing in mind I'm in a band that does a fair amount of it. Suffice to say the division of labour is heavily skewed in one particular direction. If it was down to me we'd have a broken MySpace profile and very little else. If you are aware of any aspect of the band's workings that doesn't involve standing on stage, playing music or throwing in the odd iffy bon mot, you can be rest assured I had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Hardly fair, I know, but the plain fact is that if it wasn't organised that way, there'd be no band at all.
My reluctance to record and sell material doesn't come from laziness or from a fear of rejection, etc. blah blah. I honestly don't care about whether people like it, or even buy it. I know too many people who've made CDs, etc. because people have told them they should, only for those same people to stroll off whistling nonchalantly when the thing's actually been made. If I collected the unsold CDs from under the beds of everyone I know and bought a shitload of tile adhesive, I could turn the whole street into a mirrorball. Anyway, there's something toe-curlingly awkward about selling to your friends, an inevitability in this environment.
Not selling isn't something to fear; it's something to expect, and potentially even get a modicum of relief from.
The reluctance actually comes from a dread of reaching that point where I have to polish up a little corner of the internet, lay out my wares, activate the Paypal buttons and get iTunes on the case, tug on people's sleeves and start dealing with technology and affairs mercantile. I hate it to the point of phobia.
So yeah, when other people can become millionaires just by spending 15 mins on the right websites, old 'Cockfingers' does get a bit jealous. And frustrated.
Financial issues aside, I've got stuff to share, but can't give everything away or I starve. But I seem terminally averse to selling. And afraid of computers. And paralysed by options, none of which I have the basic abilities to get through.
The old 'Patron of the Arts' would come in useful about now. Some way of divorcing the 'product' from the 'sale'. NOT like crowd-funding, which I think brings the two things closer together, where the consumer directs the production (not artistically healthy, though obviously lucrative). More like the old-fashioned ones who just gave you a stipend and let you produce what you produced, free of interference and quotas.
Half of me wants to get over the block, make big music and sell my little heart out (Mrs E wants a house upgrade), whereas the other half of me wants to get rid of everything but a couple of ukes, forget recording and selling music, sticking to the band and doing occasional freebie little ditties on YouTube, pausing only to eat soil.