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Archive of ‘Insane Rants’ category

The Universe is Massive and I’m a Professional Bogan

At home resting after a busy few days and watching some good old Saturday night TV, I saw a guy mention on a talk show something about how small we are compared to all the billions of stars and galaxies and whatever – and the question that popped into my mind was – “so if we are all so small and insignificant, why do all the details of my life feel so big to me?”

I don’t really have an answer to that.

boganThen I got to thinking about what I do with my time, and how I tend to go off on tangents and be all over-extended, doing and starting things that aren’t really part of the “plan”. And how I habitually do things that in some way, even if mostly just imagined, put me in a vulnerable position.

Most people, especially those pushing forty like me (Aggh!) play it safe. They don’t put themselves out there, but I do. That’s what it means to be an artist.

I still gig and while on stage I bare my soul both through my music and through the rambling in-between songs, the jokes and the swearing and ranting and stories and Kramer-esque unsubtle honesty that people love. The saying of the things they play it too safe to say. (I don’t mean that as a criticism – safe makes sense.)

I write blogs like this, instead of just keeping my head down.

Then I do things like I did today. Things that barely make any sense, yet I kind of get off on it.

How I Get Off

Hmmm? get off? Sound interesting?

Well it’s nothing sexy, ok? Unless this photo is your particular cup of bourbon.

This is what I did today that to me is the equivalent of being an adrenalin junkie. I drove one hour to a complete stranger’s hens party in the Melbourne inner-suburb of Brunswick and dressed up as a bogan for money, as you do.

For all overseas readers, a bogan is an Australian thing, kind of equivalent to a trailer-trash redneck in the US but quintessentially Aussie. Refer to the photo – taken today. I am the brunette. Gizz a kiss.

I didn’t just randomly rock up to a party uninvited and dressed up as a bogan, although that would be a funny thing to do.

I was hired as part of an act called Bogan Bingo. And the scary thing was I hadn’t done it before and I only had half an hour’s practice before I did the gig, and I didn’t know the guy I did the gig with (I do now, his name is Josh, a consummate professional), and I had to operate a DJ mixer in tandem with a laptop to play music and cue grabs of songs that formed the punchlines to a set of jokes set up by the MC – and there was a very real chance that I could screw everything right up. It was all very nerve wracking…

…and I loved it.

Why?

That’s where I thrive. I actually thrive on uncertainty. A handy skill in an uncertain world.

That’s why I love playing my music on stage – because no matter how many gigs I do or how many times I have played a song before, every gig is a tight-wire act that could conceivably fall apart at any moment. Every gig is different. A brand new, living, breathing organism that will only exist in time for a single tiny window of time before dissolving back into the ether.

I don’t want to jump out of planes. I don’t need to. I have two ways of getting my kicks, my adrenalin rush. Put myself into a new situation (job, a new type of stage performance, a foreign country) or do yet another gig playing my music. That’s where my buzz lies.

A Funny Thing Happened As I Was Walking the Dog  Today

By the way – it’s an interesting story how I scored this ridiculous gig (which is just a laugh for me really, one that happens to pay), I went to the park with my daughter and my dog. And, this summer being what it is, it started to rain. There was only one other guy there, with his dog. He happened to be pretty friendly, and skilled enough at starting conversation that he got around my usual reluctance to engage in small talk (when sober anyway). Kept asking me about what I did, my work. At the time (how quickly things change) the year had not gotten underway with gusto and I was genuinely wondering if my online marketing business was going to survive or if it was time to find something new.

Then I asked what he did. “Bogan Bingo”, he says, with a shrug.

“Oh yeah, I see your van with the logo painted on the side up the road. “Balls On Fire Tour”, right?”

“Yeah, that’s my business”, he says. Goes on to explain it all and how he employs people to run the shows for him; how it’s a gas.

I go home, do some Googling. It looks like a stupid, silly, idiotic thing for a respectable father-figure type such as I to get involved with.

Perfect. Count me in!

I email the man, Darren is his name, enquire if he needs anyone new. He does. Voila. I’m a professional bogan.

Life is weird, the Universe is massive and I’m a professional Bogan.

It’s all about hitting your mid-thirties and not just giving up. Back in the 90s all of us Gen X’ers were going to DO something. Something awesome.

OK it wasn’t dressing up as a bogan, but it wasn’t rotting in a dead-end job and slowly dieing of boredom either…

DIY my Butt – Homemade CDs Suck and here’s why…

The following is the story of one idiot (me) trying to take the cheapskate option and hand-make five CDs to send to CDBaby to sell. And of how it nearly drove me to cause some kind of act of mass destruction that, had it actually happened, would more than likely have involved a printer, an Officeworks outlet, the five CDs in question, a life-size reconstruction of that zeppelin that blew up and one of those really long BBQ matches.

Let me explain…

A few weeks ago in an inspired (but stupid) moment I decided to hand-make the first five copies of my forthcoming “Dogs May Bark” CD. My rationale, if you can call it that, was to make them cheaply as a kind of mini-investment, sell them, re-invest the profits, make a few more and so on so that as I made more discs each time each batch pays for themselves and contributes to the next batch, or something like that.

I mean, I didn’t actually do a budget, I just figured it’d work out …

What’s more I gave myself 7 days to do it.

Yeah right.

I would like to say now, to the very few that will read this, that I will categorically never ever do that again even if some axe-wielding-maniac threatens to castrate me unless I do. I mean that. I will place my precious boys out on the block without resistance and contort myself in such a way as to give the man a clear shot and no chance of missing.

You see it should have been easy to make 5 CDs – but nay, it was in fact a complete pain the arse.

It started with the design. I asked my wife-except-for-the-marriage-bit to design the cover for me. That turned out ace but me nagging her to get it done within the 7 days didn’t do our relationship any good, especially seeing as our little darling 9 month old was keeping us up all night for no damn good reason (that we could ascertain anyway – you think WHAAAA! makes no sense during the day, try figuring out that shit at 4am).

seamusanthony_front_cover.jpg

Then I had to buy the discs. I went to Officeworks and bought those discs with the white printable tops – but they only seem to come in those thin covers with no back insert facility. This would have been ok if I hadn’t just spent five days stressing my girl out to get a back insert made. So I had to buy another bunch of non-printable discs so I could use their full size cases.

Of course I didn’t notice this in the shop, my girlfriend noticed it back home. So I had to go back to Officeworks to get those bigger jewel cases. That took me about a week to get around to. (It’s cold out there in Melbourne right now, and we live in the hills too. So you can see why I am so ambivalent about losing my nads – I can’t feel them anyway.)

Oh and on another tangent: Why are they called jewel cases? Is it because if you didn’t extract the oil to make the plastic covers that oil might turn into a diamond one day?

Anyway so then I needed five covers and we had run out of paper to print them and besides normal office paper wasn’t going to cut it so I bought some nice card but they only had 80% recycled. Hey, we all make compromises sometimes.

Yeah so look I went home and the printer was in its box because we moved house two years ago and we never seem to use it. Meanwhile we have changed computers to a nice new Mac (from a shitty old PC). Of course the printer wouldn’t work would it. And no idea where the driver disc is and it probably was just for PC anyway so spent an entire Sunday finding a driver to get it working. You know, searching through lame suggestions in forums until you finally find the answer yourself in some kind of zen-koan satori breakthrough. (I know what I mean, that’s all that matters.)

But, says the little pop-up, there are three empty printer cartridges….

One million dollars and another trip to Officeworks later…

Printed the covers. Ok. Look good.

Somehow it takes me until the next Sunday to get around to figuring out how to print the discs. By the very end of that nice sunny-outside Sunday I discover that although the driver I downloaded works for paper, it won’t work with the CD-Label print software that I spent the first half of the day discovering I needed. I think it was Tuesday before I printed the CDs.

And of course the whole 7 day thing is a dead duck by now obviously.

So now I have paper covers and sweet looking discs but I need to cut them out. I cut out one with some crap old scissors we have but it looks all wobbly and it took far too long. And then they don’t fit anyway. The cd artwork template we downloaded from the internet (we googled “CD artwork template”) wasn’t the right size! They were about a centimetre out!

Damn it! I DEMAND my free useful shit from the internet to be accurate ok?! Jeez!

So then (about a week later) I have to go to Officeworks AGAIN to get them to guillotine the covers. Which they slug me five bucks for. And while I was waiting for the McGenius who served me to find the time to slice my paper, I impulsively bought some cool computer speakers that I couldn’t believe were only $120.

Suffice to say, my little budget has gone right out the window by now and there is no way in hell I am making anything less than a $500 loss on these first 5 Cds – especially because in my infinite financial planning wisdom I totally forgot to factor in that I paid to get the recording done in a studio (well, the basic tracks, I did the cool computer sounds on my iMac). So what the hell kind of bizzaro-budgeting planet I was on in the first place I do not know.

And then I go to post them. I never post shit so I thought you know, maybe it’s be five bucks to send them to the USA from Australia. U-Uh. over $20 bucks. So I’m like “Oh so they get there pretty quick though huh?”

The post office lady just grunts. I had to strain to hear her sweet dulcet tones properly but I am pretty sure she said “A week”.

What are they sending them by? Canoe?

So suffice to say I was more than glad to wave those five little fuckers off and I hope the CDBaby people enjoy them and I went straight home and got three quotes for 100 cds done professionally and was perfectly happy to place a $500 order and I will never, ever go near the idea of home-making my CDs ever again. Good luck to you should you try.

And my back hurt typing this drivel so go to my myspace page shop and listen to my music already and then email cdbaby at cdbaby dot com and tell them you want one of the only five hand made CD copies of “Dogs May Bark” by Seamus Anthony, which are currently being paddled furiously to Portland from Melbourne, Australia by one poor sod who alone in this world truly knows the deeper hidden meaning behind the popular adage “to go postal”.

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Barking Mad Dog

Ok so I still need to get the actual discs out there, they are on my desk still (got distracted by work and baby and a lot of expensive unpasteurized cheese) but meanwhile I uploaded all six tracks to Myspace so you can actually listen to and apparently download them there as some thing they call an Mp3, or something …

If you do download all six songs and want to try and imagine what they would be like if you were listening to them on some antiquated format like a CD (thing we used to use to listen to music, don’t worry about it) then just think in your mind like this “This see-dee is called “Dogs May Bark”, and you’ll do fine.

Meanwhile just a did a whip through my RSS. Here’s the highlights.

If you have been labouring under the misconception that you are at all big, then Albert 2.0 should help you to get a little perspective on your delusions of grandeur. Thankfully he will also inspire you to achieve great things, like downloadable snacks, surely the next big breakthrough in food since the much maligned microwave. Seriously the author has a point, I spent years shooting for the quickest route to the stars only to get to 34 and realise that if I’d taken the long way round I would be there by now. Oh well. Fuck it.

Greg showed me how The Material really know how to pimp the crap out of their myspace page, and I gotta admit it beats mine, but then I’ve got the sound muted to save from waking up the baby, so who knows? Maybe my tunes are actually better? (Did I mention my songs yet?)

I noticed (how could you miss it?) that The Material have a song on a thing called Rock Band. I took one brief look at that and shrank back into the safety and warmth of my grandpa cardigan. None of that computery-gamey type shit for me thanks!

Meanwhile Andrew Dubber well and truly K.O.’d any delusions I may have held that the Long Tail was in anyway a good thing for small time hucksters like you and me. That makes two useless tales in my life. Stupid dog knocked over my early morning chow earlier, spent the first ten minutes of my day mopping up the carpet. Then get this, he vomits as a second act. Big dumb piece of poo. But you gotta love his style.

At the risk of sounding vaguely serious, I loved this line from the ubiquitous Seth Godin:

Hope. Do you offer hope for something really big in the future? Maybe just around the corner, but perhaps in the long run… What does it look and feel like? Are you drawing a vivid picture?

You see, that is what I have always believed that musicians provide as a benefit to the rest of us. Actually not musicians but more specifically Rock Stars: Hope that there is a way out of the Blah. (The fact that I ended up quite liking the Blah is besides the point; most people don’t.)

Just read this blog. The dude is your new guru. That’s a full stop to the left there (or a period if you prefer, but in Australia, I assure you, we definitely do not).

While you are reading it, listen to my six new tunes (well, the recordings are new) and remember…

“Dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on…”

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Superstar CD … Ready To Go!

Now all I need is an audience, maybe even two 😉

Yep I have extracted the songs from my iMac and am sitting out in the Office of Imagination and Procedure listening to myself really loud while the wife and baby sleep inside the house (Duh) and thinking “this shit is cool dude, you are ok”.

Couple this with the fact that I am pretty sure that the young lady who works in the video store has thang for moi, I could still be onto something here 😉

(Really the guy who started that wink thing has a lot to answer for – EVERYTHING I say is said with a wink).

Yeah so that’s my thing for today. Tomorrow I’m just gonna call the nearest CD burning dudes and place an order.

One Thing Every Day, dude*, what about you?

*I know too many winks AND too many ‘dudes’ but what can I do, dude, I’m like a refugee from the Bill and Ted Gen, man. And that rug really set off the room, y’know?

You Have to Be A Stubborn Little Shit

Yesterday I was mooching around in the garden, organising the firewood when I found one big lump of gum that was too big to fit into the wood heater (we live in the hills so all this kind of thing is par for the course).

I grabbed my trusty axe and started chopping to split the big lump in two.

Two hours later, and after much grunting, groaning, swearing and a zillion axe blows I was still going – sweat flying everywhere, alcohol being skulled back to kill the pain, a mad glint in my eye – and my girl was starting to get a bit worried.

I knew it wasn’t the most useful usuage of my time but I didn’t care. Why? because I am a stubborn little shit and I don’t like to quit until something is bloody well done already. So I kept at that lump of concrete masquerading as wood until finally after 2 and a half hours it eventually split.

I then held the pieces of defeated wood aloft, standing admist the splintery carnage of the battle and let out a macho roar (and my girl called me a tosser – but that’s beside the point).

The point IS that I am a stubborn little shit and I don’t like to quit until something is done properly. And frankly, when I was younger I started something – becoming a professional muscian – and I didn’t finish it (for various reasons, none of them good enough) and I just can’t live with that. Call it pride. Call it stupidity. Call it what you will.

I don’t care what you call it.

You see, last November, when my baby girl was a newborn, I was staring at her sleeping in my arms and I thought to myself “What am I going to tell her? That I just gave up?”

Fuck no. I want her to learn that the persistent win, not just the talented, or the lucky, but the PERSISTENT.

So here’s the deal. Stupid and pigheaded and unrealistic as it may seem, I resolve to do at least one thing everyday to move me towards my goal of becoming a professional musician until such point as it becomes reality.

This is a big call. But I don’t need to be Bono or Mick Jagger or anything, just earn a modest living playing music. Of course if I earn zillions, then fine, that’s cool, I can roll with that…

So what did I do today? Well the single most important thing (the Biggest Rock – Google it) I did today to sit down with Steve, my partner over at Rebel Zen and start learning how to run an effective social media marketing campaign. This means I will begin to build traffic to this site. I did other things too, like buy seamusmusic.com for my “static” music site, join Twitter (despite my reservations) and cancel the hosting I have here so that I save myself $150/year (all adds up), but the “biggest rock award” for today goes to the social media marketing lesson. very powerful Over at RebelZen.com, for example, Steve rustled us up 177 unique visitors in one day in our first week of the site being “live”. As for this here blog, well I think it’s pretty much just a few everyday, but soon … things will be different (cue evil laugh) Moo-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!

The Only Thing That Stops Us From Doing It Is – Ourselves

Crusty 35 year old rockers with family responsibilities and a real job are supposed to give up – right? … Yeah, right … as if …

When the music is in your blood it’s in your blood and no matter what your age you should never let it slide because you KNOW what happens then right?

You start to slowly, bit-by-bit, go completely fucking insane!

I know this, but like a lot of musos, I haven’t always been focussed enough to practice this. It’s like, one day I was always rockin’ out, or crooning a sweet ballad or whatever in front of crowds of either the proverbial man and his dog or (I kid you not) crowds as big as 5000 people, and then I wake up and although I have NOTHING to complain about (beautiful partner, baby daughter, home) BUT I only ever seem to pick up my guitar and give it a bash out in the shed late on a Friday night when I’m half pissed. Or, let’s be honest, totally pissed.

Well, fuck it, this has to change and right now.

So I will be documenting my efforts to get back on the old rock n’ roll horse right here so why don’t you get with this whole RSS thing and subscribe and follow me as I have another crack at it.

And look, don’t get me wrong, I am not an idiot, well not totally anyway, I KNOW I am too old to be some kind of teeny heart throb or whatever – but who the fuck wants that anyway? And it’s not that important to me to become some hugely famous rich dude, either (although I could try it on for size, just to see how it fits, you understand!) – I just want to play some music again man; solo, with others, in dive bars or (even better) on professional stages in front of decent, music lovin’ crowds again.

Let’s face it – what muso doesn’t want that?

The only thing that stops us is OURSELVES, man!

Time to stop making excuses and start making music again!

Time for a Change

Well, it’s almost like this blog was a placeholder in a way, because not only have I finally got myself an actual “Office of Imagination and Procedure” than I have decided to change the sub-header of this blog in order to really focus its purpose.

I am now changing “Words and Music from the Office of Imagination and Procedure”, poetic as that may be, to “Diary of a Crazy Musician Who Refused to Give Up”, because, frankly, that’s what I am.

And there you have it.

*Twenty minutes of fiddling around with the computer (and growing increasingly agitated) later*

I was going to include a screen shot of what it used to look like but I couldn’t do it, and now I’m drunk and more to the point – I’ve run out of beer and I couldn’t give a fuck about the stupid screenshot anymore so you’ll have to look it up on the way back machine if you know what that is and are really that bored.

And I had all this other inspiring shit to say but now this whole screenshot business has just pissed me off. When did words like “screenshot” even become part of my life anyway? It sounds like some kind of technical term that only porn stars and their camera crew would know about.

And come to think of it, that’s my whole point.

But more on that later. For tonight I changed the sub-title and that’s all he wrote. So goodnight to you.