Friday, February 19, 2010

Harrisburg Diaries

Hi People,

So here I am in Harrisburg. "Where?" I hear you all ask simultaneously? Why, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, of course. OK, a few things about Harrisburg:

It's actually the state capital of Pennsylvania, which was apparently decided after one of the former national capitals of the USA, Philadelphia (also in PA - the two letter abbreviation for Pennsylvania), was deemed to be inappropriate as the state capital as it was already the nation's capital. But then it was decided (by the powers that be, I guess) that the capital of the USA needed to be in a neutral territory, to prevent bias and favouritism amongst the states, and thus the capital was moved to the newly created city of Washington, in the District of Columbia.

At least, that's what the nice lady I was sitting next to on the plane on the way here yesterday said, who may or may not have had a few drinks before she got on the plane. But her explanation, although overly and perhaps unnecessarily flirtatious given that the subject was American history, seemed to make sense at the time to me, seeing as how my brain was fried after a 5 hour delayed layover in Washington-Dulles airport. For those after cold hard facts, a better version can be found here.

Harrisburg is also the home of the famous Three Mile Island Nuclear power plant, which suffered a partial meltdown in 1979 and nearly destroyed the world. So wish me luck while I'm here. Although this could be the perfect opportunity for me to mutate and get special powers, providing that special power is perhaps an ability to glow bright green in the dark.

Anyway, I'm here to do a showcase for the Millennium music conference, which I in fact did earlier tonight in the lovely Midtown Scholar Bookstore. If you're ever in Harrisburg, then I recommend a visit. It's one of those stores that won't necessarily have a copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for you, but if you're interested in Huguenot Silverware in England (1698-1764) then you just might find what you're after (I actually saw a book with that title).

Anyway, being at another one of these music conferences I am again forced to try and find my relevance as a musician, artist, and performer, which is always a fairly confronting task, particularly when faced with the possibility one may not be so relevant after all. The whole thing about the music industry than can be so disenchanting is that everyone's trying to make a buck or fame out of it and you can smell the desperation in the air. It's enough to actually make me consider a career change, as I don't think I particularly fit into this ethos. Sure, I'd like to be able to make a living out of this, but it's not WHY I do it. In fact, if you did ask me why I do it, I might not be able to tell you, but it has to do with the music; the creation of music, what it means to be able to create music, and how it makes me feel to listen, play and create MUSIC. So yeah, while being at one of these things is good in the way it challenges you to think about your relevance to the music industry, it is also a very sobering experience, as it does make you think about your career.

Anyway, as I sit in my hotel room at the end of the day with the TV on mute (a left-wing satire show - on HBO of course) sitting here writing this and thinking about the bigger picture, these are my thoughts. On Sunday it's back to Nashville and a different slice of music industry reality. When one is an artist, it's hard to look objectively at what you do and see it as commerce. Maybe the trick is not caring about it so much, and not applying any set of guidelines or pre-conceptions.

As Frederick Nietzsche once said: "We have art so that we do not die of the truth".

Over and out.


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