I love the internet, I get to do cool stuff like read Matt Hale’s aquablog newsletters and hear what he’s been thinking about that day. I look forward to them as he has a writing style I really enjoy. This is his latest one, and its had me thinking…

Hi All!

A few weeks ago on an internal/infernal flight from somewhere to somewhere else, a flight attendant started an announcement with “happy afternoon”. Seemed a bit excessive to me. Happy birthday – sure. Happy anniversary? Perfectly fine. Even ‘happy June’ seems ok but happy afternoon, with maybe a little ‘happy afternoon’ card with a sleepy-eyed bear slumping over his workstation…..it’s just wrong.

Happy afternoon everyone. Could you pick up some milk on the way home? Ta. Having dealt with the tricky question of “what is music?” last time (and thanks for all YOUR thoughts btw) what shall I pointless about today? Well I’ve been doing yet more interviews and another question that keeps coming up is “what exactly IS success?” The journalists don’t actually ask that question but I have been tending to try and answer it anyway. After a few days of press you tend to answer the questions they ask less and less. I pity the last interview of the day as they get JUST PURE SHIT from me…..

So what is success? Here’s a fun game:
choose which of the following outcomes would count as successful in your life:

Wealthy and influential
Married with 2 kids
Ignored by everyone
Noticed by everyone
New ‘friend’ every weekend
Celibate but with an enormous ding a ling
Look like a duck
Boring job spectacular weekends
Boring job boring weekends
Saving the world but bad hair
Absolutely brilliant hair
Decent hair

It’s been proven (by science) that EVERYONE IN THE WORLD has a different definition of success. Yet THE WORLD sets out a few narrow presciptive parameters and says everything outside them is FAILURE and WRONG and STUPID. Yeah!

I am not, by the usual measures, a particularly successful musician. I can’t fill a stadium anywhere. (even my gig at the Catford Mouse-Stadium was only half full) my albums refuse to go to no.1 and i’ve been dropped more times than a monkeys’ yo-yo.
But I am doing what I love with people I love and some people in the world love what we do. And i’m happy more often than i’m sad. There we are then.

Have a good day please.

This is relevant to a question Ive been chewing on for years, why are some musicians so successful, when they really don’t make good music at all? I don’t have a thorough knowledge of popular music, I just know that every time I decide to give the radio a chance I immediately regret it. And when I’m shopping in the mall I generally want to sew my ears shut so I won’t have to listen to what is playing.

But is that success? In some ways I guess it is, although I think there is more to it than being played in Abercrombie every 20 minutes. What message are we sending to musicians out there when sucky music receives most of the attention, awards, and money? There are of course some bands like Muse that are super talented and successful, and I think Aqualung is more popular than Matt gives it credit to be.

The Mummers, one of my personal favorites, are just starting out. I hope they are successful, because that would mean I can listen to them for years to come and they can continue to do something they love.

We have a good friend Nick, of Sub Rosa, I wonder how successful his music career will be. And if he is having fun, and creating music that people enjoy (which he is) then Hopefully he already feels successful.

Maybe success is making/doing something you are really proud of and having absolutely brilliant hair (in which case the hair will put Nick right at the top). It helps if other people like it too; validation is always a bonus, but not altogether necessary.

Now look who is pointlessing.

Popularity: 38% [?]

  One Response to “Battling the concept of success”

  1. I have to say that if looking like a duck is success, I win.

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