Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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A Dispassionate Approach to Life and Open Mics

August 7, 2012

The difficult part of taking a month off work and spending my entire vacation at home trying to take care of personal projects, is that I must take care of my personal projects. In other words, at the beginning, the month look massive…then the time fritters away, and I watch as not nearly as many projects get done as I had hoped. So yesterday, after four days at home without going out anywhere, I was thinking about the best mindset to have to tackle projects and accomplish things – anything.

I had this sudden revelation about how if no emotion was to be involved, if like a robot I could go from task to task without thinking of the enormity of the task, the other things I have to do, or whether I like the task or have enough time for that task at that moment, then surely I would be the most productive person in the world. I came up with this aphorism, or something that seemed brilliant at that moment and I have forgotten already: Life is a continuum. There is no difficult or simple, agreeable or unpleasant thing to do. Our jobs that earn the pay, and our passions that may or may not lie elsewhere; our vacation time and time off as opposed to time “on”… these are all the same. If we could approach all of these things the same way, with the same equal non-emotional approach, we would be super producers.

You see, that is nothing like a pithy aphorism. It is a sprawling whatever.

But the point of all this is that when I did finally go out to play music and attend the open mics for the first time since last Wednesday – I had been playing lots in my living room – I found myself arriving at the Tennessee bar open mic at just the moment when a great band from Germany was on the stage, along with my friend the violin player, Joe Cady. The house was ripping apart with delight at the music of the gruff voiced singer, who also played a resonator guitar, at the violin, at the upright bass, the tambourine and the harmonica.

Again and again they were invited to play more songs as the regular musicians waited their turn and paid homage to the fun band. Then, right after them, another guy went up with some country songs of a very American sound – and who was a dead ringer for Arlo Guthrie – and he called on the violin and bass player too, and again there was coolness in the vibe.

In fact, it looked like an amazing night at the Tennessee. On the other hand, I was impatient to go to Coolin, I knew that I might have to wait for a long, long time at the Tennessee before performing, and so I coolly, dispassionately, left. In other words, I was sitting there in the middle of what looked like a fabulously promising open mic, but I knew there was another fabulously promising one up the street, and having already tasted one, I decided to move on to the other without emotion.

Hit here the transitional walk from the Tennessee to the Coolin during which are encountered some street dancers:

I was rewarded by an equally as interesting open mic at the Coolin, although there were no groups anything like the German one at the Tennessee. But I was rewarded by playing my set of two songs, and then like many others in the evening, I got to go up and do another song at the end of the night.

Later in the evening some of the people who played at the Tennessee showed up at the Coolin, but not the German band or whoever that hillbilly was who played after them.

So I was able to move without emotion on an objective from one place to the next, take in both of them, and then play. Here, though, is where part of the lack-of-emotion-dispassionate-theory-to-life breaks down. If we were to actually perform our tasks with no passion and emotion, then we would have no art, talent, love, interest or anything else that makes it all worthwhile in the first place.

Shit life can be complicated sometimes!

(On the other hand, I sure had a lot more to spew out here after one night out and four nights in; so I might try it again.)

Oh yes, and I almost forgot the way I really wanted to end this post on the same theme: Through all that great music and carousing last night I ended up making 27 little videos of the performers! Now there too again I must somehow select and drop and cut a massive number of them, as I will not throw 27 choices at you. Do I do that with passion, emotion, or cold editorial selectivity? I’ll just do it….

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