This Girl's Voice

Tuesday, July 15, 2003  

•• Freakshows, Sideshows, Plaintalk and Sidewalks ••

Springer's in, Fleischer's out... and Bush defends his intelligence (O.K., i meant his admin's intelligence sources) as "darn good".

Good. Good riddance! and --whaaaa? In that order.
And dang me: all in a 24 hour news cycle.

O.K. Turning the page... aside from barhopping, where do i have to go to meet/bump into all the good smart funny guys in town? Anyone?

Being in the music world, my path has always crossed and collided with guys in this biz -- other musicians -- but looking back at my own experiences, that's never been a good combination for relationships... musicians are a wonderful, funny lot; now, perhaps fellow songwriters would be a nice thing, but it's never really happened that way for me, since much of my world early on was of one more on the road, and therefore isolated on a plane or bus with the same 4 musicians for months on end. Definitely a fun journey, but it can quickly become cliquey and elitist, and one has to be careful to not form superficial bonds of "friendship" with those you work with, just because that work keeps you all in incredibly close quarters almost all of the time. Creativity is something wonderful to exchange and experience together -- on stage -- in the studio -- in a room just writing together, there's simply nothing like it, but it's never been the end all -- be all -- in order to sustain a personal relationship on a romantic level, at least, not for me. Now, perhaps being involved with a creative person outside of the music world, but in other creative fields... that's very attractive to me, but our world's tend to not cross-pollinate as often as i'd like.

You'd think that having been in the music world since i was a teenager, i'd be a totally social person, at ease in public situations, and it's not that i'm not, in fact, i'm totally great with it, but it's probably been more of a "learned" experience for me, a survival technique; in my business, when you're promoting a record, on a press tour, you have to meet all sorts of people, shake hands with label and radio peeps in smoke-filled clubs or hotel restaurants and bars, and generally be "on" alot, so you get really good at being comfortable in large social gatherings, and become accustomed to alot of eyes staring in your direction; it's not that you ever expect it -- at least -- i nver did, and it's not that you're not yourself; on the contrary, as i came to understand more and more about myself through life experiences and vis-a-vis my music, it became a priority for me to "be" exactly who i am and not attempt to recoil or alter it in public situations, particularly since in the end, the "product" you are promoting -- your music -- is a reflection of yourself, and why make things harder on yourself by betraying who you are to those people you meet and have to meet, in the line of duty, so to speak, who are often times there to meet you, because they've come to know and/or like who you are or who they believe you are, through your music?

It's already an overwhelmingly out of the ordinary way to live your life, as it is; but it's also important to hold some things back, for your own sancity and peace of mind. To save something, for yourself.

Yes, it's a wonderful life choice, and i still can't believe it's a "job"; and it's not as if i even "chose" it; it just sort of "happened" -- a blessed cocktail of happy accidents and hard work, shaken and stirred -- and it almost doesn't seem fair to think about how lucky a songwriter can be or a session singer can be financially speaking, when one only has to go and compare it with some of my other very hard working friends' lives in the field of music -- many who have had to sing in wedding bands and perform at business conventions to make ends meet. Work no less honorable; however, there's truly not one single freaking day that i haven't been in awe and eternally thankful to the fortune gods for my being so lucky as to do what i do for a "living";

However, it's true that despite the kind of unrealistic attention one gets thrown in their direction, myself included, i never thought of it as being a powerful position to be in and take advantage of, and hopefully i never took for granted just how lucky i've been.

Nonetheless, at the end of the day, one tends to yearn for that night's social event (read: press tour) to be over with, so that you can just get back to your hotel room, slide in between the bedsheets, order some room service and chill out with a hotel movie rental or a good book; the hotel room becomes your place of refuge; your home away from home; your safehouse. and that's not, in the end, a healthy or realistic lifestyle. it's so easy to become used to "being in"- and yearning for - solitude and confusing it with isolation.

Subsequently, away from my touring obligations on the road for long periods of time, usually in wonderful places throughout europe (again, how lucky i've been!), my real hometown -- Toronto -- seemed, in fact -- was, an alien planet to me. i became so used to -- too used to -- walking down the street staring down at sidewalks, in order to avoid having to deal with other people looking ... at me.

You know, speaking of being out in public -- it was often difficult or awkward for me to figure things out and distiguish the difference between someone i might have met once or twice briefly who was in this business and perhaps important for me to remember even i lieu of my having simply forgotten who they were in the big mix of things -- or whether it was an actual total stranger who'd simply recognized me and in the friendliest of ways, felt compelled to say "hi!" wherein thereafter, i'd be somewhat compelled to say "hullo" back and at the same time, be making a mental note to myself to make sure that i wasn't going to get caught up in a situation that i couldn't extricate myself from, even though most people, most strangers - tended to be quite nice. Nonetheless, it was moments such as these, which had me trying to formulate exit plans in advance, or name-recollection schemes in order to quel the panic attacks i was having from fear of not being able to handle a tricky "business" situation, either way: a music biz person, or a fan, both were important. Now, doesn't that suck? However, that's what one does when you're 15 or 16 and trying to cope in an adult work, where they don't view you as an adult, but rather, a commodity. It tends to alter your world view, and distort it through the filter of a very narrow world, indeed. And it took a long time for me to not only recognize that, but work towards undoing it.

Indeed, it was apparent, that i actually really sucked at one-on-one social situations. i simply had no experience with it; with real-life personal social settings; what was friendship really about? how did you make friends, real friends, and then maintain those friendships? did they really like you for who you really were, or..... well, you know how the sentence ends.

I had learned to build up a protective shield in the most minor and politest of ways -- from the time i was 14 where i was having to deal with learning how to be surrounded by adults in an adult world; how to work in it; live in it, and when i got older, how love in it.

A few years back, when i decided to really chill out and take a break from the recording side of this world and focus on being a songwriter and producer and re-locating in Toronto, i did it because it was time to give myself the gift of getting a life. a real life. Learning how to make friends and be a friend. Getting back to my roots, my family, my friends and peers.

I was scared out of my mind, cuz i knew it would be easy for me to fall into the habit of working from my studio and never really feeling compelled to leave my house; being able to create and work from out of where you live is seductive; comfortable; everything comes to you, to your house, to your studio and that whole isolation thing is like a warm familiar comfort blanket and i had to make a concerted effort to try to go out, to accept other peoples' invitations to go out and not turn them down, and to actually reach out and initiate meeting up with other people; hello Dominic, hello Antonia.

I started to raise my eyes from my previous downward cast towards those Torontonian sidewalks, and, i looked.... up and ... outward.

And it felt ... great.

I accepted a position on a Board of my peers and the reasons were two-fold: i wanted to give something back to a community that has given me so much, and i wanted to actually rub shoulders with, and really get to know, my fellow songwriters and artists on a level where we could all be equally involved in giving something back, and also getting to know each other at the same time; that, was a great decision.

Then, when i got the cbc newsworld anncr.gig almost 2 yrs. ago, i was thrilled to be involved with something that was a world apart from the music business; more so, it was exciting -- and being a political news junkie -- i reveled in the possibility of meeting someone -- anyone -- other than music dudes; gawd, maybe i'd meet some really brainy don't-need-to-prove to-anyone-else-or-to-myself-cuz-know-who-i-am kinda guys... someone who could teach me a thing or two would be a real catch cuz i'm in the mood to learn, to be caught off guard; to be challenged on a lotta levels. And i don't mean this in any off-putting way whatsoever,but -- maybe i could meet someone who would intimidate me -- in the best sense, throw me off my game -- put my instincts then just throw in a healthy dose of really good dry wit and well, that's a "darn good" start.

So, has this happened as of yet? not really, on any personal relationship level, but it's a big goddamn building, man. And i've indeed made friends, as well as met some really fascinating, charming, witty, smart people.

Now, there's a difference between need, and being needy. The latter being an incredibly unappealing trait and not the least bit having to do with what it is i am, want, or who i am; it would be quite easy to drift back into the world of defaulting towards the music business world of men, but i know better, and again, i know who i am, and better yet, what i don't want.

Still, returning to my original question posited near the beginning of this post, aside from barhopping, where do i have to go to meet/bump into all the good smart funny cute guys in town? Anyone?

As i write this, Lisa Marie Presley and her band are on Letterman (i'm on the East coast, but watching the West coast feed) performing a so-so o.k-ish song; it's not really going anywhere; hey -- that was sort of kewl: (yep, Matt, i'm keeping da spelling that way) -- a bass solo with a little bit of dirty fuzz on it for 4 bars but then it went back into nowhere land.... she sounds like a young Cher with less of the marbles-in-your-mouth goat vibrato that some of those girls like Cher and Stevie Nicks have, only in a much deeper and more limited range. However, she sure looks like a star, in the sense that she seems comfortable in that spotlight... and she has those genes.... now, that's a burden i wouldn't want to have to carry around in this world..... i quite like what i've seen and heard from her in interviews; she's quite real. and lyrically, she writes from a place of truth, which is essential; i thought her 1st video really captured that blatant star factor she possesses/eminates on screen... she's a natural in front of the camera when she's performing... but the songs themselves just don't really do it for me... they sound so, disjointed, musically speaking and .... unfinished.

kinda like this post....

posted by voxpopgirl | 7/15/2003