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So I have been doing very little the past two weeks.

VERY LITTLE.

And I kind of want to hit myself in the head for it. My fellow Umbrella Jewel has gone back to Poland for a while and I just have not busked in about a week and a half and I wrote that song a week and a bit ago but other than that not a whole lot has been done here in Jax land. Personal things, yes, a few. Not much business wise.

I need to kick my own ass in a pretty big way. That or I need to actually schedule time for myself to call the busking line every week or fortnight so that I actually book slots which will most likely mean that I go to them. Next week and the week after should be fine as I have slots booked. In fact just phoned up and booked even more to make sure I actually go to most of them.

I also need to get on my ukulele and properly properly learn some of the songs I’m doing at the Ukelele Cabaret next week. Should be fine but I need to KNOW I’ll be fine! Sigh.

And for some reason the busking thingy will not send me my schedule for next week. Hmph..

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See, tonight I remembered and spoke to a few people about my staging of The Trojan Women which is yet another project one will never finish!

But would be cool..hehe..very cool..

Might have to read the play. Seen it once. Was pretty pants. Mine would be better. And weirder.

Ciao x

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So I wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped to be but in a way was more productive? Maybe?

I figured out that there was noooot enough time to do everything so instead simply washed up, showered and instead of going busking dedicated a few hours to the writing and recording of a new song (as shown in previous post)! In a way this is more productive though as it adds to the list of playable material AND I was kind of developing my guitar skills as normally I will go the easy route and strum chords instead of picking even if it was probably quite an easy pattern. So no money made today but progress made for sure. Which is good.

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New song: Jewellery.

Source: SoundCloud / Jax Braithwaite
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Are we only as productive as we perceive ourselves to be?

Today I woke up at about 10:30am and didn’t do a massive amount other than eat breakfast and have a cup of tea until about 12:30. Then I put Mad Men on, did a body test on Wii Fit and jogged on the spot until Mad Men was done (according to Wii Fit 8500km.. I don’t think so) and then hoovered the bottom floor of my house.

In my brain, this is all quite productive. So I’m in a productive mood. But in reality not much has really been done..although I did combine laziness with sport (aka Mad Men - something I associate with me wasting time - and jogging) which I suppose is something.

I guess it depends how you define productivity. To my mind, it’s getting shit done. While I write this I’m making lunch and eating it. Afterwards I will clean the bathroom and the downstairs toilet, wash up my stuff and have a shower.. which all seems to me to fit into the category of getting shit done. But equally, in terms of my professional progress or whatever, that’s nothing. No shit done.

The plan is to go busking for 4 until 6. Which is productive because it means I’ll be making money.. and maybe, just maybe, someone will approach me with potential work or I’ll gain a new like on Facebook or etc, but equally maybe not in which case I will have made money but ultimately very very little progress career wise.

Of course, you can argue that writing this blog is actually a total waste of time. Which it is, really. But then most things are, potentially. Even pursuing a career in the arts is a waste of time, potentially, or pursuing anything at all. You never really know until you know..and then you know.

I suppose anything that doesn’t involve doing fuck all in your bed, playing shitty games on Facebook or whatever can be seen as productive. Cleaning my house and exercising and eating and stuff aren’t progressing or promoting my career but they are progressing and promoting my good health. Busking is hopefully continuing to improve my general performance ability as well as my guitar aptitude and the balance of playing it at the same time as singing - and of course there is the financial aspect to consider.

Someone once said to me that you should treat unemployment/self employment the way you treat a full-time job. I had a similar mindset when I was unemployed. Ok, so I didn’t always get up early but I had a pretty set routine - get up, again probably do some Wii Fit, go to the library and apply for jobs or sort other things (we didn’t have the internet just yet).. I can’t really remember much else but I did what I could. I think you have to at least have that mindset though, of ‘get shit done’ otherwise you’ll get nothing done and you’ll end up old and very boring.

Anyway, probably time to go do something.

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Mundane The Musical is another project I might bring back into my own consciousness. This was an idea I had around this time two years ago, basically about a musical in which nothing happens. The opening song takes place in the morning. The person onstage pours a bowl of cereal, goes to the fridge.. and there is not enough milk for the cereal. As a result of this there is a big song and dance involving the whole cast.

I think the next song that would happen would be the kind of classic “opportunity” song that always happens in a musical, except again involving the whole cast and as a sort of introduction to the theme. Something along the lines of, today is a day full of opportunities, today is the first day of the rest of your life, except it’ll probably be exactly the same as every other day and it’s likely that nothing spectacular will happen.

The dilemma when it comes to a musical about nothing is the question of a narrative. It’s a bit like Love Soup, the brief sitcom which Tamsin Grieg appeared in, where two characters are shown to the audience to be completely perfect for each other, but they never quite end up meeting. Maybe this is an appropriate non-event for the musical. I kind of like the idea that the mundanities in life would be perhaps more ‘dramatic’ than the fact that they never meet, because they never meet and so they don’t know any better. Which in turn creates a dramatic tension in a really roundabout way..

Anyway I’m thinking of adding in a ‘walking down the street listening to music and feeling FUNKAY for no good reason’ song and a samba about nachos particularly focussing on when the salsa sauce is slightly too spicy for someone’s liking and that horrible moment of spiking the roof of your mouth with the edge of a nacho. There’s potential, guys.

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My natural response to being put on a stage as ‘myself’ and having to talk and stuff is to exaggerate my own awkwardness, even if I’m perfectly at ease. Being awkward is almost a natural state for me - it’s a sympathetic state and when onstage offsets the fact that you’re effectively going “I must think I’m good otherwise I wouldn’t be up here” which isn’t really something I’m that comfortable with admitting. But equally I can see that that approach doesn’t really have a place in some forms of performance even if it is endearing, and to come across professionally one should endeavour to overcome it. Particularly if the image you’re trying to purvey is one of slickness and coolness etc, for example if you’re one half of a jazz duo. Ideally what you’d want to show is a nice mix of good music presented by a musical James Bond type. Not necessarily with all of the bits about being a spy but definitely with the smoothness and the slickness blah blah. But without being a wanker.

Anyway so I think I need to find a way of phasing awkward Jax out a little bit, particularly for The Umbrella Jewels. I mean, awkward Jax is totally perfect for Mandy, could even be exaggerated, and a bit of it is ok for my solo stuff but not overly.

I suppose a lot of it depends on situation. For example, in terms of the clothing aspect of presentation, if I’m performing with The Umbrella Jewels at a London pub/venue with a bunch of probably rock or indie bands, rocking up in jeans and a t-shirt is fine - anything flashier is inappropriate and just uncomfortable for everyone involved. However, I will need to come up with something slinkilicious to wear for more up-market gigs.

All stuff to consider..

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So some time ago (as in well over two years ago) as part of a feedback session for uni a professional director basically told me to develop a stand-up/variety act character or persona because I should be a variety performer. This was quite an interesting concept to me - I’d been told before I could do stand-up but only because I wrote a panto and apparently it’s not a massive leap writing wise, not because I’m actually hilarious and that the world would celebrate my comedic genius. Until this director had mentioned it I always thought it an insane thought for insane people with no idea what they were talking about.

Anyway I’ve had various ideas recently but having performed a few gigs both solo and with my jazz duo The Umbrella Jewels I’ve had feedback which has culminated in an actual idea which could be worked with. I was considering the gig I had on the 26th - my general in between song chat and how Nick, my lovely other half, cracked up during one of the songs and remembering how, oh yeah, that bit is actually quite funny if you listen to it. And then about my UJ gig where there were at least 2 songs designed to be funny - my rewrite of Adele’s ridonkulously overplayed song Someone Like You and ‘the sexy one’ Sooner Or Later from Dick Tracy..

My housemate Leah said one point last week that she could see me developing a character who is effectively Bridget Jones using music or whatever. I hear they’re making Bridget Jones into a musical, incidentally. Anyway it occurred to me when I was on the loo earlier (obviously, as every creative idea happens in the bathroom) that maybe that character is called Mandy and maybe she’s unlucky in love as well as a number of other things.

I already have several original and cover songs I could include for Mandy’s act. And perhaps a theme (covers.. with a twist). Would need to write some things to talk about and maybe construct a narrative for each set on a kind of episodic basis which could definitely work. Then maybe do a lil test on here or something depending how many people are actually interested.

The trouble is that I’m very good at having these ideas. Executing them is a different matter. We’ll see, Mr Bond, we’ll see.

Peace out.

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This is literally the 14th blog I’ve had or been part of. On Tumblr. IS THAT NOT RIDICULOUS.

Anyway I have far too many thoughts and this is a mighty fine place to put them. I need a creative outlet, mayyyn. Dunno how concentrated it’s gonna be but there definitely needs to be a something, I need to organise my thoughts and not just have them everywhere like post-it notes which don’t have any sticky on them.

I have to make sure I do this and generally try and do it once a day so that there is some sort of outlet and hopefully by getting some ideas out of head and onto paper that’ll make room for some development of the ideas and not just new ideas forever and ever and ever amen.

Uh, yeah. Hm. Right.