In the process of moving house (musical witness protection scheme if you must know) I stumbled across a lot of musical paraphernalia and ancient hoardings, including some old Ocelot magazines from when I had my first stint at putting pen to paper on behalf of the local scene. Back in those days the article style was one of general commentary rather than review and as getting my hands on new music to review these days is like getting blood out of a particularly impervious stone, I thought I’d return to that approach.
A lot seems to have changed since my first Ocelot literary outings (6 years ago…blimey) and Swindon’s main problem is still the way it views itself. Maybe it’s the result of being one too many punch lines on the likes of Have I Got News For You, maybe it is the Council’s reticence to get behind the towns musical endeavours, maybe we have just become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Okay, the amount of venues available to acts is at low ebb, but for creativity the town still punches well above its weight, doesn’t that just mean it’s time to think outside the box. All meaningful musical legacies happened away from the mainstream anyway – punk, hip-hop, rave, so why not create, if not a new genre, at least a new way of doing things.
Organise acoustic gigs in cafes and restaurants, throw basement parties, hire out halls and pub back rooms and put your own show on. Embrace the technology that enables you to by-pass the traditional first rungs of the ladder of gigging – stream your shows to far-flung audiences, be your own recording studio, it’s all about innovation not quality. Record “found sounds, ” play guerrilla gigs, busk on unauthorised spots. Avoid the normal patterns and approaches, never explain yourself. Be legendary. Don’t give them what they want, give them what they didn’t even realise it was what they wanted and do it when they least expect it. Be a musical terrorist, a poetic hand-grenade. Viva la Revolution.
First published in the June ’14 edition of The Ocelot Magazine. The image is an example of poetic terrorism, a harmless but effective attitude to apply to the way you view the world.