As in the attached video, I have been considering the forthcoming speaking tour of the US – and more especially what connects the varying roles in which I have been cast over the years (songwriter, author, producer, label manager, band manager) and what acquired wisdom I might therefore impart. All those roles, it seems to me, are in different ways involved in “bridging the gap”, the problem which plagues all creative endeavours, as you take a perfect conception and have to make it real in an imperfect world. That concept applies not just to the artistic endeavours, but to the more managerial roles. In creating our own music company, we were “bridging the gap” between the way we would like music to enter the world, and the imperfect systems of the major labels. I took on the management of the live band for the same reason.
There is always a gap – a point at which many projects fail and simply become bright unrealised ideas. And bridging it, which appears to be my role in life, will assuredly drag you into a myriad very mundane tasks which you really don’t wish to perform but which are necessary if you wish to get from A to B.
This, it seems to me, is an area well worth exploring in our conversations this Sept/October, and one from which we can all learn. This frustrating gap between ‘aspiration and reality’ exists at all levels of artistic endeavour. All of us who have existed in the self-help, self-publish part of the world (which I know only too well wrestling to bring the Vicar Chronicles into the world) are only too familiar with the potholes and detours that litter the route. But they exist with major works as well. I recall Robert Fripp returning from the USA with the parts of the Power to Believe album, unconvinced that it was worth releasing. My role was to take those parts and give them a coherence which they may initially have lacked. There is also the skill of “honouring sufficiency” and accepting when something is sufficiently ready to move out into the world, without being endlessly over-polished and usually damaged in the process.
The current gap in my life is apparently the woeful difference between the expected and the actual ticket sales for our forthcoming speaking tour. This may be down to a lazy August. Or maybe people have taken a look and simply decided not to come. In which case, perhaps there is really nothing we can do. If, as the promoters suspect, people are undecided because they don’t know what to expect, then there is a gap to be bridged. Maybe this will help a little.