Monday, 18 January 2010

Listening Room Sunday

I suspect that for many, attending The Listening Room at the Blue Blazer of a Sunday, is akin to denying the existence of work the next day.  If you stay in the house, one's thoughts tend to drift towards the morrow, and can enter a sullen place.  No, we choose instead to be terrified by playing without a mic in a noisy environment, to often disinterested and/or drunk people.  At least it takes your mind off things.

Last night's affair was compered by The Norm, and the usual suspects followed.  Good and enjoyable though that all was, I'm starting to think that the night needs to find a few more "regulars" who play there, some fresh blood.  Fresh meat.  Open mics are like sharks, they have to keep moving and devouring in order to survive.  Promotion of the night is the key to that, but that is essentially an administrative task that no-one wants.

And that's really the root of the issue.  Musicians don't want to spend their time doing that.  If a non-musician were to organise a similar night, I think people might be a) slightly suspicious of their motives, and wondering what they got out of it, and b) probably think they have no experience of what being a musician is like, and so wouldn't respect them.  On the other hand, if an average musician organises a night, it's often a barely running disorganised shambles.

There's another problem, too.  Those people who are willing to do that stuff (but are also musicians), often get inspired by all that creativity on show.  As a result, they end up wanting to do more music, which gives them less time to do that boring admin stuff.  A bit of a catch twenty two.

I think perhaps Peter Michael Rowan's idea for OOTB back in the day is still valid; apply for a grant from the Scottish Arts Council or another funding body for a part-time person to do all the various admin tasks for running a successful original music open mic night.  Surely that must stimulate grassroots musical creativity.


  1. There were no fly posters but the night was and is advertised on both myspace and facebook via bulletins, updates and invitations. It's winter and people are more inclined to stay in.

  2. I'm never too sure how effective fly postering is. I've done it loads of times in the past, but not to any great effect. It may work for U2 at the SECC or something, but not so much at local level. How many local gigs or open mics have you been to because you've seen a poster? Probably not many, especially if they aren't already known to you. I wasn't castigating you per se, Ms Fi, just making a more general point that fairly constant promotion needs to be done, but few are willing or have the time to do that. And yes, that lazy group includes me.

    Facebook/Myspace et al are good, but you're only reaching people that you're already "friends" with.

  3. I've started using targeted ads on facebook - they're cheap (£1 per day), and can be targeted at people with particular interests and who are not friends already.