A Wright writes, but is he right?

Nelson Wright has launched a new blog on the Edinburgh music scene with a devastating personal attack on Norman Lamont (only joking!!!).

Actually it’s a really good observation and very complimentary.  It made me think (oh no!) and here’s my response:

I’m honoured that you turn your attention to me to launch your new blog. I’ve missed your little observations on your old blog, and in person since we shelved The Brothers.
So what are we saying here? That you’ve seen enough of WaveForms to know you wouldn’t pay to see them, and that you prefer Norman to do what you think he does best.
First, WaveForms. I can’t envisage any circumstances in which I would or could charge money for what can be a fairly challenging listen. I interpreted Jim’s remark as a gesture of friendship rather than a commercial offer. I do this music because it’s what excites me, and puts me ‘on the spot’: I can’t be sure it’ll always provide anything for an audience and an audience would always have to put in more attentive effort than they would normally want to. So a minority interest, tentatively offered, then. No argument there. And no performance, just ‘a guy fiddling with his loop pedals’ – perhaps that should be my marketing strapline (cf Tommy MacKay, reviewed as ‘a bloke with a guitar’).
Your main point is, essentially, ‘why don’t you do what you’re good at?’, which was the gist of my blog post. My response is that either of the following would have me out plugging for NL gigs: (a) a feeling that I had new songs with something to say or (b) a large audience full of love and enthusiasm for my old songs, demanding gigs.
(a) is patently not there. I feel I have nothing to say and feel ambivalent about the effort I spend recording songs from a time when I did have something to say. Sure I enjoy performing for its own sake, but …
(b) … the audience is small and almost entirely made up of the species ‘supportive fellow songwriters’. To build a wider audience is something I have to admit, after years of effort, I just don’t know how to do. And given that I have at least three musical sidelines that float my boat – WaveForms, Bespoke and playing bass for friends, none of this is songwriting – I wonder whether it’s actually needed in the world? Never say never – there is still the germ of an idea awaiting the right time and personnel. But not now.
You’ve made some very kind and generous remarks here about what I can do, and I’m grateful. And when there’s the opportunity for you to pay for a live performance or CD I’ll gladly accept your readies! You’ve made me think about something that’s been buzzing away in shadows so thanks for that. I look forward to hearing what you’re going to do post-Flowers and post-Brothers. I know whatever it is, it’ll have wit, integrity and quality.

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1 thought on “A Wright writes, but is he right?

  1. And thank YOU, Norman, for those comments. Only you can say about the first part of a), and I understand where you’re coming from with the latter part of it. For b), again I can see your point (having played a gig where the band outnumbered the audience two to one). So, perhaps you’re right, but I still like to hear you play your songs.
    Whether there’s a need for any more songwriting in the world is another interesting question. It reminds me of what my old flatmate Tim used to opine – that no-one should be allowed to make any more new music, as there was already far too much great music in the world that we wouldn’t have time to listen to.

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