Go to the show (a resolution)

I’m overdue posting about my New Year’s resolution, but better late than never I suppose. (Good thing I didn’t resolve to blog regularly, I guess.)

I’ve had good luck in recent years with vague resolutions that attempt to adjust my attitude. I think it was 2007 or 2008 when I said “never turn down an adventure”, and 2011’s was “be an artist”. Each of them requires a lot of words to explain what they really mean to me (tl;dr: it’s complicated) but they worked well for me at the time. Anyway, in that vein, this year’s resolution, inspired by Pam and especially this post (but also, just everything she’s posted in the last year about the shows she’s been to), is:


The obvious point is to go to more live music shows, but it’s also an attempt to get off my arse and go out and do things rather than sitting around at home, as is all too easy.

To help with the live music part of it, I’ve actually set up a mailing list with some local (Melbourne, Australia) friends to plan what shows I/we want to go to. If you like live music, are local, and want to be on the list, then let me know. I may occasionally post upcoming gigs here, too.

Another thing I wanted to post about was this:

924 tattoo

I got it last Thursday, more or less on a whim, and it’s all tangled up with last year’s resolution and this year’s.

A week ago this Saturday — within days of Google’s hiring process screwing me over, and the beginning of what later became known as the #nymwars breaking out inside Google (yeah, that was quite a week) — I decided I was going to quit working at the Big G and study sound engineering. I didn’t announce it til May, but I started working in that direction immediately. Within a couple of weeks, I had rocked up to 924 Gilman Street and introduced myself to the head of sound and asked to be taken on as a trainee. I worked my first show there on February 10th, and worked an average of about one show a week, at first under supervision and eventually solo, til I finished up in August before returning to Australia. My last show there was a Black Fag gig. They’d been the first band I ever saw at Gilman, and they were the last too. A fitting conclusion.

Working at Gilman was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life. From the first time I saw the rules inside the front door, to the experience of working huge shows and meeting some of the nicest people I’ve known in ages, to — most importantly, I think — the opportunity it gave me to leave the office on a Friday afternoon, get on a trans-bay bus, and do something awesome and in-the-moment and most of all loud. No matter how tired or cranky or outright depressed I was, by the end of a show there my shoulders had come down from up around my ears, and I could always stagger home afterwards and sleep soundly, knowing that I’d done my job as well as I could, and that once the show was over and the equipment powered down, I was free of responsibility til next time.

I miss Gilman a heap. I miss the people (especially my sound booth buddies), and I miss the bands and the kids who worked the front door and the graffiti in the toilets and the moshpits and I even miss that frigging stand for the kick drum mic that always fell apart no matter how much you duct taped it.

So yeah, the ink’s to remember my time there, and to commemorate the year I stopped being an open source geek and started being a professional music wonk, and to remind me (if I’m ever feeling like I don’t want to leave the house) how good it felt to go to shows every week and be a part of that.