Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lies, marketing and damn statistics...and Ukuleles in Port Stephens

My nephew is a writer. His work is designed to boost search engine results for companies that can afford to employ him (I remember articles on electronic cigarettes). This SEO work (don't ask) rewrites stories that are already written, merely so google rankings are boosted for that particular topic or item or company.

It took me a great amount of brain power to understand what he did when Charles first described his work. But now I understand. All too well.

My life - particularly in the world of electronic marketing - now involves some aspects of what he does for a living. Did I say I am a community musician? Have I mentioned the words Tomaree? Ukulele? Port Stephens? Lake Macquarie? Ukestra? The Do Riders? Workplace Choirs yet?

No? Ok. Then I will.

This blog is about my endeavours to start the Tomaree Ukestra up in Port Stephens for people who want to play the ukulele, just like I have done in Lake Macquarie for the LakeMacUkestra, and Newcastle with the Ukastle Ukestra, and not to mention the fact that our new band finally has a name - The Do Riders.

There. I have now mentioned all the relevant links to help my optimise search engine results (aha!!! SEO! 'Search Engine Optimisation'! - my ex-brother-in-law also is in this line of work - I told you not to ask). Google spiderbot?? Are you listening? Charles? Did I do it right?

Thank you. I could finish there, but I have got very little creative joy out of the writing so far. Now the real crapping on can begin.

Sorry I haven't written for so long. But things other than virtual activities have got in the way.

Like the Tomaree Ukestra. It has begun. The Fingal Bay Sports Club is the venue for my endeavours to bring ukes to Port Stephens (I can't just say "The Bay" because it doesn't help my SEO). I first flagged this in a previous blog. On 17 May I had 4 people. I stayed at Mum's holiday house (a gorgeous kitch joint which was the first house I ever lived in - from 0 to 6 months - I got washed in a plastic bucket) on the Sunday night, and 7:30am on the Monday morning I walked around the local Harbourside Haven leafleting letterboxes - not every marketing strategy is SEO.

I got to the Club and one woman in her 40s was there already (she had caught the bus). Rosie and two others who showed up had read the very prominent article in the Port Stephens Examiner and was very keen. Another woman showed up from my leafleting efforts of an hour or 2 earlier! That was it. 4 people. One struggled with the uke and decided not to return. One was already a performer - sussing out what it was all about - he won't return (maybe occasionally), Rosie is keen and the other elderly lady, well...I'm not sure. Fast forward a week.

Rosina and 3 new people showed. All VERY enthusiastic. Merv has a touch of Parkinson's and his Occupational Therapist had said the ukulele would be good for him. At one stage he said 'Have you noticed? My shaking has stopped!'. I have numerous little victory stories like this that make my life as a community musician so rich. The wonderful thing about this mob is that they all exchanged addresses and said 'let's get together tomorrow!'. My work here is done.

Except it isn't. To make it sustainable for myself I need more than 4 people. But 4 enthusiastic people is enough for me to persist for a while and to build upon. We are having fun, and I love being up at the Bay for just a night. The photo to the right is one good reason why - Zenith Beach - my favourite in the world.

In other news - The Do Riders have a name. I band formerly known as The Flying Penguins are now The Do Riders. We had a fabulous rehearsal the other weekend. It is good. Real good. So we have started to chase gigs more properly.

Jane & I went along to the Great Northern Hotel (opposite Newcastle Train Station - long live the train line!). It has been re-opened by a fabulous young couple, Ross & Chelsea of Sprocket Cafe. They have taken on a mighty big task and my Dad (rest is soul) would be proud. I remember having my 12th & 13th birthdays there. My 12th in the formal dining room before they closed it down, my 13th in the Chinese Restaurant which replaced it. Dad had a share in the hotel with Archie Stammell. (too much detail, get back to SEO writing Mark!).

Anyhoo. It is a grand hotel (for Newcastle) and the foyer area is particularly lovely. The Do Riders are playing in the foyer (they are calling it the Lobby) on June 10th - 7:30-10:30. We are toying with ideas to make it more than a gig - but I want Mick to sell his avocadoes at the gig.

Enough SEO - do your thang google (but I hope it was also worth reading by a human).

I am off for a walk.

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