Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Don't write off a Root Canal in Thailand.

I'm tired. It's late. I'm sitting amongst a planeload of ozzies, heading for Phuket, Thailand from KL. Everyone Australian, broad accents blazing.

This trip is precipated by a Charlestown Endodontist telling me that I owed him $2500 if I wanted my tooth fixed. My lateral and cheapskate mind immediately crossed into holiday and Thailand. So here I am.

However I also thought ....

"if I am ever to write up some sort of manual about things ukestran, then I need to get away from the dishes, and teaching, and my favourite beach and woman I love wiling and working away the hours with".

So here I am.

The flight from Sydney to KL was a daytime one, potentially 8 hours of writing. I spent a considerable amount of time doing that, a good start.

But the whole process is a bit fraught. What am I writing? In what voice am I writing? Who is the audience? What is my goal? How much can I sell it for? Or is this something that I should share freely?

If I talk publically like this, tiredly, on a 1:25 minute flight from KL to Phuket, maybe I'll get some clarity (as long as those pissheads a few seats ahead of me keep a lid on it).

3 years and 11 months ago I started off, flying blind, teaching ukulele, no quals, no clue, just a bunch of personality, musicality and a supportive inquisitive partner. Within 6 months it seemed like I had the makings of some sort of business. 18 months later we lead a bunch of people to perform at the Hawaii Ukulele Festival. 30 months after starting, the curious love partner also became my business partner and we were developing a name for ourselves at ukulele festivals and clubs around Australia, in Canada and in the USA. Our 'approach', dubbed 'ukestation', was apparently unique and fun.


Then just the other day a peer burst our bubble - "Pardon me if this seems naive or rude, but isn't 'ukestration' just arranging for ukulele'?

Bursted.... but not ... 

Because... hang on ... aren't we making a reasonable living? Aren't we working hard? Don't people all over the globe tell us that what we are doing is unique? Don't we get people each week telling us how much joy and life affirmation they are getting from their weekly participation in Hunter Ukestras?

Yes. All that is true. But so too is Yanai's bald statement.

So here I am, needing to justify what we do, because it is about time. Perhaps it will be in some novella form, perhaps in some first person bloggy rant like this, perhaps in some nebulous 'business in a box' form. Still not sure. Won't be sure until I sit down in my writers' garret, my hideaway Manohra Cozy Village near the Kata Art Dental Clinic, and just a short open sewer walk up from the indescribable Thai beach which no doubt will not rival the beach back home.

Beware the charlatan insurance snake oil salesman crying "Franchise!"

About a year ago, we had a guy come and sit on our front verandah. We needed insurance and he was some sort of broker. But he was more than that. This guy reckoned that we were on to a good thing, and he could help us spread the business model around the world. And he'd only take 30% of all future income. Forever. Bargain. I suppose I'm not the sorta guy that jumps at those get rich quick schemes.

Pffftttt. Thanks for the loving help.

Others have said similar things, though in a less charlatan manner. On our recent 'tour' of the west coast of the USA, we talked incessantly about how we might spread the ukestration gospel.

So now it is crunch time. I have to get stuff down on paper (metaphorically) that can get the approval of the business partner, and some sort of agreement from Danielle who has put a lot of effort into developing (at our behest) a 'ukestra curriculum'.

Is it possible to get coherent writing and cogitating amidst root canal therapy (saving of $2000), appointments for new glasses (?savings of $3-400) and a haircut (saving of $20?)? Not to mention all the distractions of a supposed island paradise.

P.s. I'm here now. The garret is a shithole. Good luck with that.