Friday, November 22, 2013

Don't dare ask - because it Matamata(s)

Dannie is a ten year old ukulele player, swiftly growing in confidence and skill in singing and uke.  And in perspicacity. We both teach her in different classes. She's disconcertingly observant about how Jane and I differ in our approaches to the world.
We are probably an interesting couple to observe. For me this becomes evident when preparing for travel - she stressie and packie before we leave - intejecting with occasional "can't we just stay home?!?!"  Me - relaxed, last minute. Have a casual chat to a distant friend on Skype. Get roused on to pack and leave.

I do initiate, plan and communicate the majority of our sojourns. I am very organised in so many regards. But like all of us (he says hopefully), I do have the rare personal flaw. For instance, I like thinking about cooking dinner, planning, shopping, chopping, creating, doing most of it, but then finding some distraction to waylay completion. Jane will finish it.
The final ukestration workshop booking in New Zealand only fell into place on the day before we left, and much of it is rather on spec, swayed by the desires to go here or there, a familiar place, a free bed, an old acquaintance, an opportunity. It's a lot of chasing. But someone has to finish serving up the meal. Guess who that is?

And just to add to the last minute mayhem and Jane's stress levels, on the way to Sydney, we get a call. It's a festival. "We lost most of your application, but we are interested. Can you get us this, this and this and the names of 22 people who will definitely come, and get it to us in the next few hours?"

Gee. Thanks. Only have to sleep and then catch a plane.

But Miss Stressie pulls it all together, talks on the phone like the consummate professional she is, writes stuff, orders me around, calls 20 people, gets up at 2am to deal with something worrying her, and we get it all back to the festival before we leave for Sydney airport. Gotta love her. Gotta love the pace of life. You wouldn't do it otherwise would you?!

No guarantees on the festival, but damn! we hope we get in!

We also accepted an offer this week to tutor at a legendary week long folk music camp in the redwood forests of Northern California. Lark Camp still needs confirmation, and linking in with other potential opportunities. In this same week we also committed to performing at the Hawaii Ukulele Festival again (our 4th year). We have a bunch of keen talented ukers and singers indicating their commitment as well, so that'll be fun. This was after Sunday where we helped coordinate some 200 people to perform to some 400+ audience. 5 hours with one soft drink and no breaks.

And so. Do I hear you occasionally ask ... why do these people who are just helping others to play music getting paid?

See the title of this post.

What I really love about our work is that we are paid to be a focus for opportunities. Business 'men' keep their eye out for opportunities to make money. We keep our ears out for opportunities to help others make music. And the opportunities that we find (and create) only arise because we can make a living from it.
And praise be to that!!!
Written from a little standard cabin in a caravan park overlooking hot thermal mineral pools - max temp 39deg. Matamata, New Zealand. 
p.s. Miss Stressie is having a great time.


  1. Have fun - well written and sums you guys, your different personalities and your love of teaching the uke perfectly. I'm like Jane - the stressor xo

  2. p.s. I think I overemphasise the Jane-the-stresser element. It is there, but it was fun writing it!

  3. I would be stressing too if I had to organise you.

    1. I wondered who this was, then saw it was Mr O'Dinner. Well you were employed once to organise bits of me! And you quit!!!!

  4. And another thing, I think I should be at the Lark Camp 'cos it might take me back to my roots ;-)

  5. . Did Jane finish this blog?
    Good thoughts Mark, but you don't need to publicly justify how you guys earn your living - especially when involves so much giving.

    1. No Bob. I finished it. thx for yr affirmation, but must be a little guilt complex, and also paranoia about people who often expect that musicians should do what they do for free. We do work very hard - but it is so enjoyable. Thx again.