Great expectations. Our biggest downfall? Mr Evans examines this very theory.
I lied to you all. I lied to each and every one of you and for that I am incredibly sorry for on March 11th when my last blog was put to virtual print I wrote and I quote, “I'll be back again next week with more irreverent drivel”. Was I back last week with any kind of drivel at all? No, I was not. Even though I was more than aware of my responsibility to deliver a third and final installment of my Sunday night wine fuelled ravings for this website I casually decided that because I was away from home and travelling without my computer that it would be practically impossible for me to deliver my final blog on the date expected and that this excuse would of course be acceptedipso facto, (that's Latin for, “I'm a university drop out that overcompensates for his academic failings by writing in an over blown and excessively pompous manner).
So it was with great relief, followed by confusion, followed by alarm that my excuse was indeed accepted ipso facto by this very website and I was simply instructed to submit my blog on the following Monday instead. I wasn't at all prepared for the laissez-faire, (French, same meaning as ipso facto) attitude with which my admission of tardiness was met with, almost as if the delivery of my weekly celebrity blog was of no great significance at all! I found myself reeling, (quite literally, for I was in fact fishing at the time), from the realisation that I had become so deafened by the din created by my own grandiose self assumptions that I was oblivious to the great roar of indifference emanating from the outside world.
Having fallen awkwardly off my giant pedestal, I dusted myself off and came to an awakening. Every single disappointment I'd ever experienced in my life had stemmed from the expectations I had subconsciously been placing upon myself! What had prompted so many unrealistic expectations I couldn't know for sure, (it sure as hell didn't come from my working class, English immigrant parents telling me I was great), but I quickly came to be reminded of a very important lesson, one that I think everyone could benefit from hearing, particularly those striving for any kind of musical greatness. Life can be a buzz kill.
Now, I know that might sound depressing but before you go searching for a more inspiring column to read let me impart on you a little philosophy, (one that I might have come up with myself or might just have ripped off from a book about Buddhism I read once, I'm not sure) and that is that only when we begin to truly embrace death can we begin to truly embrace life. There is a silver lining to lowering one's expectations in life for not only will you be less likely to be disappointed but more importantly, you will be able to truly set yourself free and enjoy life's little but abundant pleasures that chasing higher expectations can often leave you taking for granted.
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Here are just three handy examples that readily spring from my own personal experiences that will hopefully guide you along the road to enlightenment:
1. Whilst it is true that the average musician in Australia earns far less than minimum wage, let us not dwell on a life time of financial insecurity but instead remind ourselves of all the freebies that come with just a little hard work and dedication. I've done some quick calculations and I think that in an average year I would now receive close to the following contraband:
- 420 stubbies of beer
- 420 assorted soft drinks and juices
- 70 bottles of wine
- 30 bottles of spirits
- 70 plates of assorted cheese's, biscuits and dips
- 70 fruit platters
Sure, that's just the gig riders but there are also all the free CD's from record companies and random strangers and the odd long lunch or dinner although admittedly those are in decline.
2. A life dedicated to constant touring in Australia may not make you rich or be as glamorous as touring overseas but it will have a significant and positive effect on your levels of general Australian knowledge, particularly in the fields of hospitality laws and geography. Just recently during a dinner party conversation with my in-laws the question was asked about the name of the South Australian peninsula jutting out between the Great Australian Bight and the Spencer Gulf and sure enough my hazy memories of a drunken gig in Port Lincoln led me to loudly proclaim that the peninsula in question was in fact the Eyre Penninsula. I received a proud nod from my father in law and an almost carnal look of admiration from my mother in law.
3. There are no statistics on hand for me to use as proof but my general observations tell me that a lot of people don't particularly like their jobs or even in fact their lives and given half the chance would give it all up to ride inside that Tarago or Kia Carnival with their best buddies, “Stix”, “Doc” and “The Enigma” bound for a pub in Newcastle and lay down a little rock and roll. Of course they would likely regret that decision pretty quickly once they learnt the truth but it doesn't matter. Most people, given a little talent or confidence would love to be a musician and so it's a musician's job to have as much fun as possible on their behalf.
Okay, so perhaps that wasn't all that enlightening but my point is that sometimes if we become too consumed with chasing for something better for ourselves we leave our souls vulnerable to missing out on valuable nourishment. As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans”. Sure, his plans were invested in a global cultural revolution and his life involved travelling around the world hobnobbing with the rich and famous but I'm sure there's still a lesson in there somewhere for all of us.
Bob Evans - Familiar Stranger is out now. Read our review here.