It's been a crazy one. / by petergregson

I'm sitting on LH4744 with a perfectly acceptable glass of The Finest German Red Wine in The Sky, on the connecting flight I was destined not to make...but here we are, somewhere over the sea, heading back into London. Nice. So, Monday was all London, all "listen.to.my.world" at Kings Place - and what fun it was, too. A very receptive audience to what was, in all honesty, more of a "concept concert" than a concert. Moody lights, no chat, interactive live video feeds...live remixing from the stage, a 60min first half, 20min second...whatever. It was many units of fun, and I'm excited just thinking about future events!

The next morning, I popped over to Boston by way of Toronto. Apparently a little known tip: US Immigration is significantly friendlier in Canada than, say, JFK or LAX. Given the issues we all have with visas and the like, I'm amazed more people don't do the old Toronto connection. Friendly and speedy. I travel a lot, and that is literally all I want from immigration. I'll even add an hour or two on to the overall trip!
So, in Boston it was all crazy busy. It was dinners, drinks, lunches and breakfasts - in a 25hr trip. Chatted with Yale, MIT (saw more cool stuff, chatted about TED and Faster than Sound..!) Type and [secret] about future projects, before strolling along to NEC to do their first entrepreneurial department workshop, largely talmbout Contemporary Performance Practice. They were GREAT - amazing questions, such enthusiasm across the board; students and staff. I then jumped on the plane and headed home...via Munich. Slight fail. Delayed and rerouted, didn't get to LHR until 4pm, which was a shame for all concerned, really. Quick run into Regents Park to chat with James Hugonin about our collaboration in November (Ingleby Gallery, Nov 16th. Be there, it'll be all things to all people), then it was time to repack and get ready to hit Turin on Friday morning. I was invited to speak at the EMC Working Group Youth's "Access" Forum. Basically, a room full of young people in the arts. There was some resistance on the continent to my views that musicians should treat themselves as startups, entrepreneurs with a vision and set about making their passion their livelihood. The operative word is "their" - to have full control over direction and programming is the creative's dream!
But no. Much shaking of heads from one group; musicians need State guaranteed salaries, they need more money and more jobs. They need more flexibility to do as they feel fit in society, and many of them feel that this opinion, if ignored, is discrimination. Wow. I was slightly shocked. What was this funding going to do for them? Make them more creative? More relevant? Make people pay more attention?
I wasn't concerned because they wanted financial security; I was concerned that they believed it was their birthright. Obviously this went hand in hand with slating government bail outs of banks, not a hint of irony to be heard anywhere. It just seems so old fashioned, you know? I have plenty of friends who work in Starbucks to make up the income difference, and they retain control of their own direction. What do these "salaryists" expect? They will turn the arts into another government department, further streamlined for efficiency and safety, creating more and more highly skilled frustration.

I don't disagree with patronage, I just don't think the state government system has the depth and pace to create a relevant artistic output. But hey, prove me wrong. Please, Europe, don't ruin this for yourself. One's ultural heritage is not a downpayment for a cultural legacy. Anyway, I left there actually pretty inspired. Perhaps a little more "pro Rest of World", but with a greater concern for Europe than when I went. Back to comfort topics: luggage, headphones and watches. The Lufthansa Catalogue is seriously aligned with with aesthetic. It's lucky I'm considering buying some mega expensive audio toys, otherwise I'd have an entire new luggage set and maybe even duplicate B&W P5s; such is the layout, I'm compelled to BUY. Delicious and terrifying. My new challenge is to prepare for two TEDx events: Music and Alcatraz. Performing and speaking..! Oh, and prepare for Faster than Sound with Tod Machover / UVA, then some solo shows. If you're in Suffolk, do come along on Nov 12th to Snape! London 13th, Glasgow 15 and Edinburgh 16th. As ever, variety is key.