I’m a software developer by day, songwriter and wannabe rockstar by night – well, some nights, at least. Those where I have the energy. And therein lies the rub. Our jobs can drain the very energy we need for the leisure time pursuits that feed our soul (or power our escape dreams – whether or be business or art … )

For instance, take music. There’s creative aspects, social aspects and performance aspects. (And a pile of other stuff, but let’s keep it simple or we’ll be here all month).

Now with me, in my double life, the secret secret, known to most of us geeks, but not perhaps apparent to outsiders, is that the job I do is primarily creative. Oh, there’s social and co-operative parts to the job, and also performance, especially in client interaction, but primarily, most of the day, we sit in our chairs making stuff up out of our heads and making it happen on the screenย  (or just on some server or hardware somewhere, to support other software that has, in the end, effects on the real world – from powerplants to phones, cars, washing machines, tractors – whatever). Which takes the same energy as composing and arranging music, writing lyrics – it’s all coming out of us, from nothing to something. The intangible made real, whether encoded in JavaScript or musical notation, played back on a browser or a piano. Problem solving, pattern matching, holding complex structures in medium term memory. And, of course, these days, it also means sit (or standing) in front of a computer…

My boyfriend is also a musican – and a salesman by profession. His job takes performance energy, but not really creative energy, so he finds it’s stage work that is tiring after a lot of work. Being creative is fine.

This past week or so, I’ve been finding it difficult to do anything much outside of work, be it songwriting, admin or even cooking. It goes in phases. I’ll have to just wait it out.


Fantasy Heroes

I think my job on stage, with my various rock bands, has always to be a fantasy. To be powerful, commanding, charming, sexy, scary. To be what the men (and some women) want and the women (and men) want to be. To represent all they wish for, to make them feel, for a little while, that they have that, that they *are* that (or could be). I don’t think I use that power to its fullest extent. Because I don’t understand it.

I never had heroes myself, you see. I never felt that. I never got that from all the bands I have been to see, all the music I have heard. To me, how could I? Unless it is me, personally, up there doing just that, I feel … nothing much. I can admire and respect the skill, the hard work that has gone in, I can appreciate the result as art itself – but there is no transference. They are not me. Their achievements are not mine. I don’t own them.

I am not a *fan* – of sports teams, business heroes, great scientists, artists. I am not a patriot. I never felt company loyalty. When people say “us” and “we” for their football team or country, when they clearly see that team’s achievements and failure as *theirs*, despite that all they do is watch and read and talk about it – I don’t understand. They are not out on the pitch doing it, they are not managing the team, or running the company that pay the wages… So how can they have that feeling? Just. Don’t. Get. It.

Except in two areas. Sailing – as skipper or crew, we all become one with the boat, and we *cannot* do it alone. We are one. There is genuinely an “us”. We survive only together. We succeed only together. Or people get hurt (or worse), and in a very immediate fashion. Right before our eyes. For reasons either definitely NOT in our power (the weather) and reasons absolutely within our power (our preparedness and effort). It’s REAL.

I can guess climbing, exploring, subsistence farming and tribal level warfare would be the same. (Maybe startups come close, with the economy as the weather? Not sure on that one).

And the second area is with the right partner in life, where together we are more than each alone could ever be, wielding all our respective powers as one, pulling exactly together in the same direction. Stronger, better, more…

All the posts I didn’t write

I could write about my encounter with the Wasserschutzpolizei, a wherein I gain lasting fame as the only sailing boat to collide with another in the Seddinsee 25 years (at least that the police came out to). A tale of bureaucracy, neglected licence additions, and the crazy fact that I am (until I get this piece in place) allowed to motor but not sail, despite that the only missing part is a theory test on the signs and sounds used in inland waterways – which one also needs to know when motoring.

I could amuse you with the sailing club trip to see the fireworks, and our impromptu jam session afterwards, where I played a nice acoustic, sang, and vowed to practice playing more, as that’s at least one reason to do so.

I could tell you of the mid-trial-period meeting with the management, where I’m strongly encouraged to talk to my colleagues more – but not loudly, and to let them finish sentences. The management have evidently never met my family!

I could baffle you with my adventures with the 3rd party grid control we use, or even write up my solutions on some far geekier forum for the education and entertainment of future generations.

I could let you know that I’ve spoken to some legal people about a financial affair that’s lost its glamour, and got an estimate to find out if I’ve got a case, or if I’m just gonna have to use my own low cunning and persuasive skills to bring it to successful closure.

I could let you know that I ditched the raw eating at day 20, because the insane hunger was back, and if there were going to be any mental health benefits, the opinion amongst fellow-experimenters was that they’d have shown up by now, and sticking to some mildly tedious task is something my working life, gym life and musical life have already given me plenty of practice at.

I could tell you about the mild floor flooding in the band room, the gig in Hamburg where we survived the Berlin Friday traffic jam, performed well to a modest audience, gained some nice praise, had some excellent photos taken by a new acquaintance and enjoyed an excellent proper meal at 1:30am.

I could tell you about my new Business German evening class – found, booked and started within 3 days of the idea being mentioned in conversation with my boss.

I could tell you (again) how nothing feels like anything, then add “except a few tears the other day, and the constant mild stress-ball round my solar plexus”. No excitement. No disasters. Just things going right, things going wrong, and me getting on with it all, wanting there to be a dream to work towards, but not knowing what that might be.

Comin’ home

2015-04-12 Flight

First day here as my new hometown. Sex ‘n’ Drugs (caffeine!) ‘n’ Rock and Roll. Sunshine. Mexican food. So much happiness. I can’t think what I’ve done to deserve this, but I know now when I’ve got a good thing, and I’m never letting it go. Just like I promised myself.

I’ve come through, quite literally, fire to get here. Found out just what really good friends I have.

My worldly goods, much culled, are all in a warehouse in the UK, waiting for me to arrange transport. Waiting for my apartment here to be ready. What’s not on the boat, that is. (The boat being an entirely separate problem that will have to be solved later). Nothing’s finished and nothing’s quite ready. This seems like life to me. Right now I’m deliriously happy, almost too tired to focus my eyes, having eine Kaffeepause before heading to an initial jam with a band (originals!).

Later, I’ll spend the night with my beloved, the first of very, very many. Tomorrow, Deutscheschule. But I’m home. For the first time in a long time.

Running from the dealer


WordPress ate my homework. I’ll pretend it was a better, wittier, and above all, *longer* post than it was, but it’s gone. Local Draft, published… turned up blank.

What can I say? Life’s been busy, life’s been amazingly, fantastically, ridiculously good. I’ve got so much to do that I’m dizzy with it – except at work, which continues to merely require my physical presence. I have no idea why I agreed to work a month beyond my notice. Oh well. 17 work days left on my sentence.

Now, if I can just get rid of most of my crap, move the rest to Berlin, and settle my finances so I don’t need to think about them for a year … I can just get on with it. Study German, do music, sniff out tech stuff, but mostly just enjoy being in the city I love. Being in love. And that not being *right* and not any sort of problem. ๐Ÿ™‚

I might just have got the hang of being happy…

Beyond Reason



[All pictures by Stefan McGarry (https://www.facebook.com/stefan.mcgarry.3/media_set?set=a.10152422339171836.1073741858.587846835&type=3)]

Raaaaaawk and Roooooooll! Or rather, \m/ Metal Madness \m/. Beyond Reason and I rocked on up to The Cody Sports and Social Club for a gig … to find that in-house PA meant “in the cupboard PA”. Just add well I know how to set it up then. Even if it is a desk I have never seen, one channel is blown and there is no way I can find to get seperate volume control on the monitor (given only one channel I can’t even use tricks with panning). Still, it kept me to open busy for the ghosts of the past to pay me too intrusive a visit… I didn’t even use it as an excuse to nobble the support band, Late to The Party.

They are a bunch who work with the drummer, so are all pilots and other aircraft related types. And pretty good, in fact. Very tight for a 2nd gig! Possibly tighter than us, also on our 2nd gig. I forget that point – I have played all these places before, with other bands in another life…

BeyondReason Cody

Decent crowd, good gig, minimum of technical hitches (Just Mick’s volume levels – cured by dumping the Marshall’s FX control board). I even managed to find my way out of the maze of airfield and army base that surrounds the club. And managed to forget the past. Almost.

The show always goes on. Always.

In the Back Room


I am sure I wrote a post on the Blackspires gig at The Star – but the demons of the internet seem to have taken it off to hell. Or possibly limbo. Wherever the lost posts go. So here are some piccies and maybe a tiny bit of rambling to go with. We rehearse in the mezzanine above Jimmy’s roofing warehouse. Free, but cold. Hence the 90s festival-goer getups.


Night of the gig, at the Star – famous for crap sound, so much so that I have refused to play there for years…but some curtains and some careful training of the sound guys and they seem to have cracked it. A venue that looks the biz, but swallows high-screamy-rock vocals and lead guitar – not good. But as I said, now seemingly better ๐Ÿ™‚ The walls are layered with posters of past gigs, mixed with general rock gig posters, etc. Somewhere in that geological layercake record will be one for at least one of my previous gigs. Wonder where…

Blackspires Star

[last set of pictures by Woody Ede]

Jimmy was pulling double-duty guitar god tonight, and lasted the distance – despite technical hitches with his amp head, which cut our (excellent) support band’s slot short by a couple. There’s all sorts of stuff in the pictures that I don’t remember. Looks like a good gig though ๐Ÿ™‚