What The Hell Am I Doing (Part ∞)

Lots going on with me, and sometimes, it’s confusing, trying to work out who on earth I am supposed to be.

So, allow me to explain, who I am, what I do & what I want & why; in the interests of transparency, truth & also, a sales pitch…

One of the things I am doing is taking portrait photographs. I love this. It’s a brilliant discipline. I’ve recently done a big (socially distanced) shoot with a star in an infinity curve with make-up & hair artists & a lighting technician at Broadscope in Glasgow. It’s the most fun I’ve had in a good while. The results will take your head clean off, but I can’t share any details yet. My best work & it has to stay secret for a while, ah cruel industry. This was digital, 35mm film & some movie for a behind the scenes documentary, too. If you’re after some edgy portraits, then I’m your man – ask me about a booking!

My Portrait of The Ashen from a few years ago.

Which is another thing I’m doing – making music videos. I’ve made a few that will be released soon, and I’ve got more in the pipeline that are shaping up to various stages. These are great fun to do. Josienne & I work together on these, so if anyone fancies it, get in touch and we’ll make some visuals to fit your music.

Josienne Clarke from the ‘Slender, Sad & Sentimental’ video shoot.

I started a film production company with Andrew Leach called Massive Overheads Productions. We made ‘Overheads‘, a film Andy wrote and we made together. It’s currently gaining good reviews & knocking the doors of various fancy film festivals all over the world. I’m 3/4 of the way through another short film, I’ll release it when I’m done, and Andy writes one a week, so expect a steady stream of movies from us over the rest of all time. Hopefully, that’s a good thing.

Madison Leach as Ada in ‘Overheads’

Josienne Clarke founded her own record label, Corduroy Punk Records, and I help with that. Our side project, 2PrivateMatters, releases stuff through that label. Who knows what it will do next? I made the graphics for those sites. I’m not great at photoshop & stuff but I’m learning.

I made a solo album – available still at bandcamp – that I’m very proud of, that people seemed to like, and I always expected I might go out and play a show to sell some copies of it, but look how that went. It’s kind of done, that one. The record will always be there, and maybe when the world recovers, out I’ll go out and play some of those old songs, but I feel like I lost any momentum I made with that. Along with every other artist & musician, I guess.

I’m playing lots of electric & double bass lately. I used to do that lots, when I was 15 and I’m 44 now, so it’s been a while but it’s satisfying to be playing again. I bought an upright bass from Roberto Cassini that Danny Thompson has played. A beautiful instrument and I’m taking lessons from Lukas Drinkwater, so that’s a dreamy situation. Learned more in 1 hour with him than I worked out on my own in 25 years. I hope I can do it justice. I could play bass for you or your band, if you like. Though, I appreciate that we aren’t really allowed to do that at the moment.

Which I guess brings me to the next bit. Does any of this pay the rent? Like fuck it does. So, how do I do live now, then?

I’ve been doing day rate consultancy for a few companies who I know through linkedin for the last 3 or 4 months. It pays really well, it’s how I afforded to buy this double bass. I’m not hard up, because I’m lucky enough to have this experience, so folks pay me to help them do what I’ve done a thousand times. It’s part-time, so I can concentrate on doing more of the creative stuff. I like working that way. Josienne helps. Her career is kind of on hold, so she’s been working with me and then I help her in return. Imagine, a supportive, mutually beneficial life partner, a relationship as a collaboration based on respect, trust, kindness & love. It can be done, and it’s not straightforward or without challenges, but we’re both dedicated, hardworking and diligent people, focussed on our mutual goals.

My work page is at www.darlingsolutions.co.uk. It’s a bit odd, because the two things seem contradictory – artistic & business things, all at the same time? But you know, there’s more overlap in the skills needed than you’d think & this keeps the lights on. Gives me the time & resources to learn how to shoot & edit film and take better photographs, furthering my other interests.

I hate the perpetuated romantic myth that musician are somehow earning enough to carry on living in places where the rent is a grand a month without having to do a normal job too, when they ride around in dirty clothes, drive a shit car & live in Dalston. Nah, mate, you live in your family mansion, or your dad pays the rent, and the only thing wrong with that is when you pretend like life is hard for you, too.

Seems to me all artists retrained as waiters & IT support people or chefs or retail workers years ago anyway, or it’s a bunch of trust fund lies & you don’t need to pay to live, which is fine but be honest about it. Don’t pretend to slum it if you’re not because that makes it harder for everyone. We all have to pay the rent somehow unless you own a house outright or with a mortgage and if either of those things are true, then you’re financially securer than most people, for sure than me. And I am aiming for more financial security than I have now by working as many days as I can for folks who I’ve come across in the strange little world of WFO, playing bass, making films & taking photos along the way. That’s what I’m doing.

All of these words, and I’ve still not come to the point. These jobs & activities, they’re not who I am. I AM a photographer, filmmaker, musician & WFO consultant, but the main thing I’m doing these days is living honestly, saying what I see & what I want and building a life for myself that works for the kind of person I am. I don’t feel guilty or afraid. Nobody knocks on my door and tells me I’m going to hell anymore. I’m hoping to be debt free in a year. Hoping to find a place to call home for me and my family. Grateful that anyone cares enough about me to read this. Hopeful that I can continue on this journey of truth in life with my best friend by my side. I’m pointing in the right direction & I’m just going to keep walking straight forward.

my 35mm portrait of Josienne Clarke on a train.

So, who are you & what do you want?