Hitting the Pavement
It’s certainly been an adventure here in Sweden, from the two week tour with Elias to jumpstart the trip, to not finding housing in Stockholm, to Tallinn, to Piteå, and back. I’ve had a great time so far, but as the calendar turns to November I find myself switching into panic mode. I have three weeks left to schedule and perform a concert – one of my primary goals for the trip. What the hell have I been doing? Well, it was only about a month ago that my accompanist, fantastic guitar player Gian, became available. Based in Stockholm, Gian performs regularly there and assured me he would find us a gig. Several weeks passed and no responses. When we weren’t getting any traction, I took the next step and asked Gian if he would be willing to play in other cities around Sweden. I would reimburse him for everything if our compensation from the venues were insufficient; I mean, music is how he earns a living. This would put a strain on my own financials but would be worth it because of the experience.
When he agreed about two weeks ago, I began contacting venues and town culture centers across Sweden to get information on scheduling a concert. Out of the thirty-plus emails I sent out, I got three responses. The first seemed promising, suggesting a date and asking our fee, but after following up numerous times I have heard nothing since. The other two emails said sorry, we can’t do it. What about the remaining 27 messages swimming in cyberspace? This brings me to a substantial problem of the 21st century, which is the fallacy of email. In short, the fallacy of email is that it promises to help us communicate better than ever before, when in reality email facilitates greater silence. With email, we’ve created an accountability-free, guilt-free system of ignoring people. To be fair, email has – statistically speaking – enabled a massive quantity of correspondence to be exchanged; yet, for that precise reason it’s inevitable many messages will be “filtered” out.
As you can imagine, this process frustrates me to no end. Although I admit it would sting my ego, I would much rather hear 30 no’s than hardly any answers at all. So I’ve given up email. Not in general, but for the purposes of arranging said concert. Time to hit the pavement. I’m not a natural salesman, much less when the product is myself, but I realize it’s just something I have to do if I want this concert. I’ve hit up several places in Lund so far, and have two left on my list for tomorrow. Otherwise, though, it’s not financially feasible to travel around and knock on doors in neighboring cities. That was the problem that email was supposed to solve but has miserably bungled. With only three weeks left on the clock, this is judgment week. Put up or shut up. Come on Lund.
PS Happy Halloween