It was only Sunday night that I finished the artwork for the album. Started the artwork for the album, actually. It was 3:30am by the time I finished, and then my alarm went off at 5am. Even so, when I got into the office I had to beg assistance from Dan the all-weather finished-art man to convert the artwork into CMYK for printing.

I received the digital proof yesterday and it looked fine; one photo was cropped a little more than I expected, but it was acceptable. I signed off on the proofs. Then today I received an email indicating that the printing company had rejected the artwork because it didn’t have the full 3mm bleed, i.e. overlapping the edge to allow for paper movement in the printing process. I’d only overlapped it 2mm, and it might result in a white stripe at one edge. I could still sign off and take my chances but I thought I’d try and fix the problem, while resolving that overcrop on that image.

I wrote back to say that I’d fix it overnight. But then a huge storm moved across the state, making it awkward and possibly dangerous to get home, so I stayed at a cheap hotel. A cheap, nice hotel. And I don’t have the software to edit the artwork. Tomorrow I’ll call upon Dan to help out.

The thing is that since in was a lad bands have had to be multiskilled. It’s not enough to play an instrument or write songs. You have to be a visual creative, negotiate deals, do interviews … do the whole PR schtick, actually. These days it’s more complex; you have to work the street media, traditional media and the blogosphere as well, and offer something fresh to each of these. When you’re a solo artist of course, a self-managed solo artist, it’s even more of a challenge to remain passionate about the undertaking.

I am passionate about this work though, which is great. I’ll try to clean, cook and bottle-wash to make the album a success. I like being entirely independent (with a few advisors, most notably my wife), able to whatever I see fit. But here I am at 3:45am writing this, and I think about my friends who have put their music on the shelf, so to speak, stopped rehearsing and playing and piling into a van on tours. They’re sleeping soundly right now, I’ll bet.

So in the middle of the night I ask myself how long I should carry on. I’m not successful in music, it’s just something I do. I can’t help myself! And because I do it I like to share it with the world. I’ll face the challenges of design and printing, of performing and setting up gigs, just to be able to continue doing this. Should I stop at 50? I don’t think so. 60, maybe? We’ll see, but I doubt it. I suspect I’ll still be writing and playing and performing every so often when I finally go to the Great Gig in the Sky.

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