As the grassroots music industry slides ever closer to the financial abyss while the Chancellor Rishi Sunak and his Conservative cronies thumb their noses with comments to the effect of “sorry but can’t you just all retrain and get proper jobs?”, I think of my mate Gav.
During normal times Gav works mainly as a tour manager and sound engineer, but like a lot of people in the industry in the cash-strapped digital age, he’s got so much side-hustle that even his side-hustle has side-hustle.
He’s the kind of guy who can produce and mix a whole album from his bedroom, laying down some sweet synthesiser and flugelhorn as he goes, while simultaneously sorting out the sound engineer shift roster at a local gig venue and booking hotel rooms in Belgium.
He’ll drive a packed splitter van across Europe and back, drawing on a wealth of knowledge of traffic hotspots, service station cuisine and good podcasts. He’ll kick you out of bed in the morning, fix your dying laptop, design your light show, operate a spaceship-looking mixing desk as casually as if it were a pocket calculator and source booze at whatever o’clock with an unlicensed miraculousness to rival Jesus’ water-to-wine trick. All while rolling a cigarette one-handed and maintaining an unreasonably good sense of humour. He is, quite apart from being a diamond bloke, excellent at his job. Or jobs, plural.
If Gav’s passion were, say, banking instead of music then I don’t doubt he’d be equally as excellent at that. But it’s not, it’s music. And as such, like more or less everyone in the business right now, he’s hurting. I’m sure he could do something else if he had to, but I hope not because working in music is what he enjoys most and thus does best – it’s his thing. I hope he can get back to it soon.