Monday was a bank holiday, and I’ve taken this rest of this week off work. Teaching came to an end last week, and I felt I was overdue a bit of a break.
Besides, Jake has his GCSE exams on at the moment, but he gets this week as a study break, so I thought I might be able to hang out with him, give him a bit of a hand and make sure he did some revision. At my instigation, he’s mindmapping his entire year’s coursework for each subject, and we’re working in 45 mins on, 15 mins off blocks of time.
I have a few other things on, and so far, I’m managing to fit them all in. Here’s how it’s shaping up:
MA Music Industries
I’m writing a couple of modules for next year’s MA degree in Music Industries that I’m going to be leading. I know that, strictly speaking, this counts as work and shouldn’t even show up on the radar during a holiday – but it’s something that needs to get done in time for course validation, and ‘getting away from it all’ has provided me with the space to give it the attention it deserves.
I’ve been helping my friends Craig and Jim with a business venture – a new online music PR and branding company called More Canals, and although we haven’t officially ‘launched’ yet, we’ve already been approached to pitch to a couple of large corporations that are keen to work with the independent music sector, which is something we’re going to be specialising in. I’m writing the overview document and working on the agency’s website today. I’m meeting with Jim tonight in preparation for his presentation tomorrow – our first pitch.
I have a couple of Skype consultancies this week – just an hour here and there with musicians and music businesses that want a bit of an outside perspective on what they’re doing, and some idea generation. Increasingly, it seems to be mostly Americans that I’m working with at the moment, but I have one Australian and one British client this week.
I’m on the advisory board for a startup in California, and we have an online meeting this week. They’re a really interesting new outfit that I can’t really say too much about at this stage. But it’s music, it’s interactive and it has to do with physical spaces, rather than online consumption per se, which makes a nice change.
Clutch and I spent the weekend as guests of Whyte and Mackay at the isle of Jura, and we had many whisky-related adventures while we were there (as well as some non-whisky-related adventures on the way back home). We’ve been editing and posting video, composing blog posts and uploading photographs, but there’s still so much more to do and say. It really was a fabulous trip and we want to capture as much of that as possible, so I have more video editing to do over the next few days for the Dubber and Clutch website.
Meeting with Channel 4
Stef and I are meeting with a couple of commissioning editors from 4IP this week to discuss some online project ideas we’re developing. Essentially it’s a brainstorming meeting, and we’re hoping that they’ll like some of the concepts we come up with.
Every now and then, I get scripts emailed to me. I’m the guy who puts you in a priority queue when you phone certain insurance companies in New Zealand. I had one turn up yesterday, which I recorded last night at Clutch’s home studio – and another turned up this morning, so I may have to ask his indulgence again. To repeat this message, press 9.
Writing a book
I’ve started initial work on a book about popular music culture and how that can be threatened when music is considered to be purely commerce, particularly at the level of government policy and especially in the context of new technology. It’s called Deleting Music, and at the moment, I’m interviewing people and collecting stories about music going out of circulation; copyright stifling the creation of new works; archives and scholars hamstrung by industry protectionism; and social, cultural experience being outlawed.
Writing another book
This one’s a longer-term project and may end up taking many years. It’s about the ways in which human beings are evolving in response to technology. It started life as my original MA thesis, but it was stuck in a drawer when I began to realise that it was much bigger than the 40,000 words I was allowed to complete that – so I opted for something about digital radio instead. I’ve decided to revisit it, and I’m collecting source material, writing bits and pieces as I get time. It’s called Now We Are Different – and I’m determined to get some work done on that this week, since I’m on holiday and everything.
Writing yet another book
I’m the co-author of a forthcoming undergraduate textbook called Understanding the Music Industries. I have one or two chapters to write, and although the deadline keeps shifting, I do need to get on with it. Thankfully, it seems that everyone else has just as much on as I do. I’m taking the opportunity this week to get a bit of work done on this project.
Writing a presentation
I’ve been invited to come and speak at a music industry conference in Paris next week, and I like to go into these things prepared. I’m also speaking at Un-Convention in Manchester next week, and I’m hosting a discussion about Music As Culture (which relates nicely to the Deleting Music book) and should really make some notes. I’m ditching the London music conference that happens on Wednesday next week. Too many things happening at once.
Choosing music for my audiobook
A company has made a professional audiobook version of my 20 Things e-book, and they’ve asked me to for music to put in between the chapters. I put the call out a couple of weeks back for people to submit tracks, and I’ll be going through those this week, selecting tunes 20 pieces of music from that selection.
Submitting an academic conference paper
Just had a call from Tim Wall who alerted me to the fact that there’s a jazz conference at Salford University in November, we’ve each been asked to put a paper in for it – and the deadline is today. Tim’s going to knock something together, and we’ll put that in by the end of the day – but we’re discussing and bashing that one into shape over the phone this morning.
While it sounds like I’m doing a lot this week, I am doing it fairly slowly and taking it easy (at least, by my usual standards). I’m determined to take the odd nap from time to time and just hang out.
I’d better go get on with it.