I’ve been talking to people about their dreams and aspirations a lot recently, especially yesterday, when one of the things I did at Unconvention at The Roundhouse in London was a sort of ‘speed networking’ thing, in which people would book 10 minute slots with me (or others, if they preferred), talk about their musical ambitions, and I would feed back with advice designed to get them un-stuck and moving forward toward those objectives.
Anyway, it got me thinking about what my dream job would consist of, and it came to me while I was sitting here at the Hare and Hounds pub in Birmingham, playing jazz records to people eating roast dinners and drinking pints of lovely real ales and glasses of wine, chatting with their families and friends.
I want to do this, more or less. But with a few differences. I love travel, broadcasting, recording music, meeting people, taking photos, record shopping, blogging and writing. You’ll know I’ve got it absolutely bang on when I’m doing all of these things as a matter of course. Which I nearly am – and I’ve been doing many of these things for the past 20 years in some capacity or another… but this would be my ideal world configuration of those things.
My ideal, best-of-all-possible-worlds job is to play laid-back, old (and some new), soulful jazz records on a Sunday afternoon in a different city around the world each week, while people are eating and drinking and enjoying themselves.
The week’s work would consist of (roughly speaking) one day second-hand record shopping with an expert local guide; one day meeting local music and radio industry people as well as local musicians and music academics; one day for doing the related blogging & web stuff; one day just listening & prepping; and one day for the gig.
Ideally it’d be great to also get a chance to record the best local musicians playing the sort of music I’m into (long, stretched-out jazz-flavoured grooves) in top local studios and in other contexts as well – and to release a series of compilation albums on vinyl, as well as video content for documentary use, along with the weekly mixes that would go online.
There’d have to be spare time for a bit of sightseeing, travel (to the next city, but also around and about) and a spot of writing. Obviously, there’d also have to be a vinyl digging budget, travel and accommodation included – though accommodation could (and would ideally) include staying with locals.
Music mixes would be posted online on the website along with photography, video and writing about the city and its music. I’d like to interview local musicians and put the insights into local music traditions and scenes online, and where possible, incorporate that music into the music that I play on my ‘show’. Sort of a laid back jazz travelogue online plus radio show – as well as a very laid back and informal live gig – preferably where people can drink and eat good food.
I guess it could actually work as a television show… but I sort of prefer it as a web proposition. Has legs for commercial sponsorship and tie-ins, of course (travel magazines, airlines and whisky brands just for starters), but could also fulfil a social and cultural agenda. Local and global issues could be presented and couched within a programme about local people, their music and culture and the issues they face. There could even be a fundraising element to it.
We could even squeeze in a spot of consultancy here and there, just for the fun of it.
There’d also be a great opportunity to work with the locally-based music organisations such as Jazz Danmark, the Contemporary Music Centre in Dublin, Music Export Finland, Australian Music Centre, and so on.
Oh, and of course, it would pay well. That goes without saying in any dream job scenario. Not obscene amounts of money, but noticeably more than a university salary would be great.
I suspect there’s actually a real-world place for something like this, and the target audience would include jazz, funk and soul music fans, but also audiophiles, collectors, foodies, culture buffs, and people who are simply interested in sights, sounds and stories from around the world.
Of course, right now, this is pie in the sky stuff, but it feels good to spend an hour or two thinking about this stuff. As unrealistic as it might sound to you, realism wasn’t the point of the exercise. This would make me a very happy camper indeed.
And to be fair, it’s not actually a million miles from what I already do – so that’s something to be pleased about, isn’t it?
Anyway… that’s my dream gig. I promise to work hard and be nice to people.
What’s your dream job?