One of the more unique pieces we’ve run, Dear DIYary is a semi-autobiographical piece written as a series of diary entries. It originally featured in our last print issue (available here) and chronicles the day-to-day struggles of an underground metal musician.

 

DEAR DIYARY,

You know that shit job I took? The one with the minimum wage and the zero hours contract? The one that was supposed to make touring 47% of the year a bit easier? Well, I appear to have lost it. I’ve looked in all the usual places, but I can’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t down the toilet with my dreams. It wasn’t slouched on the sofa under a duvet with my ambitions. It wasn’t up my manager’s arse, despite my calculated plans to figuratively shove it there one day.

It’s just… gone?

No one has informed me that I am sacked. But no one has rota’d me in to work for a while. I am floating restlessly in occupational limbo, wondering HOW HAS THIS BECOME ANOTHER GREY AREA IN MY LIFE?! Surely you are either employed or you are not? Or is there now some kind of delicate nuance to recruitment that I am not grasping?

As with everything in life, I don’t know what to do. I stand confronted like a deer in the headlights, paralysed by indecision. A normal person would probably call their manager several times until they got an answer, but it took me a day to work up the courage to hit ‘Call’ and I’m still breathing that sigh of relief when she didn’t pick up. You’ve got to appreciate the breaks that sweet, sweet answerphone gives you in life.

At least I can console myself that I’ve just come home from a successful European tour… where the crowds were as big as the outgoing costs. It will all be worth it one day, right?

Astral Noize

DEAR DIYARY,

It’s been a sweet week of staring into space trying not to cry, but dammit, I need to pay my bills. I bash out a CV but leave my creative achievements off. The page looks kinda stark. Like someone else’s bland handiwork (blandiwork?). It’s amazing how small and shapeless you can reduce yourself just to appear employable.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my string of minimum wage hellholes, employers HATE it when you have aspirations outside of work. They despise it when you request a day off to play a gig. Weddings, funerals, a week in Spain… these excuses are all fine. Sit back and watch that holiday get approved, no problem. But time off to go on tour? YOU ARE SO SELFISH HOW DARE YOU SWAN OFF WITH YOUR BAND. Best to keep the riffing a secret.

It’s a weird position to be in: to be hiding the joyous creative outlet that you wish to earn money for. But if I want an easy £7.83 per hour, I am convinced I must conceal my part-time rock star ways. I hand out my CV indiscriminately like it’s a flyer for a gig. Come and see my Sociology degree’s headliner show, with support from the Psychology and Media Studies A-Levels.  Do people ever go to gigs solely on the basis of a flyer being shoved under their nose? I hope so.

Astral Noize

DEAR DIYARY,

I have a job interview with an accessories shop! Still no word from previous employers, so I do not consider myself to be being vocationally unfaithful. I spend the day scouring the charity shops for clothes that cover all of my tattoos. I settle on a turtleneck that makes me look mature (ie: dull). I stare into the mirror in the changing room and feel quite alienated from the person staring back. I look like someone I wouldn’t trust. I quickly chuck my jeans back on before the turtle-necked Mirror Me tries to sell me insurance.

Astral Noize

DEAR DIYARY,

It’s interview day today. I did all the sensible things last night like turning off Netflix and going to bed early, but my brain was insistent on keeping me awake for no reason. I have had two hours sleep. Let’s hope they give equal opportunities to zombies.

Astral Noize

DEAR DIYARY,

Band practice today. I’d been looking forward to it in the way that you look forward to anything that involves leaving the house when you are unemployed. My bandmates, haggard from their long days at work, just wanted to play the set and go. I remember that post-work exhaustion and feel a strange longing for it, which baffles me to my core. I always considered work to be a restriction on my creativity. I used to sit there and think of all the musical ideas I would explore if I didn’t have to clock in five days a week. Turns out employment was just a feeble excuse. I now have all this free time and the only thing I’m drawing is a blank. I’ve never done so much nothing in my life.

As the guys hurriedly pack down their gear, I take my time – feeling like a child, desperate for the grown-ups to stay up late and play with me. Six years ago, when we formed the band, we used to stay up riffing until midnight! Now we are like an old married couple, comfortably playing the same songs over and over, never wanting to experiment or confront the swirling abyss of unfulfillment that hovers above our amps. It’s been six months since we wrote a new song. How can they seem so content with that? Have they got a project on the side?

When I arrive home I regret my band practice dinner of two packets of crisps and a Twirl. I feel simultaneously hungry yet sick. As I clutch my stomach and shift uncomfortably in bed, I wonder, for the millionth time, what exactly I am doing with my life. I also wonder why I never have the foresight to make a packed lunch.

Astral Noize

DEAR DIYARY,

Got woken up by my phone ringing today. Which, turns out, is more alarming than an alarm. Burgundy Banana, the “alternative” shopping chain that sells pseudo individuality to Mall Goths, have invited me in for a job interview. With their angst-ridden playlist and window display of stripy tights, walking through those doors is a bit like stepping into a Coal Chamber poster. It’s somewhat quirky and nostalgic, whilst simultaneously oblivious to any sense of irony. I feel a glimmer of hope that maybe I won’t have to hide 87% of my personality working here? Maybe I could mention the band in the interview… and they would think that it’s… cool? Or are they just another corporate business dressed in alternative clothing? I’ve been burned by an independent record shop before. They claimed music mattered, but they meant in the sense of working mad hours to sell it, and not having time off to make it.

I am wearing a t-shirt to the interview. This is the first, and probably the last, time having a full sleeve of tattoos may work in my favour. Imagine openly being your niche, noise-making, always touring self and just being accepted for it. Surely, that’s what Burgundy Banana are all about, right?

Watch this space Diary. I hope I play this one right. I broke a string in my huff at practice yesterday and I can’t afford to replace it.

Astral Noize

Words: Serena Cherry

Advertisements

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Serena, Just saying Hi cause I have read your diary and it feels kinda weird not to say Hi. I was just looking for some blogs and diary like pieces from metal artists to read.. I am finding my way through the metal and am constantly thrilled by some riff or growl. yeah so its good to read the experience through the artists story line. as oppoaed to the selling of the music. I suppose it is the lifestyle choices that we make that can destroy us or celebrate us as individuals. Good luck with your job hunting. I am now happily playing with out a high e string ..but aggh who needs that.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s