Hey all! 🙂 If you’re here – then redirect yourself to the link above. I have changed my blog address. So for more up-to-date blogs, music, stories, head over there 🙂
Last Thursday I gave busking in Stratford-Upon-Avon a go, it’s always been an amazing place to play. Despite knowing that a busking friend almost got fined for playing here, I took a chance and set up anyhow – it’s work, so by following the guidelines and being safe, I’m allowed to play… right? Video found here 🙂
Shared by Canal is King who said ‘Listening to the music and watching his fingers dance up and down the fretboard, I forgot all about lockdowns’. 🙂 That’s pretty cool. The general response that day was incredible. Most who tipped (and a lot did tip) expressed their gratitude to be able to hear/watch live music in a time like now. The park was somewhat busy, a lot of small groups having fish’n’chips by the fountain and under the trees. A sunny sky blessed us.
It’s been nice to busk during this lockdown, to both work and provide music for the streets and the few who wander it. Though there are a lot more wandering it than I’d imagine there to be in a National Lockdown. Still, I’m grateful for these opportunities.
Busking has always been a healing thing for me to do, it’s like a medicine for my mental wellbeing. I’ve noticed a massive increase in; personal happiness, purpose, motivation and confidence, over the past few weeks. It’s boosted my desire to create and share and create and share.
I just wanted to drop in a quick Blog and say hi, share that video, and wish you well.
basschatfield is live! Street Music, Street Ambience, Guitar and Bass, Hereford UK- keep music live! https://www.twitch.tv/basschatfield
Let’s keep music live 🙂
Busking in the streets of Hereford for the day. Live streaming the first set 🙂
To begin again, let me start with this, as it is nothing more than my mind spilling out into both art and word form;
This world is full of books and those books are filled with worlds and ideas and those reading the books filled with worlds and ideas are full of imagination and their imagination is filled with worlds and ideas and the worlds and ideas within that imagination is again filled with worlds and ideas and that continues for well who knows how long but it continues and you reading this yes you sitting or standing or laying or running right now would make an absolutely brilliant pumpkin if you were to ever become a pumpkin but I do not wish for you to become a pumpkin instead open your imagination and let the worlds and ideas infest this world and worlds within this world.
So that is that and this is this (picture below)
I absolutely love drawing little things like this, often they’re inspired through searching things on Pinterest. This drawing was inspired from the search of – universe inside the mind.
And I suppose that is what I believe, that there is a universe inside our mind. Parts of it are made up of our own imagination, other parts are drawn from the words we read, the films we watch, the things we see, do and hear etc etc.
I’m in love with the colours of books stacked awkwardly on a rooftop. I’m in love with reading and writing, and just imagining. There is so much to imagine.
I’ve no idea what this post on this blog is actually about. Just a collection of thoughts, a movement of fingers dancing across the keyboard, a need to write and see how the world enjoys or ‘dis-enjoys’ it.
Music and stories – that is all I wish to do.
To extend the music side of things, I’ve recently re-discovered Twitch. By streaming my busking sessions (and with the most recent days on consistent rain – playing indoors), I hope to make the life that I’m aiming for somewhat more practical. Streaming ever since lockdown has been a blessing, it’s funded this music and kept me going. So let us continue this via delving into the bigger of streaming platforms.
Below, Roxy interjected and decided to take the attention to her. Image and small video clip to follow (the URL for the video clip is hilarious, some random URL feature of Twitch I suppose).
No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas, can change the world.Robin Williams, Dead Poet Society (though I do not know if this is a quote from someone else).
When words and ideas can change the world, then we should begin by sharing our words and ideas?
🙂 a healthy Monday to you all
On the road again, I spend a lot of time in fields, in or next to my tent. Laying or sitting and watching the clouds is a nice thing to do, to watch them float and morph into ghastly creatures that climb calm and gentle atop each other. They move forever and they move slowly, and so should we.
We should move while taking in the life around us, slowly and gratefully. Observing life and all the wondrous happenings, and the not so wondrous things. For it’s both beautiful and ugly, but if we move slowly we can select that which we want to focus on and remember. We have more time than we think we do.
Watch how the clouds move regardless, they’re relentless. As should we? Even when the obstacles come, which is inevitable (hardship and fuckery is guaranteed), we just have to keep moving onwards even if it is super slow, movement is important.
I build walls all the time: “you can’t do that”, “no and no”, “give that up and just quit”, each brick is an inner thought of doubt, a worry or a stupid-bloody-imaginary-scenario. There’s a trickster architect inside and they want to build some right ‘Adrian Fisher’ designs, to trap and confuse the more creative and productive workers inside.
‘I paused my mind in the moment,
I looked at all the things you said,
Then I turned away from the darkness’
‘When you’re lost, close your eyes,
Picture all the things you love,
Then follow that light,
It’s somewhere deeper inside’.
– lyrics from a new song
There’s no easy answer to fixing these moments of doubt. If you’ve come looking for an answer, then, well… erm, I mean listening to this and imagining flying across Hogwarts helps me;
Learn to pause, move slowly through your thoughts, take a day off and work on that wonder you have inside your mind.
Watch the clouds and move like them, slowly and infinitely.
Wishing you well, I currently reside in Dorset, camping close to Swanage.
Drop a tip if you’d like to aid this journey – paypalme/jameschatfield
Or, join my Patreon for a monthly donation of your choosing –patreon.com/chatfield
The world seems to be opening up a little more, so being able to ‘cautiously’ travel with music again, seems doable? At least, I will try for a time, see how things go. Campsites are open and it’s been a while since I camped – so a basic field on a farm in the Cotswold is the first stop.
It’s nice to back on the road, it feels like home.
Here I am in my tent; writing music, practicing, reading and simply just being. It is pleasant to be woken by the sounds of insects sieging the tent (I’ve never understood how they manage to get in, even when all is zipped up, ‘damn the insects’) and the songs of birds. It is also pleasant to sit still and watch those creatures do their things, imagining what their voices and conversations would sound like. The Grumpy Beetle, The Vivacious Robin, The Sarcastic Spider – all sound like great fantasy taverns…?
The neighbours were playing ‘invisible rounders’ last night, being it so dark, you could only see the ball on the grass or in your hand then it vanished from sight when throw – it slammed into their faces a couple times – but they were continuously jolly, they’re on holiday, away from home and outside of lock down. People generally seem happy, even with a ‘new norm’.
It was fun to sit and play guitar and watch the fairy lights flicker through tent walls and campfires surrounded with good company, good drinks and laughter.
The lockdown has been a strange thing, a very strange thing. I have definitely felt deflated and defeated at times during this pandemic. This is another reason for my travel: to relight my passion for music, travel and writing. I’ve built walls internally that have limited my creativity and personal happiness, I wish to break them down. And doing this – getting out and writing and performing and documenting, has smashed a few of those rusted bricks for sure! It seems to me that we can prevent ourselves from doing the things that we love doing, and it’s a crazy realisation, because it’s a crazy thing to do – happiness should be our number one goal – so why stop yourself? I definitely did, and I don’t want to continue putting myself down or saying no. I want to bring myself up, say yes, and create. So here I am, committing myself to living this life. I know that I can live a life where I create, travel and learn – that is all I want, and I wish to give this world those creations and hopefully some valuable knowledge found during the journey.
So expect live streams, vlogs, videos, blogs and an array of music happenings, and if you don’t hear from me, I’ve either trapped myself in those internal walls of ‘NO, YOU MEAN NOTHING’ or I’m at war with The Grumpy Beetle and his army.
I have also re-vamped my Patreon and know that I need to commit to it more, so – I shall do that. If you would like to subscribe to my music and journey with a monthly donation. You can do so here;
or a one off donation – paypal.me/jameschatfield
Wishing you well, safe travels, James
Started live streaming, but no-ones watching?
In short, keep creating and keep sharing. It’ll find it’s way to those who’ll find value in your art and connect with it.
I heard this quote somewhere, I forget where, but when I heard this, it changed my approach and attitude towards social media.
It’s not about how many followers you have, it’s about how you gained those followers.
This is so important when it comes down to your audience on any social media platform. Depth over width. Because that one live stream where no-one watches for 80% of it, could find it’s way to one new person who completely connects with your art. Who then follows your art religiously and rewatches all your previous live streams, because that first time they saw you, they were having the worst of days and your music, your words, your art brought them so much joy – now that’s magic. It happens, the internet is a maze filled with continuous live streams, there are so many platforms and so many possibilities to find completely new things. Two people watching your performance could share it on their blogs which has a combined 10k followers, which then brings 1,000 people to your next live stream which then grows and grows. But that can’t happen if you don’t show up. It’s like a job, if you don’t show up to work, you’re not going to get paid.
It applies to general performance too, I found this as a busker. Once whilst busking in Worcester, I did about four hours worth of busking and barely made £10. I floated between not caring and enjoying the ambient soundscapes I was making with my bass, to caring so much feeling unloved and invisible. As I was feeling that invisibleness, a girl passed by ‘Lucy’ her name, and took a video of a song and picture of my sign. I forget what she said, but it was around the lines of “Thank you for making my evening better”, that was about four years ago, she’s been to many of my gigs since, follows all the social media platforms and has become a great friend. Now a connection to an art form like this is wonderful when you find a sound or an image or a voice that you feel passionate about, it’s amazing. Your art does that, providing you put it out into the universe, it’ll find it’s way to someone and connect with them in a wonderful way that gifts them joy and value.
That one person, that one connection beats a thousand people watching and all forgetting the next day.
So my advice, whatever it is you love doing, your art, your words, your music – put it out there across the many platforms online, at any location you can, out into the universe. Keep on creating and sharing it, ignore counting your followers and putting yourself down when no one is watching. Focus on the followers you do have and the connection you and your art have with them. Because that’s what’s important, the connection your art has with others, the value it brings to them.
I streamed on Twitch today, via my laptop whilst streaming on Periscope and Instagram on my phone. I enjoy the multiple platform streaming, it’s like how when you busk in a town, your music bounces across different streets. The music is on a hunt to find an ear that enjoys the sounds. I’ve also discovered from streaming, that it is a great way to connect with others who may never get a chance to see you live. So it’s worth doing for any art form 🙂
Link to live stream;
Thank you for reading through! If you’ve enjoyed the words and you feel it’s brought you value, drop a comment let me know or share it on socials 🙂
Monthly subscriptions at Patreon;
Virtual tip jar:
One small step out your comfort zone,
is one bigger step towards personal growth
Uncomfortable things may block your path,
the sooner you face it the sooner you can grow
I’ve noticed that facing uncomfortable things have led me to personal growth and growth as a musician. Like practicing, techniques and patterns are uncomfortable, to begin with, but the sooner you give it a shot the sooner you’ll grow into it and it’ll then become comfortable, then you move into the next level and so forth. Continuous growth.
Busking for me was originally terrifying, being amongst strangers playing music that I love, open to rejection and humiliation, but it soon aided in my personal growth. I feel the confidence to talk with strangers now, whereas before I’d rather have run away from any conversation. Now I enjoy it and thoroughly miss it with this quarantine.
From this first step out of my comfort zone onto the streets, it has grown into many opportunities I’d never seen myself doing. Like standing in front of an audience to give a TEDx talk;
Flip flops were definitely a bad choice. If it wasn’t for that first step to go out and busk, I’d never of ended up doing this. The first few busking sessions were extremely uncomfortable and filled me with nerves, I’d even had a few cases where I went home crying because of feeling like a fool and having insults thrown at me. But I knew that in order to achieve the goal I intended (make a living as a musician and leave my supermarket job), I’d need to keep stepping out of my comfort zone to get there. Like trekking through a murky bayou infested with crocodiles and giant spiders, in order to get yourself to a safer place…? Uncomfortableness is a threat and the sooner you face it, the sooner you can get on with what you really want to do/who you really want to be.
So if there’s something you wanna do, and the only thing stopping you is an uncomfortable wall, then the sooner you climb it the better off you’ll be! Do it now! Like right now!
If you want to be a writer, but feel your words/stories aren’t going to be good, the sooner you make writing a habit, the sooner you can push those doubtful/negative thoughts aside. One word, becomes two, becomes one chapter, becomes one story, becomes one book, changes your life, changes other lives.
With the internet age, it’s easy to share things, your art, your thoughts and yourself. It’s also terrifying to share because you’ve opened yourself up to the entire internet world -which is gargantuan. Full of trolls and people who are just looking to find flaws in everything. But also full of wonderfully kind people who’ll compliment and share your work. With that, it can become uncomfortable to share, but again once you start doing it and getting over the fear of other peoples judgements, you’ll grow comfortable with sharing your journey and your creations. Which can, in turn, affect other people in a positive manner and aid them in doing something that they love. The internet also connects you with those doing/thinking the same, your niche podcast on spiders might open up a whole community that loves discussing and learning about spiders. Giving space for those who feel uncomfortable about their individual love for spiders, to open up, connect and feel comfortable in an online community.
For instance this – I feel uncomfortable doing, talking to a camera and sharing it. But starting a podcast and vlogging this music journey I am on, is something I’ve wanted to do for some time. Generally documenting the journey is something I really enjoy doing, writing words, sharing stories, uploading improvisations and pictures from busking sets. It’s a nice way for me to share what I do and for myself to look back and see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve done.
So my best advice for you is to give it a shot, trek through that difficult uncomfortable terrain towards a new land and share the steps that you take. You’ll look back in 6 months time and see your own progression, you’ll see the impact it has on other people and it’ll fuel you to trek through the next uncomfortable terrain. To keep growing and expanding.
You got this! The first step is the hardest! So go and do it now!
Email me when you do – email@example.com 🙂
Lyrics inspired by the recent blog post on Lockdown thoughts + a musical idea inspired by a meme = this song above.
I first wrote this (below) and built from the ideas to form a full song (above).
This meme was sent by a friend in relation to our current situation – these are difficult times – indeed they are. So I figured if I could write a riff in those times, but at a slower speed (90bpm). I could in some way respond with; ‘these are difficult times, but if you take it slow, then it’ll be slightly easier’, which is true in regards to this riff. It is also true in regards to our actions, we all need to slow down, staying indoors slows us down as we cannot go out and do all things that this world allows us to.
I imagine this lockdown to be much longer than first ordered, and as the world learns to slow down and stay indoors, we’ll step closer to a healthier world – I hope. It’ll be easier if we all slow down, so – stay the $%&* inside.
I’ve truly been missing busking,
…and as I sat in thought on this, a busking buddy messaged me saying she felt like a lost soul, that her heart wasn’t into making music. As buskers, we have both lost that spontaneous interaction with the passing world, we’re missing the smiles from strangers, the compliments from people you’d never expect to enjoy your music. Although there is online busking, it has nowhere near the same interaction as ‘actual busking’ like this – spontaneous dancing – or this – spontaneous jam sessions. I struggle with ‘online busking’ somewhat, enjoying the playing but I find it strange to be inside playing alone in a room, to a virtual audience who are also inside. I can only imagine their smiles and dancing, imagination is helpful. But it may quite possibly be the future of busking, so I’d better compromise.
She said she felt a lost soul, I said it might be that your soul just needs to do other things right now. To not beat yourself up for not continuously playing/making music, that productivity comes in many forms, even resting with meditation or reading, speaking with family and friends is all productive for the soul.
This time now is for us to slow down, and that might be taking a break from what you’d be doing daily in an ‘opened world’, reflecting on it or even forgetting it for a moment. Don’t beat yourself up, do what it is that you feel you need to do right now, as long as it’s not detrimental to your soul.
And although I have been missing busking, it’s been a good time for me to sit and work on new material, to look at cover songs and to break apart some of my songs to fine-tune them and develop better techniques. Which I usually don’t make time for as I normally focus my time on getting to the streets and just playing.
That’s all I really wanted to say for now. My lockdown today will mostly be filled with learning cover songs and annoying my family until they finally succumb to a game of scrabble!
If you’ve any suggestions for cover songs, comment below and I’ll see what I can do 🙂
Wishing you a good day! Stay safe and stay at home!