To Begin Again, Let me Start With This

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).

https://clips.twitch.tv/OutstandingRamshackleFennelOhMyDog

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

Move with the Clouds

(click and listen whilst you read + subscribe if you haven’t already)

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

Love,

James

‘On the Road Again’

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;

https://www.patreon.com/chatfield

or a one off donation – paypal.me/jameschatfield

Wishing you well, safe travels, James

Started Live Streaming, but No-ones Watching? Isolation Thoughts #3

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.

Create.


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;

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/585612058


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;
www.patreon.com/chatfield

Virtual tip jar:
www.paypal.me/jameschatfield

Music downloads;
chatfieldtheaudiojournal.bandcamp.com/

Best wishes,

James

 

A Step Out Your Comfort Zone

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 – basschatfield@gmail.com 🙂


Lockdown Thoughts #2 in a song. I Miss Busking

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).

31dNcRZ45YL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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!

James


Subscribe to my Patreon here – patreon.com/chatfield
Drop a coin in the virtual tip jar here – paypal.me/jameschatfield
Download my music here – chatfieldtheaudiojournal.bandcamp.com

Lockdown Thoughts #1

This now is a time like no other, all my family members tell me how they’ve never experienced anything like this. It is such a strange time, to be locked inside and socialising in this new age, group video chats in virtual bars. Festivals closed, concerts and cinemas all locked down. I can’t imagine what it must be like on the frontline of all of this.

During this time I wish good health for you, your family and friends. Now is a time for us to connect more than ever and be strong in this! And although the world has been flipped and we’re in lockdown. My best advice is to not delve into screens promoting the worst of things. I’ve discovered that the news from multiple sources is just rotatory articles of the same stories, mostly designed to scare us and bring negativity. Of course, it’s good to know the core ideas to practice and live by, stay at home, avoid unnecessary travel to other buildings, wash you hands etc. But if you read the reports from all over the world you may end up falling down endless rabbit holes of darkness, and it’s not enjoyable.

The past couple of weeks I’ve woken up and fallen into this sunken worry of the world, that glued me to the mattress in this anxious saddened state. As I’ve probably consumed too much of this worldwide horrific news.

Instead, turn this off and focus on the time that we’ve been gifted. It might be hard to see it as a gift. But if we do, it’s an opportunity to connect deeper with our family and friends. A chance to sit still, slow down and jump into our minds and understand ourselves. A chance for nature to take a break from humans relentless travel and to finally breath.

A good friend virtual slapped/snapped me out of continuous delving into the Newsline rabbit holes. She said, “As soon as you wake, get up, take a deep breath, close your eyes, think of the good that you have now and the good that you will make, then get out, shake your body and start working towards good things“.

This lockdown is a standstill, a time to slow down and reflect on our individual, communal and worldwide actions. Learn from our mistakes, understand our minds and begin to plant new and good thoughts to elevate our futures and build a better world.

Ideas on what to do with so much time indoors;

  • Meditate on our thoughts and understand our own mind.
  • Relax and still the mind, body and soul. Perhaps by reading a book, or sitting in the garden, watching the birds.
  • Create/explore ideas. Draw, paint, sculpt, sing, dance, write, design or recycle a bunch of junk and create a junk robot out of old tins, boxes and plant pots.
  • Join together as a family, play games, share stories, share recipes, host your own TV game show. Connect deeper.
  • Write that book you’ve always spoken about. Learn that language you’ve intended to for years. Exercise, start yoga, tai-chi.
  • Clear out that room and paint a mural on the wall. Find all your old photographs and create a collage across the kitchen wall.
  • Live stream something you enjoy doing? Start a twitch.tv channel on playing chess against your Dad.
  • Write your own list – ‘100 Things to Do in Isolation’.

My own intentions;

  • Write plenty of music and learn cover songs. Prepare a set of songs with added vocals to later take to the streets.
  • Work on my fictional worlds and begin writing short stories.
  • Connect with my Sister, Mum, her husband and my dog – pretty east to connect with a dog; cuddles + walks + treats + playfights!
  • Meditate and read a lot.
  • Mindmapping on music and the business behind it. Especially that of live streaming and generating an income via online platforms.
  • Blog more. More content for social media – learn about these platforms to better understand how to give better content for followers.
  • …many more things…

27th March 2020, Live Stream whilst Roxy Sleeps, Mums House by Chatfield Audio Journal

Yesterdays live-stream audio chopped up and loaded to Bandcamp (above). The full live video below;

Tips here – paypal.me/jameschatfield

Big love for you all who’ve read through this! Let me know your ideas on what to do during the lockdown, comment below. Share with anyone who you think will benefit from this!

Wishing you all the best! 😀

 

Ideas to Survive Lockdown as a Musician/Busker/Performer

The world is changing, it’s always changing. But recently with the troublesome events of ‘Coronavirus’, it’s changed so rapidly. Because of this I worry for many things, especially the health of my grandparent’s, my Nan came down with Pneumonia over Christmas 2019, and her chest generally picks up any flu going around, I pray daily for her safety.

It’s hit the entertainment industry quite hard, as well as pretty much all industries. Streets are empty, cities on lockdown, people in quarantine and physical cash being avoided, it seems busking (as we know it) is somewhat compromised, for the time being. There is a general response from busker all over the globe to ‘Busk Virtually’ (i.e. Charlotte Campbell, = Livestream video, who is often found entertaining the tourists of London down South Bank). Many already do busk virtual, websites like – Street Jelly  and Twitch, give a platform for performers to showcase their art to an audience of potentially millions, with donation buttons for the listeners to thank the performers. It’s a growing theme that has now gotten a lot more attention – “I can’t hit the streets, my gigs are all cancelled, what the f*k do I do?” – I’m sure it’s not just me who’s been thinking this day in and day out.

So for those who make a living from busking and general music performances, we’re all asking…

….what the **** do I do?

I don’t hold the answers, just some ideas on what we can do in times like these. I hope they help.

Virtual Tip Jar (paypal.me/jameschatfield)

The easiest way someone can throw a donation/virtual-tip your way is ‘paypal.me’. With a simple swish and flick, you can drop a donation of your choice to that person. You can edit the link to add a certain amount i.e. (https://www.paypal.me/jameschatfield/1) = £1 (…go on then 😉 …) 
Set up a live stream on Facebook & add a virtual tip jar = potential earnings. You’re not guaranteed lots of tips and you may even get no tips. We’re in a culture that is continuously fed content from all sorts of performers and entertainment platforms, so we’re used to watching things for free and the virtual tip jars are somewhat new to us. But putting out as much content as you can with a ‘paypal.me’ link in there will help, there have been times where I’ve had a random donation, and emailed with thanks and discovering they found it through an old youtube video or something. So keep these links on your content i.e. in your YouTube video descriptions. Maybe I’ll get a notification from a donation from you lovely reader right now! 🙂 (See Video Description)

Monthly Subscriptions (https://www.patreon.com/chatfield

Patreon was introduced to me by Amanda Palmer (patreon.com/amandapalmer), who spoke about the ‘art of asking’ during a TED speech. A platform in which creators can give more to their fans and where fans can gift a monthly donation of their choice. Certain price ranges offer certain rewards i.e. I have a $15+ reward gifting letters/postcards, from travels. You can get really creative and come up with any kind of reward for the fans – personal songs, house concerts (although that might not be a thing right now), personalised pottery gifts? Literally anything within your realms of creation.
Think of it like subscribing to Netflix or a Magazine you get monthly. You are an entertainment source providing for your fans. If your fans enjoy it enough and can afford it, they’ll subscribe and you get to build a really cool community between the two parties!

There are other platforms with this kind of feature, one I recently discovered was https://ko-fi.com/ – which gives both donation options and subscription options, as though it’s combining the two ideas above 🙂 It’s worth a look!

Twitch also has a subscription option too! So that’s worth a look.

Bandcamp (chatfieldtheaudiojournal.bandcamp.com)

Easily the best place for independent artists to self-release and manage their music. A super easy platform to upload your music and get paid. The best thing is, you can set a price of your choosing and those who are purchasing can pay anything they want too! You price your EP for £3, someone can choose to pay £3 onwards, perhaps even £300?! Imagine that, a friend Steve Lawson is a master of Bandcamp, go check out his stuff! Bandcamp also has a ‘subscription’ option, with Steve, you pay £30 (or more) a year and get all the music he’s ever released – which is an insane quantity (and quality). 

Other Ideas

Jump onboard social media platforms and collaborate with other creatives. Join the Facebook groups that are piecing together online performances/virtual open mics etc. Get creative with how you perform via livestream- performances for specific audiences, get your kids involved, paint and play, go to the beach and sing some summer songs. Live stream whilst you record your next album (i.e. Netwon Faulkner Studio Zoo). Do whatever it is you love to do and keep sharing it with the world, in a way that unites us 🙂


These ideas listed, are currently my main focus on surviving this lockdown as a musician who would usually make a living from street performing and playing shows. I feel it’s a good start, and I can only see it building upwards the more work I put into it. It’s going to be tough for sure, this situation is tough for all of us across the globe. Together we must unite and aid one another in any way we can. I hope my music can help in some way, it’s all I’ve ever wanted, to create music and bring joy to people. It’s the reason I do this.

It’s been amazing to see the response on Facebook for online gig groups, this evening I performed at a ‘Virtual Open Mic’ which was brilliant! : )

Previous to this I performed a longer set on my Facebook page;

https://www.facebook.com/basschatfield/?fref=gs&dti=367677023983452&hc_location=group_dialog

It’s been a really great response so far! Very thankful for those who have watched, shared and tipped 🙂

I wish you all look during the coming months we’ve ahead of us.