Blog, Fenwick The Grape, Music, Writing

Music Is The Way To My Stomach

Good after evening, and welcome to… My appetite.

Today’s blog post is brought to you by a 5 hour shift with no break and a reminder that the gig, I’m singing for this weekend, comes with dinner.

And that’s entirely what I want to talk about.

Dinner.

If there is anything in this world that motivates me to do anything at all, it’s the prospect of free food. Anything from a packet of sweets to a full blown meal. In fact, this is so true about me that, throughout my time as student rep when I was at uni, the rep leader (I guess that’s what he was… He organised the meetings at least) would usually coax me into going to a meeting, because there would be snacks of some sugary description.

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Now, don’t take this to mean that I’m some kind of recurring skiver, I went religiously to meetings, even if sometimes it meant I was the only person present. Ok, not the ONLY person, but except for the staff members that were there, the student president, and who I’m calling the rep leader, I was the sole student rep to always turn up to every…single…meeting across the three years I’d signed up to it.

Which very neatly brings me to my first case example: Birmingham 2013 (I think). It was early October and the uni had a conference that they needed to send the student and vice president to. Except because it was so early in the term, no one had been appointed this position yet, and as such needed stooges stand-ins to go in their place. As I was so diligent in my duties of attending meetings (for cake), naturally I obliged.

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By which, I, of course, mean that I was told that because it was an all-day event we would be given free food. I assumed sandwiches but was more than happy because sometimes there are leftovers casually given, out and I am 100% about that life.
So I and my rep peer made our way up to Birmingham, on an 08:19 train from Paddington (I have the ticket hanging around somewhere.. pretty sure that was the time) and off we went. My friend looked over the information, so he knew what to listen out for, to relay back to the university. I wondered what was on the menu.

Sandwiches be damned, I had a full hot meal AND a pear tiramisu.

You can’t imagine my delight. Missing out on lessons just to go to some boring quality assurance conference, and be fed ’til I needed a nap. Sorry to say, I paid zero attention to what I was supposed to listen for, but as it happens I didn’t understand most of it anyway. But I ate fantastically well that day. And to top it off, as we were leaving, they were giving out chunks of toffee cake and they foolishly told me I can have as much as I want. So, I unfolded two napkins and filled them, stuffed them in my pockets and went my merry way.

This is turning out to be a tale of my perpetual gluttony. I’m eating a slab of bakewell cake as I type.

Other instances of being student rep meant participating in open days, which also came with a free mini Subway sub, and I’d probably get about three of them in my face and run off with a fourth. In fact, I was once trusted with going up the high street, with the order receipt to collect the £200-worth of Subway, and the joy that I felt in my heart carrying all that food, heavy as it was, was unimaginable. And now, I kind of want Subway…(by the way…no endorsements here!)

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My experiences aren’t limited to being a student rep. I’ve also turned up for a gig in Hoxton to find trays of home cooked food, ready and waiting for the picking, and you best believe that, though I was entirely by myself as, for once, I’d arrived early, there was nothing about to stop me, getting everything in my face. We had a second gig, at the same venue, at a later date, and the spread wasn’t nearly as glorious but, again, that didn’t stop me, and one of the other BV’s, from chowing down. Especially after the rest of the acts had left the green room; it was just us doing our make up and eating.

Another gig in Soho ordered us pizza.

And again, this coming weekend, yet another gig is happily feeding my ever-hungry face, and I can’t tell you how good this music thing is turning out to be.

To be honest, when you’re a small-time music act, no one’s really that bothered about treating you well at a venue. Sometimes, it seems that it’s a lot for them to even greet you with a smile. A lot of places aren’t willing to pay you, for your time but maybe they’ll give you some “free drinks” tokens for the band. Which is great. Unless you don’t drink. Like I don’t. At all.
So, granted it’s just me wanting to eat all the time, but you can see my surprise, and in fact gratitude to some of these places to offer anything by way of…Well, not really thanks, but something that says “sorry we didn’t pay you but have some drinks/food/discounts for playing anyway”, you know? Good hospitality.

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These places can make the argument that they’re giving us the opportunity, to put ourselves out there for free, but without us willingly doing it, all these places would shut down much faster than they already are. Fine. you won’t pay us. That’s how this ridiculous industry works. But we essentially bring in your customers. People don’t just turn up at live music venues and say “Oh, hey there’s a band here. That’s kinda cool.” Usually they want to see live bands play. In fact, a lot of venues charge for people to come in and watch the show. And yet rarely do the musicians see any of that money.

In conclusion, and if it were me, if you won’t pay us, at least feed us. We have to travel with all our expensive gear and things late in the night. So just give us a pizza.

Or me. Just give me a pizza.

On that note, I’m going to seek out dinner.

Signed

Fenwick

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