5 October 2012
On the dilemma between staying in and going out
The other day I was out taking photos of a gig. It was the middle of the week, late at night and I was waiting around by myself for the first band to play. While I waited I wondered why I never see any of the people I work with during the day out at gigs. I might see one or two people I know when a big international act comes through, but generally not at local shows.
I started to wonder if maybe it was me - perhaps I should be staying home at night, watching TV, making sure I was wrapped up in bed early, ready for the next working day. My thoughts continued to the conversations I hear at my day job; what happened on last night's reality TV show, how contestants are faring on cooking shows, the latest sports results and so on.
That's when I had a sort of realisation (these aren't uncommon for me when I'm waiting around for bands - the last one is recorded here). These people are spectators. Their lives seem to revolve around watching other people doing things from the safety and comfort of their own homes, while I'm out participating in things as they happen. That to me is important - how many people will remember who won a rugby game in ten years time, or recollect how they felt at the time? How many people will think back with fond memories about the time they saw someone bake a winning cake on television? But how many people can still remember the first time they saw a band, or the feeling they got when their favourite band played in their town?
That realisation put to rest any doubts about being involved in the music scene. Rather than being a passive witness to scripted entertainment, I can participate in something spontaneous and creative (and hopefully document it at the same time), something I'll remember long after an episode of a TV show, or the final score of a game have been forgotten.
I'm not saying that I don't watch TV, or have nights where I choose to stay in and do nothing productive; I have plenty of those. But I don't let a TV schedule dictate my leisure time, and I make sure that I get out and see some live entertainment at least once a week - I would regardless of whether I was photographing or reviewing.
I guess the underlying moral this week is that life should be about experiencing things yourself, and it'd be a shame to look back one day and realise that you spent most of it living vicariously through a box in your living room, when you could have been out experiencing something real happening in front of you. So next time you're sitting at home about to change the channel to another show, why not make a conscious choice to find some live entertainment.