Well it's all been happening, so much planned and pretty much all of it in the diary!!!
Some truly amazing gig photography opportunities
The GTK Studio finally as I wanted it and a layout/set up I was actually happy with
An album of classical music destined for a very possible CD release
A series of distance walks planned with over-night camping
However, it's all changed AGAIN!!!!!!
Owing to unexpected house move, all of the above has either been cancelled or postponed indefinitely. As the French say, "that's life".
When I say "an unexpected house move", that's not entirely true. My fab lady Anne and I had been thinking about moving for some time, and essentially, we've had something of a weird sixth-sense inkling that our genuinely brill landlords might be wanting to sell up at some point. We just hadn't expected it to be now. But, from another point of view, and this is how we actually feel about it all, our decision to move was made for us, and we are not in slightest bit unhappy about it - we have basically got what we wanted and we're excited about it.
We've been experiencing a few changes within the household and family, not least all our three children (Anne has a 26 year old son and I have a daughter of 19 and a son of 17) are now VERY grown up and doing their own thing. We've both come to realise that our lovely home (a rather enviable little off-the-road, 3-bed detached bungalow) had the propensity to be too big for us once Anne's son leaves for distant shores in the next few days. The garden isn't big, but it isn't small, and we are not gardeners. We don't need so much room anymore and we are not one of those desperately sad couples who see a large property as a much-desired, sort-after thing, because that's not the be-all and end-all of our life together or what we want from our life together, we're very happy to simply leave all that for the pre-programmed, conformist, factory-produced and materialistic "achievers" in this world - our mentality is far more evolved and we prefer to be living our lives according to our own terms, not to the dictates of others, the satisfaction of society's expectations or the balance of our bank account. And if you are one those types reading this, a simple message - get a life, you're a long time dead ;-)
So, we now find ourselves surrounded by boxes and dismantled furniture, getting ready to find our own undiscovered country that lies beyond the familiarity of the last ten years in this house. In a break from what is, I suppose, considered to be "the norm", we decided to pack first and then hunt for a new home afterwards, and that's almost where we are now. By this coming Sunday evening (the 17th April 2016), it's more than very likely that we will have completely packed the house up ready for the move. From that point, we will begin our search for a new nest and if fate lends us a little hand, we will be ready to go at a moments notice. We even have the move organised - what will go where and when, we have the move crew sorted and even a van!!! Nothing if not organised :-)
So how does this all change the plans outlined at the very beginning of this post? Well, one thing we have already encountered are the costs of using lettings agencies. My ghast has never been so flabbered. I have to say that lettings agencies make estate agents look positively charitable in comparison. How on earth can you seriously justify such horrendously high fees for basically doing next to fuck all???!!! One agency in Norwich (no names mentioned at this stage) wants £720 in admin fees for a couple and that's WITHOUT fees for credit checks (non-refundable), reference checks (non-refundable) and tenancy renewals. Really, I find that most unbelievable. Needless to say, we are inviting lettings agencies to basically fuck off and do one. The words "scandalous", "thieving", "slimy" and "bastards", amongst a few other more choice offerings, have passed our lips. No. We will NOT be using lettings agencies. If you have any sense, and a basic desire to keep a hold of your hard-earned, you'll give them a very wide berth also.
I digressed, but not indirectly. As we will be dealing direct with private landlords, we still need to raise funds to cover deposits and rent in advance - normal stuff, totally acceptable and without fees - and it has been necessary for me to sell my camera and some music equipment. A bit of a bummer, and trust me, I did have a day or two walking around like a child with a broken toy, but ultimately, it's things, possessions, objects and all of these can be replaced, a roof over the head is of greater importance and priority. On the plus side, I still have an abundance of very high quality music software, so music making will not stop. Once the "Interpretations" album is finished, I already have ideas and plans for the next one, which will be all original material, along with one or two (for me) inspiring titles :-)
Talking of "Interpretations", it's nearing completion. I am going to try and finish it before we move, but that is such an up-in-the-air thing it's not true. If not, then once we moved, it'll be the very first thing I focus on. I'm excited by this album, I really am. I've had one or two very prominent musicians give me some feedback on a few of the tracks and that feedback has basically blown me away - and please note that these people will tell me as it is, so no form of pointless bullshit would ever come from them. It's not an album that a lot of people will like because of the massive classical bias, but that isn't my problem, I'm more concerned with producing and presenting a piece of work that I am happy with and not something that is the expectation or demand of others. Such arrogance eh? You'll get over it.
Photography-wise, I just don't know. I've already taken the step of closing down the Neil Fellowes Photography project for now as I estimate it will take me a year or two to get back the gear I have. That's fine because I've had an absolute blast, I've met pretty much all my musical heroes and I've found a few more in the process, as well as getting to meet some really great people, many of whom have stayed in touch, famous and otherwise. And who knows what's around the corner, a twist of fate can change so much in a short space of time. Or not. Isn't that quite exciting?
The distance walks will happen at some point and again, probably later this year. I have this wild desire to get out and experience the world around me in it's most natural form, so walking and camping are featuring very heavily in amongst the many things I want to do. For some of it, I will be joined by Anne, my soul-mate of so many years now, and some of it I will do alone. But do it I will.
For that last few days, I've been reading how people in this life regard other people as under-achievers. Sorry, I don't buy into that at all. People will, for the most part, live life according to their own values and means, each person with different hopes dreams and aspirations - and you have to know, in my world, no one is an under-achiever. I look upon those who make these kind of statements with some kind of condescending pity, as it is they who are the under-achievers in this world, they are the slaves of society and conformity, bound by the quest for the next big profit or the vastness of their bank account. Take it from me, when you're dead, you'll be a lump of decaying flesh swimming in your own fluids on a metal table somewhere, just like the "under-achiever" next to you. Money and status are not important, money and status do not make you a better person, money and status do not buy you respect or admiration. That's down to the individual to earn from others, and it's time the world started to see that.
And on that note, I shall away to contemplate another pile of stuff for packing.
Back soon ;-)