I’ve always been pretty shy; afraid of trying new things. Always gone at my own pace, and as a result I usually come to things more slowly than most people. As a kid I remember my mum would often have to assure my dad that their son would “do it when he’s ready”, whether ‘it’ was riding a bicycle or playing with other kids. This has applied to many things in my life, even to this day. I struggle with it daily, but I know its important to remember that the aspects of my personality which made it so hard for me to make friends in school, or which gave me a pathological fear of school sports day are the same ones which hold me back now.
What’s this got to do with my life as a musician you ask? Well, after five years of writing my own music, I’m finally about to play my first ever solo acoustic gig. To most people, it might just seem like half an hour playing some songs in an amusingly-titled pub* in Kilmarnock, but for me it’s so much more: it’s a huge step towards conquering my fear and my shyness, towards becoming the person I really want to be, and towards the obliteration of that intangible thing which leads to each step in my life to falling so far apart.
I’ve played gigs as a guitarist in various bands over the years, but this time I’ll be on my own. No comrades to share my excitement with, and if I mess up, nobody alongside me to dilute the embarrassment. Fear of failure would make it easy to run away, to tell myself I’ll do it next month, or when I’m more confident, or whenever. Except I’ve written about it now. What shape would the next installment of my column take if I were to back away from this challenge, as I’ve done with so many others? The shape of a big fat zero, I imagine. So hopefully I’ll soon be updating you, lovely readers, on my first gig. It might be a car-crash, it might be a triumph. It might be just plain alright.
Either way, for me, it’ll be a victory. No matter what happens, I’ve got nothing to lose.
*The venue is called Fanny By Gaslight. No joke. – Ed.