no matter, try again. fail again. fail better

ooh, pretentious post title or what? never mind. the other night i was rehearsing at laura's house and was pleased to see this postcard on the wall. it's a portrait of samuel beckett by tom phillips. i must have bought about 30 of them over the last god knows how many years; every now and again i'll pck up a dusty half finished book from the shelves and find one inside, marking the point where i gave up on it. sad.

i don't really know much about beckett, but that quote's always stuck with me. i found it echoed the other day when i read something that eno said - something along the lines of 'copying someone else's work is always a good idea, as long as you don't succeed'. when i started playing music with my friend martin (back when the earth's crust was still cooling) that's exactly what we did. armed with a couple of reel to reel recorders, a guitar or two, a really crap synthesizer and some home built electronics, we'd try and ape the styles of our then heroes - everyone from killing joke to tim buckley to john cale to. er. bauhaus. and of course we'd fail. miserably. but somehow in doing so we created our own thing, though i'm not sure we knew that at the time.

ths was of course down to our lack of competence and the fact that we had very limited gear. so not exactly the result of a well thought out aesthetic approach. but the more i think about it the more that mr b's words seem to be something to keep in mind. usually when i sit down at my home studio for an evening of fiddling about i have some kind of vague idea of what i'm aiming for, just because you have to start somewhere. but it never turns out like that, and though sometimes i just get pissed off and scrub the whole thing, at others i'll end up wth something that is maybe better. failing better, maybe.

this is partly incompetence (still) but more tied in with the way i work, which tends to be entirely intuitive rather than planned or thought about much. which i guess is why i admire people like lucy and laura so much, who seem to have a clear idea of what they want to do and how to do it. and seem untouched by their influences in many ways. i'm sure they'd both think i was talking bollocks here, and they may be right, but if they're failing, they're really really good at it.

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