Saturday, 25 January 2014

A Musical Angling Life Part 1

This is a three part blog in which I would like to share with you my thoughts on both my music and my angling and the role they have played in my life. It's amazing how they have blended so well together. Both are tightly stitched and it has always interested me that nestled within everyday life there is nearly always a fishing metaphor that slots in so perfectly, marrying the two. When approaching my waters and just like piecing together drum parts, I work a lot with metaphor, I tend not to look at things in a literal way. 

From a very early age I always knew that a drum kit was the perfect sound board for emotions. That's why some drummers stand out from the rest, what's being played might not necessarily be the most technical but it communicates in such a way that it connects with the listener. This is something that you can't really learn, it's either in you or it isn't.

I wanted to be progressive as a musician but I fell into the trap of never giving myself a break and never allowing myself to feel any kind of achievement from what I was producing. My drumming was my anchor but after years upon years of disappointments and let downs this anchor that had grounded me all my life, without me really realising, was actually pulling me down, way down.

Old School 

This is where my angling comes in, the times I spend and have spent by the water are the moments where I have always felt a different form of freedom. The water is a release and a form of escapism that I couldn't find anywhere else. It's such a hard thing to explain but with the water came endless possibilities and a process that just felt so right and seemed to balance the mind.

I think a big part of it for me was the fact that when I was on the bank I didn't have to rely on anyone else. When you're in a band you put a lot of trust in the people that you work with but if their commitment and in many ways 'ability', isn't the same as yours, you can find yourself being held back. On the bank it's just me, my thoughts, my ideas and my rods and I can take it anywhere I feel it needs to go, that is why I prefer to fish alone.

Remote Lands
The idea of this blog hatched when I was going through a very difficult time, I think the endless focus and struggle to succeed as a musician finally caught up with me. I won't go into the finer details but what I have been through, I wouldn't wish on anyone and it was very nearly the end of me, everyday is still a struggle and I am doing everything I can to try and heal, I fear I still have a very long way to go. 

This blog isn't just a platform for me to share my fishing, it's a demonstration of how strong and resilient the human spirit can be. It's about getting out there and making things happen, experiencing the beauty of the moment, chasing dreams, myths and standing tall however hard life gets. It means a great deal to me and the interest so many of you have shown in it is nothing less than unbelievable and I'd like to thank you all for that.
Times Are Changing

With the increase of social media, magazines and DVD's there is a big part of me that feels that Carp Angling as a sport is losing its way. Actually technology as a whole is changing everything around us and I don't necessarily think it's all for the better. I really feel that within the next 10 years so much great art will be lost among the wires and Internet connections that are slowly binding us to screens day in and day out. Never did I think that 'writing a letter' may one day be a thing of the past. 'It's slightly ironic that I sit by my computer glued to the screen writing this',

I find technology very claustrophobic and in regards to both fishing and music, the markets are now so painfully over saturated it's hard to see the wood through the trees. The internet provides a convenience and makes it easy for anyone to jump on any bandwagon. Everywhere I look there are bedroom bands, bedroom bait companies, tackle companies, clothing companies - the list goes on and on, everyone is wanting a slice of the pie, it's all about the money and a chance of fame. This makes me ask myself, where has the magic gone? and where has the enjoyment gone?.

Burnt Wood - Cranbrook Angling Club
For me the essence of fishing is being buried under this increasing desire to be a 'careerist' angler, this has become clear from a fair majority of those around me. Now don't get me wrong, people are entitled to do whatever they choose, but for me, when I started fishing it was a totally different world, carping was an element of the bigger picture, it wasn't really a specialist sport as such and when you took to the bank it was about the hunt, the fight and existing right in the heart of your surroundings.

I believe you have to fish for fishing's sake, poets and writers don't write with the intention of selling millions of books and most bands and songwriters don't write music solely to get a record deal to become 'famous'. When I have been asked through the years how I construct my drum parts, I have always described it as 'controlled madness', inspiration doesn't come when you think that it should, sometimes it doesn't come at all. 

I have always looked upon creativity as a form of illness, a visitor. I believe real musicians, artists, writers, painters and in many ways 'anglers' are driven by something embedded in their genetics that is far greater than themselves. A lot of the time you aren't thinking about what you could gain from the work/fishing that you do, you just do it because it's in you, it's something that you have to see all the way through to the end. You are driven by a desire and a feeling that you just can't put to rest. 

In regards to angling, I think if it is woken within you then it will be something that stays with you for the rest of your life. It is such a misunderstood pass time and those who have never been exposed to it will never understand why,'us' the 'angler' can disappear for days and even weeks at a time in search of something we can't see or readily touch, or even know is there. There's a fine line between sanity and madness that keeps us all chasing a myth that is invisible to all of those around us.

Tanyards 2000
For me it is important to always hold on to that feeling and reason as to why I first picked up a fishing rod in the first place, and a pair of drum sticks. I find if I am not careful and involve myself within the current 'modern' scenes too much, I lose perspective on the path that I have chosen to walk, I like clarity and I like original thought. I have always felt very strongly about trying to do things your own way, like music, angling is another way of expressing yourself. There is no fast or simple route, you can't learn the practical side of it sitting in front of the computer. Once you understand the basics then it really is all open to your own interpretation and this leaves you to take it anywhere you want to.

I am finding that the modern carp scene is breeding a lot of hate and jealousy, it's infecting something that initially was so pure. We are now living in the age of 'the instant angler', everyone wants to land the biggest fish, bank as many big carp as their ego allows, not everyone out there has this attitude but a fair few have. It's a fish at any cost mentality and in some cases there is no regard for the creature or the other anglers that share the lakes with them. 

We are experiencing a boom within the industry. It's now so massively commercial with day tickets stocking big fat foreign carp for any level of angler to go and catch for an overblown fee. Magazines and facebook feeds are full of day ticket '20's and '30's caught from waters that are usually so painfully overstocked that there really isn't a true sense of achievement when actually banking a fish. I believe you have to work for your pick ups, be it a mid double or a high twenty, I want to earn every one of them. The trophy shot is the last thing on my mind, it's the process, the romance of the hunt. Now don't get me wrong if what I have just mentioned is the sort of angling you're into and you enjoy it, that's totally fine, I just don't see it that way anymore.

Feeling It 

Part Two

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