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Saturday, 10 March 2012

How to spend your royalties wisely

When you have been involved in the business of music, even in a modest way, you can occasionally be surprised and delighted to receive remuneration for your work. I’ve just received notification of a royalties payment of $24.64 (or £15.58 in actual British money) for some music that I released several years ago.
Now I’m not going to get carried away by this, but I’d like to think that all of the folk who have scoffed at my musical efforts over the years will now be scoffing on the other side of their faces. Show business is about learning how to take the knocks before dusting yourself down and then –literally- getting on with the show. Part of my strategy for coping with criticism over the years has been to divide into various categories the folk who criticise, ignore or ridicule my musical efforts. This will make it a bit easier to exact revenge on the day of judgement (a.k.a. the day I make my acceptance speech upon receiving the ‘lifetime achievement award’ at the Brits).
For the record, the offenders are categorised as follows: teachers, schoolmates, journalists, liars, promoters, record company executives, neighbours, girlfriends, DJs, workmates, bastards, random strangers, friends, relatives, wives, children and members of the medical profession. There is also a ‘miscellaneous’ category, just in case I’ve missed anyone out. I’ve already got a rough draft of my acceptance speech and, if I can trim it down by about 45 minutes, it will be succinctly and utterly devastating to anyone who has ever doubted my abilities.
Along with the rewards that the music business can bring comes the pressure of having to decide how to spend your hard-earned wonga. Like other major rock stars, I occasionally feel a burning need to put something back, to use my position, my influence and my earnings to make a positive contribution to society. Sting famously built a recording studio and health spa in a remote African village, while Madonna published a 128-page glossy hardback translation of her lyrics into Aramaic in an attempt to promote greater understanding and world peace. On a more modest level, Peter Gabriel funded a moth sanctuary in Cornwall, while de Bono out of the U2 has written various books on the power of positive thinking.

Now I’d be the first to admit that £15.58 is not an amount that is likely to change the world; the fact that it is such a modest sum makes it rather tempting to blow it quickly on my hedonistic lifestyle. Like many rock stars before me, I almost succumbed to the desire to shove my earnings straight up my nose. I checked the current street prices and ‘my man’ assured me that I could get two, maybe even three, Vicks Vapol Inhalers for that kind of money. However, now that I’m older and –I’d like to think- a bit wiser, I’m more inclined to try to broaden my mind with a bit of cultured reading. A quick rummage around a certain well-known internet shopping site reveals that there is currently a very interesting book available, just inside my price range. It’s called, somewhat intriguingly:

“The Doctrines of the Resurrection and the Reward to Come, Considered as the Grand Motives to an Holy Life. Discoursed Of, from 1. Cor. XV. 58. / By the late pious and learned John Worthington DD (1690)” [Paperback edition]

You may recall that this treatise on the early history of religion was made into a successful film, ‘Snakes on a Plane’, starring Samuel L. Jackson (although I believe some of the heavier religious stuff was left out of the final cut).
While there is a lot to be said for using my royalties to advance the understanding of complex philosophical ideas, I’m tempted instead to invest in something that would bring a little bit of unadulterated joy into the world.

A job lot of ten sets of Universal Curly Sexy Car Headlight Eyelashes (pictured below) is currently sitting at £13.96 on e-bay. That sounds like a pretty good price and it still leaves me some room to manoeuvre on the bidding. I don’t watch ‘Top Gear’, so I have no idea what the views of the cognoscenti of the car world would be on headlight eyelashes. I can’t imagine that Clarkson and the boys would be anything other than completely in favour of this innovative automotive adornment. Surely ten sets of these sexy car headlight eyelashes, distributed at random to friends, relatives and acquaintances would help make the world a better place? After all, we are the world, we are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving.

If I can just get my hands on those headlight eyelashes, I’ll know that all those years of trudging around various dead-ends gigs in hovels, dives and toilets up and down the country will not have been wasted.

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