2021 – How dodgy was it? (Update 7, December 2021)

We’re in that lull between Christmas and New Year. Cricket’s on. I’m metabolising a heroic amount of calories and I thought it might be time to look back on 2021.

The music today comes from the Quintet playing a wedding at Quat Quatta in 2014. These black tie weddings, they gradually drifted out of style, I think, during the early 2000s, and this is one of the last ones we did. We used to be on a first name basis with Quat Quatta, back in the day. Incredible chocolate souffle.

Appropriately enough, just as I was preparing this video I got a call to say there had been a confirmed case of covid at the Christmas function I was playing at last Saturday, so I’ve had to go and get Covid tested. Took maybe an hour and a half, but I guess that might be a decent outcome compared with what people are dealing with in Sydney right now.

So, reviewing this year might seem like a scary thought, and look, it was a terrible year, let’s not beat around the bush. But for me it was a fair bit better than 2020. So maybe the trend is going in the right direction?

I think ’cause we went through lockdown in the second half of the year, it’s easy to forget that for the first five months of the year or so, we were at zero covid, functioning pretty normally. In terms of Mood Merchants gigs, we did about a dozen in 2021. Now that’s not a great number. It’s about half what I did in 2015. That was the last year, by the way, when I had time to put into on on the backend. But certainly leaves 2020 for dead, compares pretty well to 2019 and 18 when I was working full time and just not putting as much time into the band as it really needed. And that’s something that seems to make a difference, by the way.

Some of this year’s gigs were postponed from 2020, and some of those I’ll still be doing next year into 2022 as well. So, look, it’s all small bananas at the moment, it’s a long way from where I’d like it to be, but I’m in this for the long haul, and as long as I’m accumulating a few wins along the way, then I’m happy to consider it a work in progress and just keep sticking at it.

In terms of freelance gigs, again, it’s been a dodgy year. But not a complete disaster like 2020 was. If you ignore the several months when nothing was happening at all, it was actually a pretty reasonable workload. The end of the year didn’t pick up quite as much as I would have liked it to, but I did have a few busy periods during the year, so it’s not a complete write-off.

I obviously started the YouTube channel towards the end of the year, and that’s off to a pretty modest start too. Look, if I squint at the analytics for long enough then I can find enough good news there to convince me that it’s worth persisting with. If you compare the numbers that popular YouTube channels deal in, then obviously I’m not even creating the tiniest bit of noise in the signal, but the way I see it, if fifty people watch a video, then compared to the number of people I normally talk to in a given week, that’s actually a pretty big leap. On some jazz gigs you can consider it a win if there’s more people in the audience than there are in the band, so maybe on YouTube I can consider it a win if the amount of time everyone spent watching it adds up to more than the time I spent making it. I’m happy with that idea.

All the best for your New Year celebrations, and I’m going to see you in January

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