Last week on Thursday there was a news item on the CBA splash page regarding the concept of gigs potentially extending your life. As a wanna be gig playing bass player, I took a second (and third look) at this article. I was hoping for a Ponce de Leon moment and an easy extension to my late sexagenarian life. A couple more years added on the end would be special. This would give new meaning and life to the term “exposure gigs”. I’m all in if this is a real deal.
However to say I was suspect of the research would be an understatement. Looking again at the article for the fourth time, I found the sources of the research in the article and then turned to my own research assistant (I’ve mentioned her before, oogle.) The sources for this extraordinary claim were a group named O2 and a college by the name of Goldsmith University or something or other. Learning this information did nothing to assuage my suspicions as they were both British and I’m writing about bluegrass. You can obviously see my apprehension. What do Brits know about bluegrass gigs? As far as I can tell the closest they come to bluegrass is that Del stole an English folk song about motorcycles and red haired girls but I’m still hoping there is some extended years for me in this.
Continuing my study, I’m thinking that this O2 group sounds a little airy and not very solid and this Goldsmith University place is a nebulous artsy liberal arts college in the dregs of some compass point end of London that as far as I can tell doesn’t have a science or math course in their catalog. Now I have nothing against liberal arts or arts in general but if I am betting on extending my life by playing more gigs, I need a little science in this deal.
Here’s the rub. I’ve always loved playing gigs…….particularly when I was, what’s the word I’m looking for, …….younger. Gigs in my frame of reference mean packing up speakers, mics, stands, my bass, a table for merch and a tip jar and haul them all to the street where the farmers market is this month. Park a couple of blocks away and cart it to the spot. Sure I have a little help for the hauling part once I get there as most band members help out (except the banjo player). Then we set it up play 3 or 4 sets and then do it all again in reverse (still no banjo help). This is definitely a young persons game unless as you get older there is the promised payoff of a few extended years. Get me 5-10 more years for sure and I’ll kill those farmers markets.
The conundrum as I see it is that I can kill myself gigging at Farmers markets or buy into this research and extend my life by a few more years. You might ask why not get other type gigs where you don’t have to work so hard on the non-music parts of the process such as festivals or coffee houses where you don’t need the heavy artillery to play, that would solve the conundrum it would seem. Hah! I say, I’ve been looking for those gigs for over a decade and am still looking. So it seems, I’m stuck with weekends in the street gigs.
I need to get more thoroughly into this research and come up with a bottom line. Going back to read it again for the fifth time, I discovered that the previous four times I read it, I didn’t get past the headline. Reading it through this time I discovered that the article and its very British sources use the word gig to mean concert and were postulating that going to pop concerts extended lives by increasing a sense of well being.
I knew there was something fishy about this British thing and bluegrass gigs.
Well, that blows that theory for extending my life. I wasted a good thirty or forty minutes on this but I was very excited at the prospect of adding years to my life. I suppose I could go to a few pop concerts as the research suggests but how can I trust these guys now that it will do any good. I read somewhere the other day the drinking two to four cups of coffee a day can do the trick. Maybe I’ll try that.