OK, here is my latest attempt to keep up to date with the exciting, fangled, new world of the internet. Ha! Not so new any more, but fangled nonetheless. (My computer tells me fangled isn’t a real word. Does it know more than me? Probably.)
Here’s the story so far (abbreviated and containing only what is relevant to this post):
Sometime about 1995 I became aware that something called the Internet had come into being. It looked exciting, a bit scary and full of undreamed of possibilities. Intuiting that it must in some way herald the End of The World, I promptly packed my bag and disapirated for the rest of the millenium.
It was about this time that anyone with any sense were going about learning the necessary skills to become computer programmers, web designers, multi-media internet entrepreneurs and hackers. Meanwhile, I was learning to play the fiddle – badly. In this brave new world, after all, when all the power stations have shut down, the supermarkets have been ransacked and the petrol pumps have run dry – people would always want music to cheer them up, or drown their sorrows. Wouldn’t they?
The Y2K (year two thousand, you may remember it) came and went with no sudden meltdown. OK, I thought, It’s about time I got myself a vocation. Well obviously I wasn’t going to be chained to a desk and a computer screen like all these other unfortunate suckers (some of them actually quite rich by now). I had to do something with my hands, with my brain, with music, with wood. Something authentic and real. Something where I could be my own boss. Something where I could wear scruffy clothes and not have to shave everyday. Something to show all these technoheads ‘look, this is the way things have been done for centuries, the past is the future, let’s not forget our roots, let’s bring back the old ways….’ etc.
And so it was that I took the fateful step and became a luthier – a guitar maker. Of all things. Naturally.
And so now, as a luthier, with my trusty wooden toolbox and my secret knowledge of the mysteries of luthiery, passed down from generation to generation of traditional craftsmen, I would be able to travel the world making beautiful and unusual musical instruments of my own imaginings – out of the bits of wood thrown out by wasteful consumer society. Or so I thought.
The first problem is that you actually need quite a lot of tools. Not loads, but enough to require a small, organised workshop to make it practical. Then there’s the wood. Though you can make a guitar out of almost any wood – there are some that are more suitable than others. So you end up collecting it and hoarding it – bits of old furniture, pianos, table legs – but also searching out the finest Alpine Spruce, figured Maple, Rosewood, Ebony – unusual bits of wood for decoration. Before you know it you’ve got stacks of wood everywhere, logs quartered out in the yard to season for years to come – and you know every piece and where it came from and you don’t throw anything away – not even the smallest offcut, because you know it’ll come in useful for something.
But that’s all by the by, so to speak. Things rarely turn out how you’d expect, in any walk of life. The main problem is after you’ve made a few lovely, traditionally handcrafted guitars – how, in this high speed, overpopulated modern world of mass production and image branding, do you let the right people know about these two or three really amazing, unique guitars? Of course – the Internet! You need a website.
Of course, by now all those sensible folks who have been developing websites for the last ten years charge a small fortune for the service, which is something that quite naturally I do not have. And so while they’re sitting on the beach in Bali or Thailand, sipping coctails and doing a spot of website design, I’m going to my local library (in those days there were still books) and taking out a volume on HTML for beginners.
It doesn’t look like much and doesn’t really work properly, but it serves me well for a few years, until it all starts to fall apart and I’ve forgotten how to do HTML, which nobody uses any more anyway. These days it’s all moving pictures, animated buttons, facebook, twitter, ipods, ipads – I don’t know what. You can see I’m finding it hard to keep track of all these advances. I only moved from tapes to CDs about 6 months ago – now I find nobody uses CDs any more either.
So I said to my friend, who’s something of a somebody on the WWW ,”What can I do to increase my internet visibilty?” (I figured that’s how these people talk).
“Simple”, he said. “It’s all about content.”
“Oh I see”, I said, not really seeing. “Content.”
“OK, how do I do that then?”
“Go on wordpress and write a blog”, he said. At least I think that’s what he said. So that’s what I did. And this is it.