D.i.y. or die, I fucking mean it.  I think I’d forgotten how much I fucking meant it, or just assumed it was such a given that it didn’t even need thinking about, but the last year or so has reminded me, d.i.y. or die, no fucking excuses, no exceptions, no fucking alternative.

D.i.y. isn’t shit bands playing shit gigs for free, from my recent experiences it seems that the mainstream music scene has got that end of the market pretty well sewn up.  Last year I thought, why not play some gigs that weren’t strictly d.i.y. punk?  Alternative, metal, shit like that.  These people seemed to be into the same things I was, might be nice to broaden my horizons.  Bollocks.  It just brought it all back, I’d got this straight in my head and my life fifteen years ago, I fucking hate these people, this bullshit, mini-mainstream attitude masquerading as the alternative.  Fuck off.  Alternative to what?  Everyone in it for themselves, no-one helps you out for fear that you’ll make it big instead of them, these fucking bastards won’t even lend you a plectrum.  And then they wonder why fuck all ever happens, why they never play any gigs, tour, release records, have a laugh.  It’s because life in your scene is nasty, brutish and short and it’ll stay like that until you realise there’s a better way.

Think about it, music isn’t like TV or film which take a load of resources – time, money, expertise, people – to get into, or like writing or art (painting and stuff) that tends to be produced and often enjoyed in a solitary way.  Music is one person getting an ‘instrument’, then making a noise with it until someone else comes along and is in to what they’re doing enough to stick around for a while.  The person with the instrument can try to play something that expresses something about themselves, or that they think will entertain the other, they might even try come up with something together, it’s up to them, it’s just human beings enjoying the company of other human beings. That’s it, a social relationship at the simplest, most micro level.  Fucking amazing.  Doesn’t need anything else, it’s totally self-contained and self-sustaining, no need for people to provide extra resources, to tell you you’re not doing it right, to find a way to use this relationship to live off.  In short, absolutely no fucking need for any authority or industry to get involved.

And that’s where this becomes a big fucking deal.  Look at it, a sustainable, communal relationship that precludes the need for outside control and produces nothing that isn’t consumed within the group.  In a society like ours that’s pretty fucking revolutionary.  It’s not just something the usual bastards – government, big business – aren’t going like, it’s something you’d probably struggle to sell to 90% of the population if you described it like that.  Ask them if they want to come to a gig next week though, well, that’s a different proposition.  But that’s what a d.i.y. gig is, people taking a small step towards building a new society from the ground up because they’ve realised they’re never going to get what they want from the current system.

Now for some this isn’t going far enough and for others it’s probably gone way too far already, and both are probably about to say, “it’s just a fucking gig, mate, calm down,” but that’s the point.  Music is where the lives of these people coincide, one of the few things they might both be involved in.   For a lot of people music is one of the first experiences of the system failing, you know, growing up and thinking “there’s no decent music out there” or “nowhere plays the music I like” or even “my band can’t get a gig.”  And it seems to be one of the first places where people are willing to step outside the system and try something different.  They don’t think of it as anything revolutionary, and if you told them straight out that it was they’d probably tell you to fuck off, but that’s the challenge, helping people realise what the d.i.y. scene really is and how they can then apply it to more than just music.

Myles, March 2011