Blog 1204: What I didn’t tell the audience at the ‘Sketches’ Album Screening Night in Berlin

This morning, I wake up hungover and still very, very tired, and I realise something has shifted. The Sketches Project is done – and it ended with the Sketches Album Screening Party, last night in Berlin…

It was a good night, but the screening itself was, for me, a 45-minute-long stomach knot – first-gig nerves of an entirely new kind. I’d never put on an event like this before – and years of playing shows hadn’t prepared me for the experience.

It had been one thing to work on the videos, one by one, and go through that monthly emotional arc, from excitement to sheer terror to acceptance, alone in front of my computer. It was another entirely to watch, in one sitting, for the very first time, the complete collection of the videos I’d already released online, cut together with new visuals for the rest of the album, and be the last person in the room to realise what everybody else already knew: Sketches is my Dear Diary.

A bit paradoxical, maybe? An artist who bares his soul but is terrified of being seen?

While I was working on The Sketches Project, I was consciously exploring some very personal ideas; it was part of my challenge to myself, the Artist versus the Private Guy. I think Artist convinced Private Guy that he could create enough distance between the material and the man through sheer creative ingenuity, that Private Person would remain safe and anonymous and separate from the art and any criticism or disapproval it incurred. Artist could call it merely the product of emotional imagination, and Private Guy could say “it’s not me, it’s my art”.

Boy, I swindled myself but good.

As I watched, I realised a period of my personal life had been catalogued, often in far less cleverly disguised forms than I’d originally believed, and it was being put on display – by not just anyone, but by me.

I suddenly became painfully aware that my naked soul was being projected onto a big screen and blared out some very low-fi speakers in a room full of tipsy-to-drunk people in a Berlin bar adorned with murals some guy had painted with his penis.

My view of the screening from my hiding spot.

 

I stood at the back of the room and watched the people watching the screen, and I hid whenever my face appeared up there (the entire night felt so ego-centric, far more than any concert for some reason). The people there seemed to receive the Sketches video-album in the spirit it was intended: an experiment; a work-in-progress-as-work-itself; a bunch of ideas not yet formed into a cohesive statement, but which still comprised a statement. Or maybe they just dug the novelty of an album’s worth of no-budget music videos that were all made by the musician himself.

And maybe there was never any mystery or guesswork for anyone else who witnessed the Project, and I’m just the last person to actually get what it is I’ve been doing these last twelve months. At any rate: last night, The Sketches Project was demystified for me too. It feels done, and I feel I understand something. And now I know, very simply, that it’s time to move on to something new.

And so this morning, I wake up hungover and still very, very tired, and I realise something has shifted. And I’m excited to see what comes next.

. . .

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