I had a book crit with a gangly musician – By @Alfie60428342

By Alfie Hardman


I had a book crit with a gangly musician


I happen to actually know him pretty well. We even shared a near to unlivable house that was crippled with black mold in rainy Manchester as students. This dude has really seen me at my best and worst. From pulling off three vegan lasagnas and four fish pies for about forty of our friends in what must be the most elaborate chirps of all time; to being locked out of a car after losing the keys in the Peak District one bitterly cold February night. Yep, they’ve seen it all and incredibly we’re still friends.

He lives not far from our studio in Brixton. When my focus at school begins to lull as it hits that late afternoon period you’ll quite often find me working at his gaff. It works out pretty well. I’ll be writing lines, scamping or staring out the window; while he’ll be twisting amp knobs, plucking guitar strings or screaming into a mic. Occasionally we’ll look up and give opinions on what the other is doing. 

I like it not only because it’s not my studio but his which always makes a fresh change. But also because being around people that are doing something completely different to what you are can freshen your perspective. Sometimes after working in the studio all day, it can feel like you’ve been a horse galloping a hundred miles an hour with blinkers super glued on and nothing but tunnel vision. Good for getting ‘things’ done, crap for having ideas. 

So when I went around the other day I brought mine and Max’s portfolio too for him to have a look at. At SCA there’s often this joke flung around that we’re a cult dwelling in this church in Brixton that’s entirely orchestrated and led by Marc. It’s an exaggerated twist of reality. The point is we’re all sometimes guilty of cramming ourselves in the studio for too long. Ironic really, seeing that we spend all our time and energy working out ways we can manipulate the masses into buying cornettos. 

It’s good to work at a friends house for a second reason. It’s very easy to get into an “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing’ state of mind after having so many brilliant but VERY DIFFERENT opinions on your ideas from mentors. It’s sometimes even the case that you momentarily forget the kind of work you and your partner want to create. 

Getting a friend to look through your personality (what your portfolio should be an extension of) is reaffirming. Friends can also be brutally honest. Weirdly if you know them well enough, you don’t even have to push them for a frank opinion. Seeing their instant reaction can be a big telltale sign of whether your work, works. 

Third and final reason. There’s also good laugh to be had at the end of a long and hard day. Try to always leave time to see the people you love.     

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