By Geo Ong
I don’t believe I’ve told many of you about my other job as a music gatherer, which I’ve held for about four months and counting. You could say that it’s a self-employed gig. I don’t get paid to do the job; in fact, I love it enough to pay to do it, because the benefits are so good. While it may not fill my wallet, music gathering services my soul.
Now, I strive to be as responsible a consumer as I can be. In many cases I hardly classify as a consumer at all. The main reason, of course, is my staunch Urchinism, where, in case you’ve forgotten, frugality is a virtue. The other, equally important reason is because there are too many people who consume more than enough for the rest of us. My not consuming is most often an attempt at leveling that particular field. While I have no problem being a consumer of things of personal necessity, I’ve trained myself over the years to snuff desires that any other person brought up in a consumerist country would regard as natural.
But the funny thing is that many sources of pure joy cost money. Commercial art cost money. And where would I be without buying books, albums, or tickets to see a movie or museum? I’d be miserable if I didn’t have those things accessible for purchase. And I certainly won’t judge you for buying an expensive electric guitar because playing it makes you happy.
My job as a music gatherer takes all of this into account. In a way it is a quest for knowledge and enjoyment, both for great music and the thrill of finding. My job at all times takes into consideration consumer responsibility, personal frugality, and artistic excessiveness (which is implied in the term ‘gatherer’). I’d be happy to share with you some of my practices.
Reconvene with me next week as I go more in depth about where I get my music, why I hardly use iTunes, and what I think of pirated music (it’s not a clear-cut answer). In the meantime, I feel it’d be appropriate to end these articles with a song I’ve currently been feeling. Enjoy, and stay tuned.
Artist: Tom Waits
Song: ‘Ice Cream Man’
Album: Closing Time