Monday, 9 July 2018

The Odd Folk Spreadsheet


The bass player overtook the guitar player as the third most decorated in the band. This was a rather large milestone that received no fanfare and was lost somewhere in the backwaters of Germany. I still can’t get my head around it as the latter founded this outfit and played for two years prior to him even joining so to be usurped already means our output must be very top heavy. 
With this in mind I thought it could be fun to take a look at the old spreadsheet and see what other interesting facts there are? The drummer tries to leave the band every 30 gigs or so, does that mean he’s only got another 10 in him as he approaches 90? How many festivals, weddings, tours? How many times has the piano player actually forgotten his leads? What’s the biggest audience we played? The smallest crowd? The highs and lows are all marked. We’re famous for our disorganisation, forgetting instruments, getting lost, doing things the wrong way round, but when it comes to logging it we’re on point. Every little detail, every whoopsie is filed and saved for a rainy day... or a heatwave!

So, what's the most popular gig then? Well, unsurprisingly our hometown of Penzance is our most frequented. It tops the list at 22. Exactly half of them have been at The Acorn. Incidentally the guitar player’s home of Zennor is on 12. The bass player’s home of St. Just is fast catching up on 9, while the piano player’s home has seen only 1 solitary gig. For the record the drummer’s birthplace of Grimsby has seen no action and it is highly unlikely to either.
Festivals are the next most popular location for an Odd Folk gig at 21, while 18 people have requested us at their wedding. Bristol and Europe are locked in forth place on 15.

Our biggest crowd? Indoors we regularly sell out the Acorn at 320 and that’s about as many as we can manage. But we have played more; The Guidhall with Johnny Flynn holds the record at 490 people. Outside is an unknown science; Don't Wake The Fish has up to 600. Shambala Festival; who knows, how do you count a crowd? Best attended pub gig would have to be The Mexico which resembled a pack of sardines, without the smell. Of course we all thought playing on The Great British Bake Off would expose us to 13 million but we were victims of the cutting room floor. 
The Islington, London, was a disaster played out to room of 7. The best paid gig is £1500 (they offered!) while the worst is one of the many freebee’s we’ve done, which end up costing us in fuel. The Islington, above, actually cost us £40! But the biggest loss came at The Cube in Bristol, which cost us £81, despite being sold out!?

How about the most popular formation? That throws throws up interesting findings. I wonder what people picture when they imagine The Odd Folk - apart from a piano player panicking because he’s forgotten his leads while we zip in half an hour late and launch into a 100 mile an hour set with 100 different styles. But how many of us are there; 5? 4? 3? Probably four you’d say. Well you’d be wrong. It’s actually the quintet at 72, with the trio literally breathing down its neck at 71. The quartet is miles off the pace with only 15. Don’t be fooled by our previous guise, The Sam Brookes Quartet only had three members!

And as for the piano players leads; he's lost or forgotten them on 8 separate occasions and been bailed out in 7 different ways. 


1. His father nips home to fetch them
2. Borrows another band's keyboard
3. Uses the the out of tune piano in the pub
4. Plays a ukulele instead
5. Nips to a music shop in Bournemouth 

6. Orders next day delivery on Amazon
7. Doesn't play the gig

They have been left all over the place too; in a field at Mr and Mrs Panbottom's wedding, at the Eden Project, in the basement of The Gladstone Arms in London (now demolished), in a dance studio in Arnhem.

Over the last seven years we've taken around £51,000 in payment, which when you look at it is a massive amount of money for a hobby. But when you split it over the 174 odd gigs it only works out as £290 per performance, and that includes getting there, and considering some the gigs are 100's of miles away and there are 5 of us, it isn't much of a wage. £57 pounds for all the admin, practicing, driving there, unloading, performing, packing up and driving home. It's more often than not a full day's work. Obviously some of them are well paid, but a quarter of them were done for peanuts, and many of those for free! But it's never been about the money, if it was we'd be a covers band and stick to weddings and corporate functions, or better still write a pop song and all dress the same and use autotuner, and buy 'likes' on Facebook.

Other facts; we've been on 7 tours, played in 7 countries, used 15 instruments, 19 members, played such a variety of places; in pubs and clubs, arts centres and cafes, in galleries, in churches, in a castle, in a field, in the woods, a leaking marquee, the corner of an old barn, somebody's living room, somebody's kitchen, a sawmill, a vicarage, in a cinema, on a bus. 

And I'll leave you with one last fact, and probably my favourite; every single gig has come from our own hustle, every song from our mouths, every opportunity has been crafted by our hands. So to achieve as much as we have and been on as many adventures is a nice reward for all the graft. And one we've earned. And the £57 is a bonus! :-) 








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