Saturday, 14 September 2019

A Blog About This Blog : A Reflection Four Years On

It’s been 1,354 days since I posted an entry in this blog but a few things have recently persuaded me to write one more.

The first reason is that I never actually did a post for the very final episode of this podcast. The almost 6 hour long, Episode 120 - The Final Chapter. So, for the sake of consistency more than anything… here it is:

The second reason is that after a lot of soul searching and rethinking my future creative direction I deleted and then started reuploading most of this podcast to MixCloud. Most of my thought process on this I put on Twitter and also in this MixCloud post:

I said in a Facebook post a year or so ago that I liked the idea that a DJ set could be a snapshot of yourself and your mood at a given time - almost semi-autobiographical. The Phil-Harmonic Podcast is definitely that. It’s a very personal, trance scene time capsule.

The process of reuploading it has really added to that sense of nostalgia and introspection. Looking to the future, I want my sets to be more a reflection of the moods and feelings associated with concepts, abstracts and landscapes. Eras and places I have not been to and cannot reach. I’m hoping what I do will be more dynamic, surprising and, like my most recent series Definitive, more timeless.

My journals, blogs, articles, extended social media musings - my whole literary engagement with the creative process and the communities I’ve shared it with - have been imbued with more than a touch of narrassism that I’ve freely, and repeatedly, acknowledged over the years. To an extent, it comes with the territory in our Internet Age. But looking back, I now see that sense of ego in the creativite output of the podcast itself. It wasn’t just a reflection of my moods at the time, but a reflection of the experiences I had, the people I met and called friends, the parties I went to, the early gigs that I had, the places I visited, the DJs I idolised, the scene that I willingly participated in…Unmistakably of its time and constrained very much by that very personal window in time. I almost see it as a source of embarrassment now, however I know I shouldn’t. But this is just an extension of the thought processes that led me to start deleting the podcast from MixCloud in the first place.

The real reason I wanted to do a final blog post was to reflect on the content of the blog itself. Whilst refreshing the blog and replacing the broken links, I’ve obviously been reading through some of what I’d written. This blog was just meant to be a vehicle for promoting the podcast by writing something about the creative process. (And later, a mechanism for allowing the sets to be downloaded to iTunes.) But it’s striking how much of what happened to me in my life and how life was shaping me can be clearly seen as well. It contains a clear timeline, signposted with joy, excitement, frustration, exhaustion, hope and everything in between. I never really intended it to be that way.
A lot has happened to me in my life since 2015. Some of it very good indeed, some of it absolutely not. In the light of those events and experiences, it’s actually really sad reading some of this blog back.
The way people come and go in life and all the different reasons that they do - sometimes out of choice, sometimes not. The thought that you tried your best for people but didn’t always get it right, or that sometimes trust was misplaced. The reflections on being social versus being solitary and how those things seem to come full circle. The idealism of youth being slowly ground away by expectations that aren’t met or memories that fade. That idealism drawing you ever closer to the scene like Icarus flying ever closer to the Sun, with each flap of the wings edging towards the fall. The long road to building yourself back up after reaching rock bottom.

The sobering truth that the vast majority of the emotional pain we suffer in life is the direct consequence of ego - how the selfish quests of everyone around us appear to damage our own self-interested quest.
I’ve also seen the world change in ways I didn’t expect, in some cases altering opinions that I gave in the blog - changes in social behaviour and technology bringing new challenges to my accepted notions of clubbing or trance values.

Overall, this period in my life was a really good one. It was mostly what you would expect your 20s to be. Fun, mad at times, sometimes surreal, scary but a time of growing. The emotions were free flowing. And I reflect on the output of The Phil-Harmonic Podcast in much the same way as I reflect on that period of my life - I remember it fondly, I sleep well at night, by remembering that I gave it my all.