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When is it time to 'call it a day'?

Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 01:28 AM
mg 26 Jul 11 - 01:37 AM
Crowhugger 26 Jul 11 - 02:36 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Jul 11 - 03:08 AM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 03:15 AM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 03:19 AM
Will Fly 26 Jul 11 - 03:30 AM
Howard Jones 26 Jul 11 - 03:48 AM
Alan Day 26 Jul 11 - 04:09 AM
Banjiman 26 Jul 11 - 04:20 AM
Big Al Whittle 26 Jul 11 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,livelylass 26 Jul 11 - 05:08 AM
Waddon Pete 26 Jul 11 - 05:25 AM
stallion 26 Jul 11 - 05:35 AM
Richard Bridge 26 Jul 11 - 05:55 AM
banjoman 26 Jul 11 - 06:15 AM
jacqui.c 26 Jul 11 - 08:31 AM
maeve 26 Jul 11 - 11:26 AM
Lonesome EJ 26 Jul 11 - 12:43 PM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 01:21 PM
VirginiaTam 26 Jul 11 - 01:42 PM
Amos 26 Jul 11 - 02:00 PM
stallion 26 Jul 11 - 02:02 PM
Crowhugger 26 Jul 11 - 02:14 PM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 02:16 PM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 02:32 PM
Crowhugger 26 Jul 11 - 02:46 PM
MikeL2 26 Jul 11 - 02:58 PM
GUEST,mg 26 Jul 11 - 03:09 PM
Waddon Pete 26 Jul 11 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,livelylass 26 Jul 11 - 03:22 PM
meself 26 Jul 11 - 03:30 PM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 04:04 PM
Crowhugger 26 Jul 11 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Frug 26 Jul 11 - 04:25 PM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 05:16 PM
jonm 26 Jul 11 - 05:31 PM
Lonesome EJ 26 Jul 11 - 05:41 PM
JohnH 26 Jul 11 - 06:03 PM
Lox 26 Jul 11 - 06:17 PM
Crowhugger 26 Jul 11 - 06:25 PM
Genie 26 Jul 11 - 06:33 PM
Genie 26 Jul 11 - 06:33 PM
Genie 26 Jul 11 - 06:33 PM
Mary Katherine 26 Jul 11 - 09:50 PM
Crowhugger 26 Jul 11 - 10:07 PM
Big Ballad Singer 26 Jul 11 - 10:51 PM
Crowhugger 26 Jul 11 - 11:43 PM
mg 27 Jul 11 - 12:22 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 27 Jul 11 - 01:44 AM
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Subject: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 01:28 AM

I started playing guitar as a young teenager. I've been singing for over 30 years. I began singing in church choirs at age 7 and have performed solo or with groups for about 20 years now.

I used to gig with bands and as part of a duo. We worked, the duo especially, about 6 times a month or so. We also ran an open-mic that we were paid to host. The money wasn't great, but it was over 10 years ago and the economy and our particular region of the country were much better off back then.

It's not like I haven't gigged before; it's just that there's nowhere near me where I could even GET a paying gig. It's all top-40 rock bands and classic-rock-cover bands around me.

As I have mentioned in other threads, I have physical problems that make finding work very difficult. If Medicaid (US-govt-sponsored charity so-called 'health-care') doesn't approve surgery for my cataract, I will lose my driver's license the next time I have to renew.

I've been out of work for 19 months now. I left a good-paying job in a nice town to move back to my hometown area. I moved with the promise of a job waiting for me. That job fell through, and the repeated promises of that particular company that they would find me another position never came through, either. I eventually found work, but left due to the aforementioned physical problems and other issues at that job.

All this time, I've been trying and trying to find gigs. There are plenty of open-mic nights, and I am always well-received at those, but they are at venues that do not book 'folk'-type performers. That, of course, means that I am not getting offers for gigs no matter how well I go over in those rooms.

There are places in my state and in my region that DO feature my sort of music or 'style', if you will, but getting to them involves travel, which involves fuel costs, which involve money, which thing I do not have.

Now that financial pressures and the threat of losing utilities (again) are looming large, I have had to put the remainder of my music gear up for sale.

I'm taking this all to mean that this singing/playing/performing thing just isn't a viable option for me. I'm not sure whether that's true "for now", or more permanently.

Anyway, my question to you all is this: If you, or someone you know, came to a decision to stop performing, whether temporarily or more long-term, how and why did you make that choice? Were there definite 'signs', so to speak, that whatever you were doing just wasn't cutting it?

This might just be me feeling really sorry for myself because I am in a terrible bind in life right now.

The only performing option I have left that makes any logistical and/or financial sense right now is playing on the street for change or playing outside churches when Mass lets out.

At least if I'm playing something, it won't look or feel TOO much like begging.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: mg
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 01:37 AM

Is it an option to go back to the other town?

Could you get Social security disability?

Playing gigs or on the street sounds like a good way to supplement even a very modest income but it would be very hard to bring enough in for even the basics in some areas...are there part-time jobs in your areas that you could supplment with music? mg


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 02:36 AM

Only you can say if you're feeling sorry for yourself. Sometimes a situation calls for a big scrumptious wallow over what you've lost. Give yourself time to wrap your head & heart around all that's happened and is still happening.

Every supplier needs to be able to get their product to market, but as you say right now you can't. Sucks, no question. Yet being on forced hiatus doesn't mean you need to make a decision about forever. Music is in you to restore when you circumstances permit. You mentioned elsewhere that family is already financially helping you out, but would it be possible for someone to buy your last couple of instruments and store them for you to buy back when times permit? It wouldn't feel so final, especially if you're the sort who gets attached to certain instruments. Don't worry if they can't do that for you though. The reality is that are plenty of guitars & banjos in the world to be had when you can afford it.

Don'tcha hate when life throws those damn personal growth opportunites atcha? I know I do!


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:08 AM

My greatest sympathy. I'm sorry you can't bank that. Did you leave your former employers on good terms and might they be susceptible to an approach with a view to moving back there?


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:15 AM

mg:

1) no, it's not.

2) tried, and was denied, despite having several verifiable and obvious issues. I was told to "go get" a job from a made-up list of non-existent positions in fields I have no experience in.

3) Even part-time work is very hard to come by for anyone, let alone someone with the issues I have.

Crowhugger:

I understand your points, but the idea of family members supporting us is actually a nice way of saying that there are grandkids involved, and if it weren't for the grandkids, we wouldn't be getting the help we do get. None of my family members are musical; the instruments would mean nothing to them in terms of value and these are not the kinds of people that make loans like you suggest.

I'd call this a "personal growth opportunity", but I have no time to concern myself with ME or what I might learn or whatever through this situation. I am only concerned with making sure our utilities don't get turned off and that we have money to keep the car going so I can keep looking for work.

To amend what I said in my OP, I'm actually NOT feeling sorry for myself. I know that I am working like a slave over this PC to search job listings, Craigslist, whatever, just to find something to help make ends meet. I know that I am doing all I can, so it really doesn't matter if anyone else notices my efforts.

I've just reached the point where NOTHING, including instruments that have meant a lot to me, is off the table when it comes to making money to take care of my wife and kids.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:19 AM

Hi Richard,

I left the job in the other state on good terms; in fact, it annoyed the boss that I had to leave, since I never missed a day and did my job (shuttle bus driver for a county transportation system) even in the worst winter weather, when other drivers parked and didn't run.

No, sadly, I can't go back there, as we moved to our current town because we felt it right to be nearer our family; they wanted their grandkids closer to home. They've also now paid 18 months' worth of our mortgage and car insurance, so we couldn't possibly entertain the idea of going elsewhere.

Thank you for your kind words. They are bankable in at least an emotional way, and for that I am grateful.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Will Fly
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:30 AM

My only comment - from a perspective which is probably quite different from yours - is that, no matter what the circumstances, I would never, ever sell instruments which could help to bring in money and soothe my weary soul.

What happens when the few bucks you'll get by selling your gear have gone? Even one electro/acoustic guitar can earn you money.

But - as far as earning money from music is concerned, you have to ask yourself "How good am I?"; you have to consider whether you can change your style to accommodate music work which does pay. If it's "all top-40 rock bands and classic-rock-cover bands" around you, then if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Particularly if it brings in some folding money.

I've known many ex-musicians who, through family pressure or other cirumstances, have sold their instruments and stopped playing. With few exceptions, they've all regretted it. I meet them at band gigs - they come up and talk wistfully about when they used to play and what gear they head, etc. Don't be one of them.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:48 AM

I would agree with Will - your instruments will only pay the bills for a short time. Once they are gone, what are you left with? Your instruments will give you solace when things are tough, and at least the potential to earn some extra income.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Alan Day
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:09 AM

I agree with Will, there are many times that one gets depressed about a performance, or lack of bookings, but never sell instruments.When I get fed up with my lot I move on to other pastures, other challenges, other tunes, write my own tunes and songs for myself and others to enjoy.Join other bands, change musical direction. Most times a new and challenging tune sorts me out.Will and I get very few bookings, but we go out and do our own thing,as long as we enjoy enjoy ourselves and make people happy, that is the main criteria.
Al


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Banjiman
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:20 AM

Any chance you could do a bit of music or singing teaching? It's what a lot of folkies on this side of the pond do to supplement their gigging income. Must be worth a thought.

Why not busk? It is not begging......it's a noble profession!

Good luck anyway.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:59 AM

I agree with Banjiman on this one. Of course its easier for us in England - after World War 2 - every shade of government agreed there would be a national health service. We pay huge taxes - one American assured me there would be armed insurrection if Americans had to pay what we did for a litre of petrol. But you would be on a list and waiting for your cataract operation - no quibble, over here.

All that said - in England. You can usually earn a living as a musician and or/performer - but you have to be VERY flexible. My own career has encompassed teaching guitar, having a hit record, playing miners welfare clubs (then Thatcher closed all the mines and with them the clubs!), Irish theme bars (then the fashion for them went cold), old people's homes (firstly working to a script with backing tracks) , an instore Father Christmas, being a film extra, running a recording studio, thousands of iffy pub gigs - all stuff that makes use of your nerve , skill and sinew as a performer/musician. I tried busking, but I was rubbish at it. Talk to other buskers - there are hints tips and wrinkles to every profession.

Try to think divergently, and don't say - oh i don't do THAT! Some of my best years as a musician came doing stuff that i had previously despised and discounted through my ignorance and predjudice. Your poverty can force you learn more about the nature of real folk music.

The saddest cases on Mudcat are those imprisoned by the narrowness of their vision and the unshakeable belief in their correctness.

Above all - don't sell your instruments until you have a clear idea of what path you're going to have a shot at making you career take. You will need to finance the next chapter somehow. In future years and in times as yet undreamed of, you will regret selling your beautiful instruments ( almost always at a fraction of what they're worth)to make the next step forward. Still - they're not museum pieces - they are the assets of your working business. use them wisely!


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 05:08 AM

BBS in another thread you said that you are unable to claim state financial assistance because in order to do so you would have to attend state organised work training days or some such, you said that because your children are home schooled, you and your spouse were unable to attend the required days. Obviously I don't know why you prefer to home school, but is it worth considering sending your kids to school in order to free up your days so that you can get some kind of cash in? Until such time as you are in a better financial position at least. Your kids might even enjoy the change.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 05:25 AM

Hello BBS,

Lots of interesting thoughts for you already.

My thought would be this. You clearly enjoy your music and you obviously transmit this to others as you say you go down well in open-mikes.   To sell your instruments and give that up would not be right for you. You say they don't book your kind of act, but people listen and are appreciative. I'm sure you talk to your audience. Ask them if they would like a house concert? Do they know anyone who would like to learn to play? Have they a church fund raiser coming up? Etc. Etc.

Being out of work is more than hard, but it does give you focus. Is there any mileage in being self-employed doing something useful around the neighbourhood and using your skills?

But above all....don't give up on your music. It is your relaxation and your solace. Your self expression and your creativity.

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: stallion
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 05:35 AM

selling instruments is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, even if it is one instrument you keep. Time to give up is when you turn up for a gig not wishing to be there and being relieved when it's over. If you still get a kick out of "job well done" then of course you must go on. The kids schooling at home thing is a bit self indulgent, don't know the full circumstances of the why's and wherefores but I know my kids have to send their kids to school because they can't afford the luxury or sacrifice that home teaching requires. And, i am in the UK , that makes a huge difference because our cultures are different it is difficult for uk residents to get their heads around what is going on. I also notice that the vast majority of the posts are from UK residents, is that because locally there is a lack of empathy with your situation? Is it because uk residents have a different mindset? Take care and I hope you find a solution to your problems


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 05:55 AM

If you are "home schooling" your grandchildren (I assume it's "grandchildren" since the children have paid some of your mortgage and car insurance) you are doing a job for your children and they should be paying you for it the more so since it may be stopping you getting a different job.   I know some schools in the USA are dreadful but I get very worried about the narrowing effect of home schooling and the potential reasons for doing it.

Can you get a different angle on your cataract operation? I know in India charities knock them out in tents in about 10 minutes each.   Is there any angle on medical charities in the USA, or some medical benefits? With grandchildren how far are you away from a federal age program of some sort (well, as long as the USA still has a federal government).


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: banjoman
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 06:15 AM

My wife & I have been playing Church music and gigging as a duo and with a band for almost 40 years. There are times when we feel like giving up but always end up going on as we would miss it all. The only problem now is one of mobility and problems of age (Arthritis etc.) Never give up as you will always find some solace or peace in your music. Hopefully your situation is only temporary and better times are just around the corner. Best of luck and keep playing.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: jacqui.c
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 08:31 AM

I also notice that the vast majority of the posts are from UK residents

Peter - that's because we've only just woken up on the East Coast. The USA has mostly been snoring its head off since this thread was started!

BBS - don't know what part of the States you are in and I don't know enough about the way Medicaid and unemployment work over here to really comment, but I would agree that it might be an idea to put your kids in school, maybe just for a year or two, if that might help improve your overall situation. You can always give them extra tuition at home, in the evenings, if you don't feel that they are getting all you desire from school.

I agree that selling your instruments would be a bad move.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: maeve
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 11:26 AM

Sometimes when in a precarious, vulnerable position we think we have to sell ourselves short- dreams, goals, passions. As someone who has been in such a position more than once, I'll encourage you to:

1. Be practical (public school for a year or two might fit here; selling all instruments might not. Finding other homeschool/public school families who are willing to work together for mustual support might be; insisting on earlier choices might not.)

2. Be flexible (talk with many different people regarding many different approaches to employment, a different look at what makes sense regarding the children's needs verses the family desire for home education, finding someone who can provide free or bartered counseling for getting state and local short-term aid, employment counseling for you and your wife, educational counseling to offer fresh employment options...)

3. Be a survivor rather than a victim (it's easy to feel powerless after having tried many things to survive. Time for a different approach, a different direction, a change of perspective...)

4. Define and believe in what is most important to family members and the family itself. What are your goals? What can be worked for now? What is a goal for your future? Write 'em down, post them on the 'fridge, make family and individual books. (The children can be part of the solution in age-appropriate ways. Even young children can take part in a family meeting, brainstorm ways to save or earn money, helping out at home, being brave and positive, talking about feelings, being kind...)

5. Seek and be thankful for the moments of delight, the songs sung together, the adventurous soul, the time spent with your spouse, shared burdens, successful strategies. (It's what makes life worth the effort!)

6. Consider the living lesson you and your wife are to your children. What do you want them to learn from your approaches to hard times? What are they learning now?

Keep us aware of your struggles and progress as you need to; don't spend too much energy seeking our virtual support and long distance advice. There are people very near you who can pitch in with solid help and community support, perhaps becoming part of your circle of friends sooner than you might think.

I hope for you to find the strength and endurance and joy we have found.

Maeve


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 12:43 PM

Where do you live now? Maybe some one knows a company that can use your expertise?


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 01:21 PM

I live in New Jersey, USA.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 01:42 PM

Mission Cataract USA offers free cataract surgery for of all ages who cannot get the surgery under Medicare or Medicaid.

http://www.missioncataractusa.org/index.php?n=1&id=1

I also would not advise selling instruments. I sold my guitar when I was 18 due to family financial pressures and regretted it until I finally bought another in my 40s.

What about putting together a number of short sets to perform in nursing homes, schools, hospital wards, etc.? Make certain your sets are relevant to the audience musically and in your banter. An hour long concert once a week per venue for a fee they can't turn down.

Start by offering free 10 minute shots. Get your kids to make up some business cards, leaflets, posters to leave at churches, schools, nursing homes, shops, etc.

I do hope things work out for you.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 02:00 PM

There may be a lot of retirement homes, orphanages, and other institutions in range where what you do would be valued. Old people love acoustic music more than younger people in general. Children are inspired by it. Museums, summer camps, grade school classes might really enjoy a progra, of historical songs.


A


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: stallion
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 02:02 PM

oops yup jaq, i quite forgot the time difference. My dad once sold my instruments, drum kit and 12 string guitar and my car to pay the repair bill for the car. the items were sold at way below their market value to get the money back, my dad wasn't short of a bob or two I was being punished for going on holiday instead of paying him back. I never really got back from that, by the time I was in a position to buy replacements I had a family and no time to indulge myself


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 02:14 PM

I too like to imagine I would never sell my instruments. But if a guitar, viewed by welfare agency as an asset, prevented me receiving assistance that would fill my kids' hungry stomachs three times every day, said guitar simply would have to go. How can one keep or prepare even food bank groceries without electricity? Or run a fan when it's 100 degrees out? The only way it would be feasible to keep the instruments is if one could earn at least as much with music as the welfare I'd lose by keeping it.

On which topic Will Fly makes a darn good point about adapting to the local market.

BBS, it sounds like you've ruled out moving back to the paying job, so that suggests you are okay with the price everyone in the family is paying to give grandkids and grandparents access to each other. Sadly I have to say that wouldn't be the case with my in-laws. But that's another thread for another day...

Are you able to do the old job with your present health issues?


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 02:16 PM

So many of these ideas are wonderful, but I am so behind the "8 ball" right now that I can't even get to these places. I've got to come up with $300 by Saturday (our utilities are on a computer-managed system, so if our account is not current as of Saturday, the computer at the central offices simply sends a notice to the line workers, in the case of the power utils, and sends a signal to our line, in the case of the phone and PC. Either way, by noon on Saturday, we're either caught up or things start getting shut off.

I can't ask the family members who are helping us already for another red cent, as the utilities and gas for the car are OUR responsibility. If those bills were also being paid by others, we would lose all our county assistance (food stamps) support.

I understand what everyone is saying about not selling instruments, but I have no choice when there are no jobs to be had and I have no other avenues through which to get any funds together.

There are people here on the Mudcat who have helped in the past, even the more recent past, but all that help has just gone from their hand to the bills. I've never been in a worse position before in my life.

If it weren't for my wife and kids, I could go on the bum and make my way elsewhere in the country and try to busk or whatever, but I have them to take care of and so I have to hustle every day like this.

It sure sucks, but it's going to be better than losing our services.

I can't even imagine what looking for work would entail without the internet. Our local papers don't even have very large classified sections anymore, and even those ads all tell people to apply at so-and-so-.com and all that.

I can't be sentimental or dream too big right now, folks. I have to do what I have to do, barring a miracle of some sort.

Again, all my thanks, all the same. You are a wonderful, colorful and interesting bunch, to be sure.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 02:32 PM

Crowhugger, it's ONLY because of the grandkids that we even have what we have. My parents wouldn't take me in on my own right now for all the tea in China. My mother-in-law would refuse even faster.

As I mentioned earlier, I have a substantial and growing cataract in one eye. I also have an irregular heartbeat that I was born with. Every couple of years, when I have had to go have physical exams, the ol' ticker has freaked the doctors out. I always have to reassure them that I was born with it, I have never had any issues, and it is just what it is. They, however, always go about putting provisos on my commercial driving record letting everyone know about said heart condition.

I passed my last vision exam by the skin of my teeth. I am certain that I will not pass my next one, because my vision has markedly deteriorated since the last exam. I will then not only lose my commercial driver's license, I will also lose my standard driving privilege.

So, long story short, I wouldn't really be able to go back to the old line of work if I wanted to.

My other major experience is in security work, as a night watchman, etc. My abdominal hernias, heart issue and vision issue make those jobs untenable as well. I used to be able to lift up to 50 lbs (you are required to be able to lift in case of emergency situations), and you have to be able to stand for long periods of time. My hernias in my abdomen (the by-product of emergency appendix surgery years ago) put a lot of strain on my back because my posture is poor. I have to stand and walk out-of-whack to avoid putting any unnecessary strain on my abs.

The US Social Security Administration, however, has informed me that even though I cannot do the work I formerly did, I should just "go get" (their words) some non-existent jobs, like "sitting-down security guard" (their job title) or some such. Never mind that even a "sitting-down" guard, if they existed, would still have to stand, walk, run and lift in crisis situations. I'd also still have to be able to SEE clearly and be able to move and bend with ease, things I cannot do. All that aside, the SSA has decided that because they can IMAGINE what I COULD do, if it existed, then I must not be disabled, because they can think of jobs I'd be able to do. I should just "go get" THOSE jobs instead.

See what I am facing? I am damned if I do and if I don't. When I try to get jobs, my physical issues limit my marketability and my potential to the client. When I try to claim disability, I am told to go look for work that doesn't exist. The one thing I could do, make music or teach guitar or harmonica, requires gas to travel and instruments to play. Those instruments are "assets of value" and as such must either be sold or levied against the assistance we receive. If we did not receive the assistance via food stamps, we would have hundreds of dollars a month in food bills that we simply cannot afford by any stretch.

If I sell the gear locally, to the one store that buys used gear, I will get nowhere near what the gear is worth nor anywhere near the amount of money I need to offset the latest financial crisis deadline.


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Subject: Another approach
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 02:46 PM

Would this work:

    Wanted: Someone to technically own BBS' last 3 instruments...

    Qualifications:
    (1) The successful candidate can get the money to BBS in
    time to pay BBS' utilities by close of business Friday (or
    whatever the deadline is to prevent cut-off Saturday)
    (2) The successful candidate has no room for these
    instruments "yet" and so cannot permit them to be shipped until
    some date TBA in the future, and is able to provide a notarized
    letter to this effect.
    (3) The successful candidate is totally flexible about when
    s/he'll sell them back to BBS.

Or would this just piss off the social service people? In theory they shouldn't care as long as you don't own the asset. The question is, have they the right to decide what instruments you can borrow and for how long, or would you lose the house while appealing their decision? No point winning the war while living under the stars with no food or stove.

Well anyway it was a rather pleasant idea.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: MikeL2
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 02:58 PM

hi BBS

As some have said above living in the UK is different in some ways which helps in situations like the tragic one that you find yourself in.

For instance i too have cataracts, in both eyes but at the moment I can drive and my doctor has fixed up for me to go and have a consultation with a specialist to get them fixed. This is on the National Heath and will cost me nothing.


However I do agree with Will. Over the years I have played anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere in order to perform my music. Almost all of the time I really enjoyed and and it kept the bank manager happy.

Several years ago I developed throat cancer and was forced to give up performing. ( I am a singer/guitarist).

I found it terribly frustrating not to be able to do the thing that I loved most of all. However I chose not to sell my instruments and equipment. I saw that this was a positive way to give my some help in beating the dreaded big C.

I was lucky as I did not have your financial situation but at that time money was not important - it was my health that mattered.

I was lucky my throat responded to the harsh treatment and gradually, ever so gradually I got myself back to thinking positively.

I decided that performing in public was not for me any more. But I picked up my guitar and started to play for myself. At first singing was out but again gradually my throat improved. It is not anything like it was but now I play and sing to the family and I enjoy that.

I also teach a group of interest young students who can't afford tp pay for professional lessons. I don't get paid, the pleasure for me is pay enough.

I wish you well in your endeavors and wish that I could hep in some way.

Cheers

Mikel2


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:09 PM

Is your wife able to work? Is she working?

Are either of you veterans? Probably not or you could have tied into their health system.

If you did not have the health problems, I would move back to the better state if I had a job lined up. Can you contact former employer and say I can no longer drive but do you need a scheduler or something????

You could, again without health problems, do what others have done before and leave family in one area and work in another..horrib le option but could be short-term.

How many kids and how many bedrooms? Could you rent out a room?

If your wife is not working, I suggest she focus her energies on looking for work. Men, even in the best of health, get very demoralized..it seems worse than some women..and often women find the job first that will tide them over. Home school could be done by you or you could analyze that situation and send the kids to school, for free lunch if nothing else. mg


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:17 PM

Crowhugger, that is one excellent idea!

Now needs someone in the area to step up to the plate!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:22 PM

"I passed my last vision exam by the skin of my teeth. I am certain that I will not pass my next one, because my vision has markedly deteriorated since the last exam. I will then not only lose my commercial driver's license, I will also lose my standard driving privilege.
So, long story short, I wouldn't really be able to go back to the old line of work if I wanted to."

Did you see this? If not you probably aught to look up the link VirginiaTam supplied:

Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 01:42 PM

Mission Cataract USA offers free cataract surgery for of all ages who cannot get the surgery under Medicare or Medicaid.

http://www.missioncataractusa.org/index.php?n=1&id=1


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: meself
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 03:30 PM

Am I the one confused, or is there some confusion in this thread? I got the impression from BBS's posts that his own children are the 'grandchildren' in question, and that he moved to be closer to the grandparents of his children. The rest of the world seems to think that it is BBS who is the grandparent, and is interpreting his experience on that basis .... BBS, can you clarify (or not, as you feel)?

You seem to feel that busking is little more than glorified begging - if you go at it with that assumption, you're going to find it a depressing experience. If, on the other hand, you can convince yourself that it is a valid way to earn a bit of money, then you may find it worthwhile.

If you have been doing home-schooling with your kids, you may want to consider offering tutoring services for other kids/parents. Slap an ad up on Kijiji and see what happens.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:04 PM

MY parents are the grandparents. I'm WAY too young to be a grandpa yet! :)

No, I don't think busking is glorified begging... in fact, I got lots of notoriety back years ago by being a rather popular busker. I was just having a little pity-party just then. There was, however, no cake, and fat people never stay at parties with no cake, so I split from the pity party a while ago.

There have been a FLOOD of responses, both in threads and in PMs; please don't be offended if I don't reply in either way just yet. I have a LOT of reading to do!

Thanks, all.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:15 PM

How nice to have the "problem" of too many people caring!

LL, that link from VTam is brilliant...gosh, wouldn't that be the cat's pyjamas?!


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: GUEST,Frug
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 04:25 PM

BBS
You probably need a longer term solution however in the short term why not try "passing the jug" at open mike nights?? Also if you do originals a simple home made sampler CD sold at open mikes and whilst out busking might bring a few dollars and would put you out there! Could you give music lessons? On a more long term basis....retraining for something? but sorting the cataracts if it could be done is clearly a priority.

Good Luck

Frank


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 05:16 PM

Frug... innnnteresting. Very, very interesting.

Thanks!

Oh, believe me, once I get some of these issues sorted out, there'll be some changes made, as the old son goes!

You people make me smile. Really, ya do.

To All Of You - Jimmie Rodgers said it best...


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: jonm
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 05:31 PM

From experience, if you absolutely have to sell something musical, sell amplification, mikes and "gear" - these are easier to replace when times get better without such a sense of loss (most of this sort of gear is mass-produced and doesn't mature with age) and also easier to borrow if, for example, you do some playing for a church group and then ask to borrow the amplification for a non-church gig.

If you have time on your hands, busking always helps. It reconnects you with why you play, what you play and the effect you have on the one man and his dog who actually stop and listen. Additional income is incidental but welcome.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 05:41 PM

PM me with your contact info and I will see if anyone in my industry is hiring there


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: JohnH
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 06:03 PM

Answer to Q. When you are dead!


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Lox
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 06:17 PM

Well I say NEVER give up.

One way or anotherm choose the road that allows you to be yourself in all your radiant spectrum of colours and characteristics.

You owe it to yourself and those who love you.

Its natural to feel sorry for yourself, but only so long as it takes for you to listen to your soul and take stock of what it needs.

Then you have to look around and find that stuff.

Good Luck.


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Subject: If there's a guitar available to borrow...
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 06:25 PM

BBS, if there's a guitar you can borrow, it won't hurt to let everyone you meet know that you do special occasions like baptisms, anniversaries, family barbecues, engagement parties, business luncheons, Rotary or Lions club dinners. Give them a choice of professional performance, campfire style sing-along, or background music (hey a gig is a gig at this point).

My a cappella quartet finds itself well received at retirement residences where we do performances with a sing-along segment. Even some government-run places (read: near-zero entertainment budget) are willing to scrape together our full fee from other budget lines because the residents love us.

My point of course is not mainly to share my pride in this (although it's nice to do that) but to bring your attention to this pleasant non-bar gig market: We've been tld by RR staff that there are a lot of bad karaoke singers passing themselves off as entertainment for these retirement homes, so (if you can borrow a guitar) why not try what we did: Make a 1-minute demo mp3 (we used 5 to 10 second excerpts from several well-known songs, cross-faded, put our best ones last, recorded just on handheld mp3 voice recorder). We send this out with our inquiry e-mails; you of course will limit your enquiries to locations you CAN afford to drive to. If they know up front that you sound better than what theyve had before, they'll book you in a second. At least they do here in the Toronto area, knock on wood it continues.

We just started giving out business cards (large print for RRs) during our meet & greet time with the audience after our performances. We tell them we love to do both family and business occasions; so far one booking from such chat but it's a start at diversifying. Rather than pay for cards you might prefer to use 1/3 or 1/4 of letter page as a mini-flyer, so you can produce as few or many as you need only as you need them.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Genie
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 06:33 PM


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Genie
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 06:33 PM


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Genie
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 06:33 PM


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Mary Katherine
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 09:50 PM

Keep your best-loved guitar. Use it to TEACH. Teach beginners their first chords, teach kids, teach whoever. Put a 3x5 card up at the nearest market, church bulletin board, wherever. Get hold of the music dept. or music teacher at your local middle school and high school. "Half hour private guitar lessons, any level, $25. Call xxx-xxxx." You can do it at home, and it keeps you doing music, which you clearly love, even though not on the level you are capable of. In two hours a day you can make $200, if you can work your way up to four students a day. Best of luck, don't give up.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 10:07 PM

MK, and everyone: BBS cannot keep the guitar unless it will earn him at least as much as he'll lose in social assistance: The State views it as an asset that must be liquidated and spent before the State will offer to kick in anything. BBS says there aren't enough gigs within affordable driving distance, and he should know. I would suggest that a new teacher in a depressed economy will need time he doesn't have to build up a clientele. Not that he couldn't choose to start down that path, if only the State would provide him with food stamps + utility payments AND let him keep his guitar. But it's against their rules. It's a nasty, nasty rock vs hard place he's between.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Big Ballad Singer
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 10:51 PM

Crowhugger, that's a very succinct and accurate summation of my situation.

See, the problem here is that there's almost always a highly disproportionate value placed on ANYTHING that might suggest to the Social Services Board that their assistance is not really necessary in a supplicant's case.

They'd rather tell me that my $125 guitar is an impediment to their helping me, because, after all, if I can afford a guitar that cost $125, then I must not need that extra $125 a month in food stamps. Their policies allow them to assume that whatever assets we have must have been bought new, or that we must have some other channel through which we are able to get such nice things. They inform us that if we have any resources for these "luxuries", then we must not need their assistance.

I'm working on figuring out how to maximize exposure for my guitar and harmonica teaching, and I am going to hit some familiar street-corners to do some busking soon, when the weather cooperates.

Thanks, all, again, for the encouragement and advice.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 26 Jul 11 - 11:43 PM

BBS, do you happen to know if the State social assistance office would insist someone sell their gently used leather couch in favour of a cloth one? It would be interesting to know where they draw the line. Such a thing in comparable condition would net far more money than your guitar. But if a leather couch doesn't have to be traded in on something cheaper, I'd start to suspect the State of systematic or bureaucratic discrimination on the basis of your profession. Would a mechanic have to sell their tools if there wasn't an immediate job opening in that capacity? The State's behaviour really has the odor of bureaucrats run amok, HOWever, arguing with those who have dug in their heels--especially when they hold the purse strings--is a losing proposition, innit.


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: mg
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 12:22 AM

One of the best places for employment, although poorly paid employment, is in elder care of some sort. Going from house to house checking on them..being male is apparently a problem even with older males..most people it seems prefer women..but there are undoubtedly some who need checking and not heavy lifting..it sounds like you have experience from your driving position, and also checking on their security at home ..you have the security experience. Also, you could sing them an occasional song. Catholic Charities often hires people. Except some discrimination as a male unfortunatley. Perhaps you and your wife, if she does not ahve a job already, could tag-team. And with a better financial base, you could still give lessons and get the occasional gig, specializing perhaps like Genie does in nursing homes.

If ss or whatever does not know about a guitar, I would give it to a friend for now and get it back later.

I also would question the homeschooling too. For one thing, it would get you and your wife out of the house and available to go to interviews, training classes, etc..and it would get the kids away from an environment that is highly anxious, worried..family stuff from inlaws..it would give them a few hours a day in an atmosphere with hopefully some sports, and counseling if they need it (and the school still has counselors)..some social support, perhaps a school nurse (if they still have nurses), and of course the free lunch. That is one less meal to cook or prepare. Is it philosophy, religion, or what that makes you stick to homeschooling? Don't have to answer of course ..could be safety of children in chaotic schools..but most children do OK in public schools, and soemtimes it is the healthier option. Like someone said, you can supplement whatever education they get there. mg


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Subject: RE: When is it time to 'call it a day'?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 27 Jul 11 - 01:44 AM

Move to Oregan.

They have a program

It is much better than going it alone.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Tu plonges dans la pensée de la nuit.
Tu dois réveiller mon coeur. Jusqu'à la fin de la lumière. ...


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