And I quote: History of the phrase; Prior to electronic counter measures, military aircraft would fly beneath the Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) in order not to be detected by enemy forces. This term started out as a military phrase in the 1950’s. Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com
This is a feeling that I have a lot as an artist. Fame and art. Being part of the underground.
Stay under the radar. Stay on the edge. Being on the edge.
I work with a lot of different people. In the last week I was working with a business woman. I could tell that she was a killer- one of those great business people, really driven and efficient. We began talking about vision. She told me something that I think all of us already know : the old ways of doing things do not work anymore. What is needed now are people who think differently. That there needs to be new ways of doing things. There is no longer any long term vision for any businesses now. What is needed now is flexibilty, ability to change.
Nobody controls anything. You have to let go.
So what does that mean to be under the radar ? It means that you are flying low to attack your enemy. I think of the underground. I think of the freedom that a lot of artists that I know have.
We are all flying under the radar. At the moment there is a state of emergency in France. Nobody wants to appear on the radar. Then we become an easy target. People are trying to imagine other spaces. People are trying to imagine other ways to do things. There is a general feeling that people are fed up with the old way of doing things.
It sounds big and complicated but it can be through very small things that you start doing new things.
Small changes at the beginning of a rocket’s trajectory become huge ones towards the end.
As an artist we can be lucky that we still have some control over our own trajectories. The old models (that were very prevalent in France before) big companies, big business no longer work the way they used to. Everybody is searching for what works.
So we all believe in the outsider having a chance. However, being under the radar is not only about someday, maybe, being “discovered”.
It can be about remaining under the radar, unseen. Staying on the edge.
Waiting. And most of all existing. Doing your thing because that is what you like. Flying low close to the sea, looking at yourself in the mirror.
Don’t get me wrong : it is not because you are undiscovered that you have more integrity. The time may come that you will be hauled into the glaring neon, the intrusive spotlight, and you’ll stammer and sell yourself down the river.
A lot of our work, of our pieces, come from under our own personal radars : our own radars of control. It is not external things but our own inner workings that we don’t let fly out. Luckily sometimes we do. Recently despite myself I’ve been letting things through my own radar. And some of it is so great. It is scary. I don’t recognise it.
I’ll be sharing some of this soon.
Short version : break out of your own recurrent patterns and ways of doing things. Change yourself and you change the world.
Have a good week and keep making things and connections.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Can you? Everyday? What do you see? What would you like to see?
P.S. Please buy the Zarboth album – those of you who have not and would like to buy it you can get a copy here: Zarboth
Yesterday evening we were all sitting down to dinner in our apartment. My family and I heard a skid and a bang. We live on a busy Parisian road and there are often accidents and mishaps. Most of the time its nothing serious. Often it ends with a bit of a shouting match. Then both injured parties make their seperate ways, snarling at one another over their shoulders.
Not a great day.
I had not been having a great day. I had woken up in a bad mood. I was thinking of all the things I should be doing, as an artist, as an “interesting person”. I had spent the afternoon wandering around trying to get something for one of my children. I did not really have any “me” time. I had woken up late as well and then had to bring one child to one birthday party and another one here and so on and so forth.
I was having one of those days where you compare yourself with everyone and everything around you and you come up short. It is an ugly emotion and you measure it up in bitterness. It made no sense to me. The day before I had hoped to go out and see a friend launch his album but that plan had fallen by the wayside. And here on Saturday I could see my evening disappearing as well.
It put me in a bad mood. I asked myself “why bother living in Paris if you can never go out and enjoy the city?”
This may explain why I was in a bad mood…
Then there was this bang. I looked out the window, a white car and a bicycle in the middle of the road. A cyclist had been hit by a car. The cyclist was standing so it didn’t look too bad. A young man was helping him. The cyclist himself was a young man. The driver was a young man too. In France, when you have an accident they get out a form that they fill out, each giving their version of the accident. The cyclist was not in a good way. They picked up the bicycle which was now in two pieces. I had not seen the accident. All I could see were three men around the cyclist. One of them seemed to be explaining everything to the cyclist. He had a large mobile phone and he was presumably calling the ambulance.
But, is the car OK?
Meanwhile, the driver of the little white car ran back and forth to his car. He got it off the road and parked it, then he looked at the front of the car, checking for damage where he had hit the cyclist. Everything must have been fine for his car : he could still drive it.
Then all the guys left except the original helpful young man who was with him right from the start. This all happened very quickly. I thought at first that the driver had gone to park the car. He had not. He never returned. None of the pushy young men with their phones returned. After they had left, the ambulance arrived.
Now, the cyclist, who had slumped to the ground, was surrounded by three ambulance men. They cut open his trousers. They put a special head brace around his head. I began to get worried for the poor cyclist. I began to wonder where the car had gone. They put the young cyclist onto a stretcher and pumped up a whole package around him. I imagine this was to get him to the hospital without getting too knocked around.
Good people and little problems
The first young man who had helped him right from the start was now filling out a form on the bonnet of a police car that had arrived. I was upset that I had not taken the licence plate of the car that had hit the cyclist. I began to think about my little problems and here was this cyclist on his way to his friends or who knows where, knocked down by these pushy people who had a such a busy important social life that they could not even wait to make sure that the cyclist that they had hit got proper medical care. I could not believe the erosion of the links between these humans.
Thankfully there was the young helpful man who had witnessed the accident and stayed there. As the seriousness of the situation became clear to him with the grave looks of the ambulance men he too became very upset. I have no idea what they said but I could read a lot of the body language from my window.
The first group, pushy, aggressive body language, worried only about themselves and clearly not the poor cyclist who slumped to the ground after they had left.
Going out on Saturday night
All of this to say, do whatever you like, you never know how so much can change in just one short instant. I can still see the young cyclists head, in a brace, surrounded by an inflatable protective cocoon, as they loaded him into the back of the ambulance. I could imagine him thinking of how he was supposed to go out on Saturday night.
The street was empty again. All that was left was a broken bike.
So, I was not in a great mood. I was doubting myself but then I was sent some of the latest recordings of Underpressure, the free rock group. Shortly after I received some recording of 11:11, another group I play in. These cheered me up.
Also Zarboth will be announcing dates (as soon as I finish the flyers!!!).