Here we are back again as the second week of self-employment clocks up and I start to get into the detail of where my focus is going to be in my work and more broadly in my life.

S02 EP02 – week ending 2 December 2018

This week has been one of conversations and re-connecting – and it’s been absolutely brilliant to commit to that and it’s definitely something I want to carry with me into the New Year. And while I could have done without the delays and other downsides of travel it was great to pack up a box of Reckless Yes stock and head first to Manchester and then Glasgow this week.

There’s plenty going on with Reckless Yes at the moment and this week has been the build up to a big announcement for LIINES that they’ll be joining Sleaford Mods on a 32-date tour across England and Wales next spring. Meeting up in Manchester this week allowed us to get ready for that announcement but also start to put plans in place for 2019 and how we build from the release of their debut earlier this year.

The band are the epitome of the long hard slog it takes to look like an overnight success and it’s such a pleasure to see them reaping rewards for the efforts they’ve put in, and an honour to be supporting them as manager and label. There’s more news to share before the year is out as well as a final gig when they open for Slow Readers Club (another band who’s DIY approach is paying off for them) at the 02 Apollo in Manchester and in the background this means plenty of social media, press and planning between us as a team.

I was less than 24 hours in Glasgow but it was a time packed with good conversations. First it was great to catch up with David Grindlay, especially about the work he’s been doing to with Queen Margaret’s University with the 50th anniversary of their student’s union. He’s been delving into the musical history of the place and some of the iconic bands who’ve played their and his love and enthusiasm for the musical heritage of Glasgow was really inspiring. Not only that but he’s continuing to do good stuff in local government – brilliant chat and can’t wait to hear more about his work and efforts.

It was also great to meet with Ian Smith from Last Night From Glasgow – a fellow independent record label with an ethical stance toward artists and fans, an infectious enthusiasm for the acts on their roster, and a fearless approach to doing things differently. It was enthusing and invigorating to find another label with a similar mindset (and I’d love to find and talk to more!) and to talk collaboration rather than competition. They’ve some great stuff planned for 2019 so do check them out – and a big thanks to them for reppin’ us at their Independent Label Pop-Up Market too.

The travel time was good for one thing – thinking space. I’ve been considering which projects might have come to their end for me, and which need more space to grow. I’ve also been getting deeper into various parts of what we do as a label including thinking about distribution, about future releases and how to best offer these for artists and fans, and also getting a bit geeky about the data we get as a label and understanding what this really tells us. As it’s end of year I’ve also been reflecting on the past 12 months and what we’ve achieved – mostly this has allowed me to be grateful for the family we are at Reckless Yes and the community we’re a part of.

This week has also been about staying committed to some personal goals – I’ve been out running, I’ve spent time with friends and lots of time with family. I even spent some time reading while I was on the train (John Wyndham – The Trouble With Lichen. One of my favourite writers but I’m struggling to make time to really indulge myself as I’d like to with this one) and also writing about new music I’m loving right now. Reviews will be out next week on Get In Her Ears and Drowned in Sound but in the meantime give this playlist a follow as I’ve still plenty more to add.

What’s next?

Next week is about getting my head down into content creation, setting up processes and getting logistics in place for my business, Noble and Wild. There’s been lots of work going on over quite a long amount of time and this week is the time it will all start coming together into something I can share and – more importantly – a place from which I can deliver.

There’s also some more work to be done ahead of announcements from Reckless Yes and again a lot of background work on structures and processes to enable the plans we have for next year. It’s an exciting time but also that point at which dreams coalesce into plans, and the idea becomes something tangible, where discovery moves to definition and that transition can sometimes feel and look a bit bumpy.

There’s more conversations and connections in the diary too – I’ll be working from Dubrek once this week and can’t wait to catch up with folk there and enjoy a coffee and undoubtedly be played some ace music while I work.

I’m also looking forward to the annual Comms2Point0 UnAwards – I love returning as a former Lifetime Achievement winner and hearing about the amazing work happening across local government and the public sector as well as being treated to a festive film after catching up with former colleagues and those committed to creating better public services.

I’ll be continuing with The Self Love Summit / Mel Wells Advent Challenge over on Instagram. It’s a great way to reflect on the year, note down the good stuff, and think about how to build on it in 2019. Give me a follow and join in by tagging #AdventChallenge.

I’m in Derby, Birmingham and Doncaster this week – if you’re around any of those places and fancy a chat get in touch and let’s see if we can make it work.