ONCE the routine things are out the way I try and work out why a form on a pal’s site isn’t passing all the info entered into the resulting email.

I dig about for a lot longer than I expect and come up with a workaround which seems to solve the main part of the problem.

There’s still a few anomalies. so when the client calls I arrange to pop over and see of there’s anything at their end that might be part of the problem.

We spend an hour and half sorting a few things out. It’s mid-afternoon when I get home and I haven’t even looked at today’s to-do list.

A rejection for a local (to Scotland) showcase opportunity we’d applied for – for the third or fourth time time at the request of the organisers – comes in. We filled out the ‘urgent’ application forms the day before leaving for the USA tour to they made the deadline only to get and email on the deadline date saying the deadline had been extended by a few weeks. This is a regular occurrence and pisses me off to say the least. We drop everything to get our application in on time but it brings no benefit – my, perhaps incorrect and paranoid – interpretation of this scenario is that the applicants the organisers want on board haven’t got their shot together. That’s the only explanation I can think of for ‘extending the deadline’.

The showcase event the application is for is around a week long and applicants have to be fee for the whole period. Mmmm…that might be fine for the majority of eligible artists/acts who have day jobs or other income, but for a full-time independent musician, this is a big ask. Nevermind, our choice to apply and if that’s the conditions, then that’s the conditions.

To cut a long story short, the selection of successful showcase artists and subsequent announcement was delayed three or four times as ‘the panel were having such a hard time making a decision’, Most recently an enquiry promised a decision last Monday…or Tuesday at the latest. So today, a week later, Margaret enquires again to be told an email would sent out later. Indeed, a ‘sorry, but your application hasn’t been successful’ arrives in her inbox an hour or two later. Can’t say I’m surprised.

Moral of the story? If you’re serious about your art/music, don’t waste time trying to attract funding or support – and certainly don’t delay other (real!) opportunities in the hope that it’ll come good. There’s no such thing as a free lunch and, in the long term, (unless you’re one of a lucky few) nothing but your own hard work will progress your career.

Bitter? Maybe.The funding bodies constantly support those ‘in the club’ – or whose face fits….it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with  being business ready, having proven potential and a track record achieved entirely through hard work and sacrifice…not through handouts, grants or funding. And to make matters worse, when the recipients of the funding fail to deliver, more funding and opportunity is thrown their way in a bid to justify the initial decisions!

And to add insult to injury, the majority of artists supported and funded in Scotland have been and gone with a year or two having achieved very little, or anything…back to their day job (if they ever left in the first place).

Unfortunately in Scotland – unlike the rest of the UK – there’s really only one gatekeeper to funding and showcase opportunities (including those outside Scotland..but that’s another story!)…so if your face doesn’t fit or your music is deemed unworthy you’re fucked as far as these chances are concerned.

Ah well….head down and get on with it. Just makes me all the more determined!

Dave Arcari is a full-time touring alternative blues (alt.blues) guitar player and songwriter 
based on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland