Stay Childish and Be Curious

As a busker, I spend a lot of my time sat down, in the middle of the high street, and often I people watch. It’s fascinating, catching snippets and creating stories of someones life; what are they doing, where are they going and what kind of person are they. This beginning almost opens up a hundred different avenues to go down and write about. But I want to write about the children that I see from a fly-on-the-wall perspective.

Children are curious, they’re creative and they’re just so amazed by the things that surround them. When they see someone playing music on the streets, their reaction is interesting to watch;

“look at that guitar man!”,
“look Mum, what’s he doing?”,
“whoaw, two guitars!”,
“wat u doinnnnnn?!”,
“what is that you are playing?”,
“can I have a go?”,
“my Daddie plays guitar!”,
“I play piano, and I’m really really good, I can play twinkle twinkle star, can you play twinkle twinkle star?”…

Their excitement just to run up and say exactly whats on their mind is wonderful, like they’re running towards you holding this colourful water balloon that pops and explodes into words, questions and wonder. Sometimes they’ll get really close to the ‘stage’ and just stare intensely, like they’re amazed but haven’t learnt how to react to it just yet. At times, this is the first live musical experience the child is having – how amazing is that? A human, a tiny and new to this world human has yet to discover where music comes from. Perhaps they’ve seen it on a screen before, but not yet in real life. That first experience of seeing live music, must be incredible, absolutely incredible. I can’t quite remember my first time experiencing live music, but I remember as a child I would always be amazed watching my Dad play chords on the guitar. The fact that this thing, this wooden strange shaped thing, would create such a cool sound, what the fridge?!

There’s a lesson to be learnt by children, a lesson I feel people neglect at times. But this lesson of showing curiosity. As following your curiosities leads you down incredible and life-changing paths. To ask questions about everything in life, “What are wasps actual purpose other than to annoy the hell out of us?”, “What would happen if I hung upside down and painted this forest that I see?”, “Where does that off-road path lead?”, “What if I just packed in this job I hate and move to Canada and work in a cafe?” etc etc. I could list a billion questions as there’s an infinite things to be curious about in this world and within our minds, but I don’t want to spend all of time writing questions, I want to spend all of time exploring my curiosities – “What would happen if I write daily blog posts and send them to magazines, companies etc? Could I turn it into a job?” (my current curiosity).

Elizabeth Gilbert writes in ‘Big Magic’, how following your curiosity is more important than following your passion. That you should learn to ask the questions that lead you onward. Each footstep being a new question, each question leading you closer to a new discovery, each discovery gifting you new knowledge, each bit of knowledge building further understanding of this world, then ultimately understanding which bit of the world you want to fit into, which job you want to pursue, which person to love, where to live etc. Curiosity takes you down this wonderful path, a path of growth and knowledge.

Children seem to have this skill of curiosity. I don’t have children of my own, I wish to one day, but I have younger siblings, and their curiosities fascinate me greatly. The way in which they word questions at times;
“Where are you going to live tomorrow? then where are you going to live next week?” – my little sister Emily asked as I was hugging goodbye, both leaving Forest of Dean, Emily leaving with the family back to Worcestershire, me leaving towards Cardiff. Perhaps the way in which a question is asked is different to curiosity, but it sits within context to how creative a child’s mind is. That process in her mind of, ‘James visits lots of different places, so where does he live? does he move house all the time?’, it’s her curiosity to understand something by just asking the question that comes to mind. Sometimes I feel as adults we get too worried about just asking a question, the fear of looking a fool or being judged by another, but you shouldn’t live in fear of what others think of you, otherwise you’ll never get to express yourself fully – just be you! Because YOU are you for a reason, we’re each different and unique, we all matter, YOU matter!

Following the curiosity of a child’s curiosity asking questions, I’ve started doing it more. Spending time in hostels, passes you by lots of people, all with interesting stories and knowledge to share, different views on the world, with great conversations and discussions to have. There was a stage in my life where I was too afraid to ask someone a question, so I would just presume the answer myself, which often lead to me being anti-social, feeling alone and sometimes depression would peep into my mind, “alone are ya? feeling like you can’t speak to anyone? yep, you can’t, alone forever, no one wants to hear your voice, sorry, that’s just the way it is” (now through the act of daily training in self-love and meditation, I stand up and push that awful voice away). I only wish I’d got the courage to ask people questions sooner, but it’s all a growing process.

Now when I walk into a hostel room and see someone, I’ll ask them a question about their presence here, unless their in meditation position sat on the kitchen table – don’t disturb their peace. But it leads to a wonder of conversations and I’ll always come out with new knowledge, they know the land better and can direct me to a cool place to visit, or they’ll share an interesting book to read or musician to check out, or suggest an idea with my personal travels. This curiosity has filled my journals with interesting entries and made my days so much better. Recently driving quite late to a hostel, I was feeling a little low and just wanted to shut off from the world, but to check into the hostel I had to walk into the bar, and I had to interrupt a group conversation, “where you heading dude?…awesome! Why? ….oh really you’re a busker? …I used to be too …yeah I travelled all over” = cool conversation that pulled me from the darkness my mind was brewing.

What I want to leave you with, is that – to follow your curiosities, to go on a life long epic quest to find the answer to all those questions that come into your mind from some place either internal or external. To ask a stranger why he’s shouting poetry on top of a phone-box (oh Theo, I do hope you’re okay). To ask the world where you should go. To ask yourself the deep questions inside, to ask questions to help you understand yourself more. To follow your curiosity in a career or university course. Trust me (or don’t, that’s cool, chances are we haven’t met), when you start following your curiosities it’ll take down some amazing paths, it’ll bring amazing people into your life, it’ll make you feel amazing and it’ll make you thirst for more questions and more knowledge. It’ll also help you discover what you do and don’t like, where you want to and don’t want to be, who you do and don’t want to spend your time with.

Curiosity + Action = Adventure & Growth

I do fear that some parents are shutting out curiosity within their children, like it’s a bad thing to be curious. I see and hear it a lot, a child will be trailing behind their Mum who is focused deeply on moving forwards and scrolling their phone simultaneously, “Mum! look at that man playing guitar! look Mum, Look!”, the Mum responding after the child shouts this 3 or 4 times, doesn’t look back at the child “Come on, hurry up, stop being slow!” – maybe the Mum is actually being slow here? Where the child wants to follow curiosity?
I’ve seen this scenario many times, now I don’t know the situation or the people, so I can’t make judgement on them, they could be rushing to drive somewhere super important. But from the body language of the parent I fear they get annoyed to often at their young for being curious. Is it so bad to ask questions? The child has sometimes pulled their parent to turn around, but they just shut down the child’s curiosity. Or the parent will drag the child away quickly, in fear that the busking man will infect them with a creative outburst – oh dam not that bug!

Look at this;

This little girl, Freda is just incredible, her Mum too. This is why curiosity is so important, because it makes us do wonderful things like this, it makes us happy! Look how happy she is just jumping about making up dance moves! If her dancing doesn’t make you smile, then…..


Thank you for reading my words and follow this journey.

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

Join my Patreon Page – https://www.patreon.com/chatfield/posts

My TEDx talk – https://youtu.be/Eu-KJ1Z10Fk

Have a great day!

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Motivation from Stationary Future Thinkings

They say its motivating to picture your dream life 5 years from now. But I feel its much more moving and powerful to picture yourself 5 years from now not having jumped for those dreams, not having quit that job you dislike, not having gone after that person you felt romantically towards, not having taken a leap of faith towards those ideas running wild in your mind, not having developed the skills you have. Just staying still in the routines and places you are currently in. When I visualise that, it freaks me out and motivates me to move forwards in so many ways, to develop myself as a person, to bring life to the ideas and goals I have inside, to take leaps towards romance, to travel new places and to experience new things.

If imagining that makes you content and happy, then that is amazing, and I’m truly happy for you! Happiness is so important. But if you picture that life and don’t like what you see. Then I emplore you to take a leap of faith, to not give in to fear, to continue and continue growing into the person you wish to be. We live every day, not just once. Each day is a new beginning if you so wish to allow it to be, each day opens new doors to learn and experience new things, each day allows you to connect with strangers and to meet new people. So take a stand towards the dreams and goals you have, give them life, step by step you’ll change your world and ultimately the entire world.

To have followed my gut instinct and quit a retail job I disliked 3 years ago has been one of my best moments. I look back and wonder who I’d of been if I didn’t just jump, if I stayed. Just grateful I did jump. This journey has been amazing so far, it hasn’t always been easy. Loneliness is the biggest enemy and at times quite a painful feeling. But the joy I feel to busk and share good energy on the streets to strangers is worth those moments of pain. There are a lot of things I wish to be and wish to have, but those things come with time and patience. Time and patience is something that I’ve learnt to have, they’re important, patience especially is so important.

Be kind to others and be kind to yourself!

Thank you for reading my words and follow this journey.

Download music here; – chatfield.bandcamp.com

Find me on Facebook and Instagram – @basschatfield

Subscribe to my YouTube – www.youtube.com/user/BassJamesUK

Have a great day!

You’re an Actual Miracle – Quick Busking Documents – 11th May 2018

Whilst I was playing a man came over and asked;
“How old are you?”
“24”
“I just lost my boy at 25, he would of absolutely loved this music, this is from him”
I was lost for words, his loss hit me really hard, and throughout that busk and still now I can’t stop thinking about that. To lose your own child at such a young age, must be a pain unimaginable. It hit me hard as well because I turn 25 this year, making me realise how soon a life can end. Such a young age, there was so much more his son still had to give and explore.
This makes me think about life way more, and the fact it can end unexpectedly and death is unfortunately inevitable.
To live it to the full and live it the way you want to, there is only one chance at this life, one chance to make your own legend. The odds of being alive are – 4 Trillion to 1, which technically makes each individual is a miracle – you, yes you are a walking miracle. So take all the light within you and shine it bright so the world can see, give this world everything you have, go all the way with your dreams and goals, take every moment as a chance to enjoy this life you have. Enjoy each moment, cherish everything you have and be grateful for all the tiny details of your life, for this moment right now could be one of your last.
Don’t stop shining your light!
Take fucking control of your own path and do everything you ever dreamed of!
You’re a miracle, an actual miracle, so live life to the complete full!
I wish you all the best!
Love,
James.

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One Man Band, Progression, 2 Months In

One thing I feel I’ve been doing recently is overthinking things, in a negative and nonconstructive way. I feel I haven’t given myself time to look at the progression I’ve made and congratulate myself for it. This feeling has definitely been a reoccurring theme that has propped up in conversations and, a tarot reading. And from this I’ve been taking more time out for myself, to meditate, journal and reflect on the progression and journey I’ve recently made – this new project with multiple instruments.
Just looking back at the first blog post I wrote about this made me smile a lot. My first step into this was on the 18th December 2017, so it’s been just over 2 months, I feel like I’m at 5% of where this can go. What I envision for this is way beyond what I feel capable of, but I know I’ll reach it with persistence and a strong vision. It’s a vision that changes day by day as I discover new music and draft new ideas. But I do need to start giving myself credit for the small victories and, relax dude, chill the fudge out! So, well done James, you’re doing alright, don’t stop you’ll get there!

Below – a recording of night busking with the guitar and bass, it’s a 20 minute jam improvising around the ideas I had at the time. I’ve been uploading more audio sessions to YouTube, as a way to track my progression and to give my audience wider content adding more depth to my journey. I love recordings like this because the street ambience is out of my control, so there are these interesting little sounds that crop up.
January 11th 2018

A month into this, I picked up my first gig in Worcester, Cap n Gown. This gig came from a Facebook friend messaging me after watching my progression through regular videos, giving me the gig opportunity (Which is why I encourage you to document your progression with online content, every day, if not as often as you can. It brings so many opportunities and people love watching you progress). It was a 30 minute slot, so I got writing more and started attending more open mics to boost my confidence on stage. Here’s a video from that gig – January 18th 2018 – We’ll Go Anywhere, lyrics written about how I desire to take certain people in my life to see the world. It’s not my best performance, which has been clear as I’ve used this as a reference when approaching venues/promoters and I’ve been shut down frequently, ah well! That ain’t gonna stop me!

As a massive fan on improvising and collaborating with people, I started taking this new set-up out of solo performances and explored it with other musicians. This video below being my first go at it, which is now one of my favourite collaboration pieces I’ve taken part in. It’s also featured on a recent album on BandCamp – Here – Which is an album full of collaborations with some very creative and inspiring musicians who happen to be some of my closest friends! So this collaboration features two incredible musicians, Dan James Griffin and Kimberley Frezel! January 20th 2018

And from this I’ve also been collaboration with this set-up in Sounds of Zephyr – which is a whole blog post and journey in itself. Lots more of that stuff to come! We’ve been planning some exciting things! Here’s the latest busking session we’ve had in Market Harborough. In this you’ll see that I’ve got a shaker hanging from my guitar, which probably looks ridiculous, but, set-up expansion will be explained!

So! Set-up expansion. I never saw myself becoming a one-man band when I first stepped into music, and I never thought that the guitar/bass/vocal set-up would expand. But then I met Anders Flanderz whilst busking in Liverpool for the weekend. He approached me whilst busking the first night I was there, and was really interested in my set-up, gave me loads of great tips on busking in Liverpool, telling me the best spots and times to play. Then I met up with him to share a busking spot the next day and saw his ridiculously crazy instrument attire. The things he was doing was crazy complex, playing 10 instruments at once, using all limbs and putting on such a fantastic performance, really taking the covers he played to whole new realms. He opened my eyes to multi-instrumental set-ups and suggested I should expand with foot percussion and vocal effects. So I took advantage of my friends (Connor Di Leo)’s drum kit, (whose house I was staying at during my Liverpool trip) and added some drums – here is the result.

So then I was like, I can do this, and I can add more and really work on this! So I got a glockenspiel – which takes me to my current set-up now;

I’m sure I’ll be updating my progression on this blog more. I’m sure I’ll be adding more instruments and try experimenting doing silly things. There’s lots of room for expansion and I have lots of ideas drawn out in my journals and I really think there could be something good come from all of this madness. So yeah! Keep sticking around, follow me on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and you’ll get to see/hear way more stuff on a regular basis!

Thank you for reading this post!

Check out my latest music – chatfield.bandcamp.com/album/liverpool-grooves-bass-looping-with-drums

If you want to help me on my journey then you can purchase my music (above) with whatever money you think it’s worth! Every little really helps out a lot, it keeps me alive and keeps the progression going! I really appreciate everything that you do and it warms my heart to know that my music makes people smile!

Follow your heart and keep being your true self! Don’t let anyone stop you following your dreams! You’ll get their, you’re a beautiful and wonderful human!

Lots of love,

James x