On Friday, whilst I was feeling miserable with a streaming cold, and heading out the door to the Carol Concert at Salisbury Cathedral, I received a message, via Facebook:
“Been going through all your posts for Ben and you don’t seem to be getting anything. I think the reason is why would people want to spend money on this as you have no cause, other than just for Ben’s own mega stardom? I think you need to push your charity more than Ben, this isn’t about Ben this is for charity as no one is going to support someone they don’t know so I think you have got the angle all wrong….. What do you think? And I also think it’s starting to look desperate rather than tactical.”
Ouchie – I have to confess it did sting a bit. Maybe, because I was feeling so godamn rough, and was heading out of the door; but I felt it was a bit harsh.
But the truth is this. I am just making it up as we go along. Ben wrote the song, and Ant produced it, and we could publish it so we did. Somebody said, ‘it should be Christmas number one’ so then I created the hashtag #BenUKXmasNo1. I knew how to put it out there, and so, I did. I wanted to give Ben a break because I am proud of his song and I think it’s incredible that he wrote something so dark and poignant,and relevant to our existence. I figured, sometimes, you might just catch a break, and then who knows what will, and can, happen. Ben believes in his song, and I grew up in a household of cynical, negative adults, who called themselves ‘pragmatists’. I have been swimming to the light against their tide of doubt ever since. I will support my children and help them in any way I can, and I will also help myself.
But ask yourself this – why should music producer Anthony Clark work for free? Why should Ben work for free? Why should I work for free?
Why should we give our content away? Do you work for free? Does your utility provider give you free energy? Do you expect the supermarket to give you free shopping?
For me – it’s not about mega bucks, but it’s about acknowledging that music production, songwriting, promotion, management, or any other creative outlet, isn’t something that we should expect to be given away for free. It’s not about mega stardom – Ben is 10 years old and he WROTE the song from his heart. It’s good and it’s catchy. I think that should be acknowledged. This situation was not designed. It was a ‘carpe diem’ – ‘why not, let’s just do it moment.’ Why because we could and, therefore, we did.
If you want to support Ben and SSAFA – a charity the supports military families then please buy Ben’s song:
Alternatively – google Messed Up World by Ben Macnaughton and you’ll find it.
I do appreciate that it is annoying to have someone push their products down one’s throat; but if I don’t fight my work, and I don’t have the budget to buy in the love, then nobody else is going to stand in my corner. 2013 has taught me that this can be a lonely path because going against the tide and having these difficult conversations is alienating. This is partly because following your own path can be a lonely path. At the same time, seeking the protection of the herd can also prevent forward progress. I am going to continue to forge my own path because then at least I will know that I gave it my best shot.
I am not going to lie to you that since Hagar was arrested in 2010, and acquitted in 2012, I have been through an emotional mangle. Trust doesn’t come easy anymore. I am still getting burnt. Humans can be cruel. I refuse to give up and refuse to stop forging my own path. Even in the face of the naysayers. I know that it would be easier if I could just let my little self published book die, but I can’t because I believe in it. I wish that I could give up on my son’s song, but I can’t because I believe in it, and I believe in him.
2013 has been a year of closure. Lots of real life chapters have closed and I have hope for the future. My children are happier. They are settled and more confident. They are cheeky and funny. It’s such a relief. The stress of the war is fading in their memories and they are behaving like children who haven’t lived with military craziness.
Hagar and I are still separated, with no plans to change the status quo in the future. We are working together to raise our children. He has a very busy year next year and will barely be around anyway so to be honest what difference does it make.
My column in the Salisbury Journal draws to a close next week, which gives me some time to do more work here in my writing home.
In 2014 I am not planning to stop, in fact I am planning to try even harder:
The plans for 2014 are:
1.) Go limited. I think the time has come to become a limited company. I am looking for a business partner and investor to join me. (Timeframe: Jan/feb)
2.) Release 2nd edition of A Modern Military Mother – Tales from the Domestic Frontline and donate some of the royalties to local charity Louie’s Smiles and SSAFA (Timeframe: Mar/Apr)
3.) Keep plugging Ben’s Song (Timeframe: Forever)
4.) Release French translated version of A Modern Military Mother – Tales from the Domestic Frontline (Timeframe: May)
5.) Write the stage play of A Modern Military Mother – Tales from the Domestic Frontline (Timeframe: Production Sept)
6.) Speaker engagements – I have 5 Women’s Institute bookings during 2014
7.) A regular, weekly, Real Life blog – with all the latest news.
When I am ready, and not before, I will write the next book but to be honest, I am not going to do it until I have kicked the arse out of the first book. These words don’t come easy; they are raw and they come from the heart. The war ends next year, although it won’t really end but the media will talk about it less and the fighting will be quieter to the UK population. But this time in war fighting history is significant and it shouldn’t stop being examined from both sides of the conflict; at home and away.
Business Consultancy: Cardio Comms Courses
One of the challenges I have faced living in a remote, rural part of Wiltshire is finding consultancy work. In 2014 I will be running marketing communication workshops for small to medium businesses to help them address the marketing needs. I can also offer marketing audits to help identify how to improve customer engagements in the modern, digital age so you get more bang out of your marketing buck.
If you want to know things such as:
1.) What is PR?
2.) Can PR work for me?
3.) What is the difference between Facebook, Twitter and blogging?
4.) How do I plan a successful integrated marketing campaign?
Or alternatively, if you would like a bespoke course to suit any specific communication challenges then I can tailor make a course just for your business.
For more information on my “Cardio Comms Courses”
Please contact me: