I’m sometimes obliged to list professional qualifications and affiliations. There are not many, but somehow I feel as though I should be able to reel off several sets of letters.
For one job interview last year I actually needed to renew my membership of a professional body to access information crucial to the application. I’m tired of being told I “need” to “establish” a professional network (by joining one). I have LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus and the art of conversation. The “training” provided by these people seems to vary widely in quality and nature, and aside from the insurance deals or being able to stick a cool logo on my piano flight case there seems little immediate benefit against all the money I would spend on membership.
I’m quite affronted by the membership fees some of these “guilds” charge, especially since it seems one needs only a logo and an original name to found one. In fact, there seems to be a quiet and ruthless trade in professional organisations which are named very much like their more famous and trustworthy counterparts but whose reputation is worth little more than the headed notepaper. This is without considering the rival factions which inhabit almost any creative activity with large membership. Morris dancing (I’m told) has three main groupings of affiliated members, each one quite certain the other two are a bit odd by comparison.
The only way to tackle lunacy this must be to found my own organisation.
So today I announce the incorporation of the Guild of Realistic Independent Musicians. The membership fee is nil. The membership responsibilities are nil. Membership comes with no material benefits. Membership confers no special status, although you can put GRIM after your name if you like. On your own head be it.
Ah, unless you want to be a Senior Fellow in high standing. Then it’s a large donation in cash to me and a robe to you. Also, a ceremonial trinket of some sort. It will probably have knobs on. This is an entirely optional but very prestigious membership package.
I haven’t time to invent a strange initiation ceremony. You can create your own funny handshakes. I just want to be in a club full of other people who make music because it’s fun and can see right through a blatant pitch for your hard earned money. This is the professional association for all those with less ambition – who know they’re going nowhere fast in terms of record deals, but don’t mind too much because they have other things in life to be happy about. I seem to have had no luck generating a daft coat of arms yet either. Sorry about that.
Our motto may as well be haec dolor me non oportet which translates roughly as “I don’t need this grief” and perfectly encapsulates what I’m trying to say about the “real” bodies out there.
The Guild Hall – Windsor – Guildhall directions sign by ell brown via Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ell-r-brown/3782877304/