…I am just about managing this.
I work as a freelance web designer and developer and I also run Schwein & Bad Ornament with a few close mates.
We’re a crew of DJs and artists and we host regular events in Leeds and a few further afield. This includes two residencies on the third and last Friday of the month.
I also run all the online stuff for our collective, regular website updates, social media etc. and make tunes.
I don’t watch TV.
I always find questions about your work-life balance difficult because I am pretty much always working if you count all the art and music stuff as work. But I love doing that and couldn’t imagine what else I’d do with my time.
Installing a database at 8am after a week of madness is not so fun though. But it’s important to stick to your schedule and try to get enough sleep.
Like I said, I’m just about managing it.
Our smallest events are at Whites, a small cafe bar in Headingley, just outside the centre of Leeds, in the midst of LS6 and student mayhem, but not a place for big crews of all-dayers in fancy dress.
We always joke that Whites are our ‘quiet ones’ because best laid plans and all that.
We’re there from 7 until midnight playing chilled eclectic stuff and disco, not like our Wire gigs where it’s full on madness until 5am and then afters raging until Tuesday – so I genuinely always think I’m going to have a quiet one.
When I was working full time for a company and trying to get stuff going as a freelancer I’d have work planned in for Saturday and I’d have to go to bed afterwards and that was painful, because Whites never is a quiet one. Sometimes the afters would be happening downstairs in my own house and it was horrible having to miss out.
During that time I was surprisingly dedicated to my plans and I would actually do as I planned, and after our nights on Fridays at Whites and 212 I’d go home to bed, do my work, and sometimes I’d join everyone again on Saturday night.
I think because I knew it was for a good cause and it wasn’t forever I got my head down and got on with it. It wouldn’t have been any good for long term though.
Also if I need to I can graft. Through sixth form and uni I worked loads and had every weird job under the sun. I have worked everywhere from a sleazy bar to a fish packing factory.
During the 8 months of two jobs I was up at 5 every morning, at work for 8 (so that I could leave early at 4), then going home and building websites for clients. Then at weekends I’d continue with my freelance work.
I had no time to mix, make tunes, paint and struggled with updating our own site.
It was grim.
I lived like that for about 8 months and managed not to go mad.
I made two exceptions to my self imposed regime, and I did both knowing that I didn’t have an instant deadline.
The first time was when my mate had come up from back home to join our line up. I’d not seen him and his girlfriend for a year and I knew they’d be expecting some madness afterwards and felt a bit bad knowing I’d have to tell them it wasn’t happening. I decided to stick to my guns though. They would understand.
I knew that it was going to be hard to have a quiet one about fifteen minutes after I got to Whites. This happened because my mate Toby turned up and as soon as he walked in he passionately kissed one of my co-residents, Tim, (he isn’t gay) and then walked up to the bar and asked me if I’d marry him when we were a bit older, if neither of us had found anybody else.
About an hour later I overheard my housemate inviting everyone in the bar back to ours and knew my plans were fucked.
The second time was a few weeks before I left my job. I had work planned in for Saturday, but it wasn’t urgent.
My friends Steve and Emma turned up and I’d not seen them for ages.
We have to take our own equipment to Whites and I said that as much as I’d love to join everyone in carrying on, it couldn’t happen and I’d take the decks back to mine while they all continued to my mate Jonny’s place.
We were carrying the decks in, people were ringing taxis, I started to go to bed and then I was like – ‘No! Wait! Fuck it, I’ve not seen Emma and Steve for ages, I’m coming with!’
I’m glad I did that, it was an excellent weekend.
Other than that, the rest of that time I was good.
It’s easier now as I plan my own time, I get up two hours later than I used to then and I have my evenings and weekends free.
A couple of weeks ago I went into the studio with my friend Marcus all day and then worked through the night. That worked out so-so because the work took me until 5:30am to finish and regardless of anything I HAD to be up again before 9.
That was in the midst of two weeks of madness.
A friend was visiting Leeds for the week and I somehow ended up doing something every night apart from the night I worked until nearly morning.
We also had Wire on the Saturday and 212 on the Friday and ideally it would have been good to be able to get a bit more than a couple of hours sleep a night in the week running up to that.
Unfortunately, at 4am on Thursday I walked out of a Jazz club and then we ended up spending two hours arranging for a homeless guy to get taken to hospital and get the awful wounds on his leg seen to. I got in at half past six.
Following that we had our residency at 212 on the Friday and Wire on the Saturday.
We do the third Friday of every month at 212 and this happened to fall before our Wire date so that was that.
It was a mint night and our guests, Beers, Wines and Spirits played a wicked set.
They also hosted a wicked afterparty.
It could have been a lot worse if our friend Tamsin wasn’t over from London and didn’t want to go to bed when it hit 4am. She was staying at mine and I knew it was the right thing to do so I called a taxi.
We had to be in Doghouse, a local bar and record store, at 2pm on the Saturday afternoon for our pre-party which would crack on until Wire opened at 11.
The night at Wire was spectacular. We’d got Nail over from Nottingham and he played an awesome set. Annie Errez, who is always on point, closed, and we had an excellent warm up set from Midge Thomson from Hold the Relish. Up North resident, Pete Melba joined him for the very early doors bit. The tunes were spot on from start to finish.
None of our residents played. We usually open or close, but we’d originally planned to do an afterparty at a venue where we would all play. This didn’t happen for various reasons, and our neighbours had moved out so it was afters at mine. That all went on until the Tuesday morning and then I slept for 12 hours straight.
I woke up to my mate and fellow Schwein resident knocking on my door.
I’d said to him to wake me up if he woke up first.
I zombie walked downstairs, made us both a cup of tea and pieced my mind back together.
We agreed that food – healthy, wholesome food – would be a good option, so we headed to Eat Your Greens in the centre of Leeds, where it was Vegan Tuesday.
After our dinner we decided to have one quiet pint at Outlaws Yacht Club next door.
This was where it all went awry again, because we ran into the guys who run Sub:Terranea and somehow it all ended up with them and five other people coming back for a mix.
It was five o’clock on Wednesday morning when I had to say I was calling it.
I felt relatively normal again by the Friday and I managed to get all my work done.
Like I said, I’m just about managing it.