John Reeve

Musician, Artist, Technologist


Thoughts On Gumby Climbers

Thoughts On Gumby Climbers

On one of the forums I frequent, there was a pretty lengthy post about watching some newer climbers do what new climbers do… which is to say, watching folks futz around doing dumb stuff. The author, who is a far more accomplished climber than I will ever be, seemed to be either bemused or slightly offended by the climbers in question.

His writing prompted a response from me:

I’m kind of a gumby climber… I’ve been doing it since the 90s, but only made it a priority over the last 2 years.

But I know a lot about computers, and I know a lot about playing music.

It’s the same everywhere, as far as I can tell. Folks will sell you a $4k collings guitar regardless of how good you are. You can register a domain name even if you don’t know what a DNS server is. They’ll let you sit in the song circle at Luckenbach, TX even if you suck, and as long as you’re not running malicious software you can serve whatever mess you want out to the web.

I’ve never been able to get too up in arms about folks not knowing about computer stuff… most of it’s just so esoteric and boring that only nerds like me care about it.

But for a while I kind of had a distaste for half-assed musicians gigging 4 hour deals at a shitty bar for $30, 2 beers, and some nachos. Especially when they sucked. LIke I “get” wanting to gig, but you gotta pay your dues maybe? I certainly did, and I have the beat up old upright bass to prove it.

At some point I just stopped caring about those folks.

They really aren’t doing the same kinds of things that I do, musically speaking. That fact doesn’t make them bad or me good… and it doesn’t mean there isn’t a galaxy of musicians who are all so far beyond what I do such that I’m only clumsily approximating what they do.

But knowing that fact has been very helpful.

I’m glad they’ll let whoever wants to pretend that they’re a musician play music. I’m not the music police. I don’t take those gigs anyhow, and it’s mostly just my own frustrations about where I was musically that irritated me with those folks ib the first place. At some point I decided that there’s simply no commercial appeal to what I play and now I have a lot more fun and am better at making music just for knowing that fact.

Same thing with climbing… there’s a lot to be said for the willingness of clueless gumbies to go watch some youtube videos and decide that they’re gonna go out and do that thing.

I think it actually takes a lot more fortitude to be a clueless noob and have no idea what bullshit you’re putting out than it does to, say, be middle aged dude with some marginal self awareness and an self-imposed limit on what I am willing to do 😀

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