In the studio with Dave Bainbridge (video)

I’m in North Lincolnshire at the moment, with Dave Bainbridge, guitarist and keyboardist with the band Iona. Iona have been a favourite band of mine for years, so when Dave contacted me via Myspace about being involved in his new project, ‘Open Sky’, I was rather excited.

Yesterday was spent mainly improvising and finding out how our relative soundworlds interact, and today I’m recording parts onto the tracks that Dave has already recorded for the Open Sky record – some ‘normal’ bass stuff, but also some strange StevieSounds, as in this video – hopefully we’ll get some more recorded later and post those too – til then, enjoy!

Bluffing…

I just watched the following video on Myspace – a hilarious clip of Fred Armisen going for an audition that he clearly has no place being at –

And it reminded me of when I did a very similar thing, albeit slightly more unwittingly. Back in about 1996/97, I had just moved back to London from Lincoln, and was just about eking out a living teaching (still driving back up to Lincoln one day a week) and living in a house where I was sharing a room as that’s all I could afford.

A friend of mine who had just left a gig as an on-stage musician in the west end told me that they were auditioning for the role of Buddy Holly’s bassist in ‘Buddy!’ the musical, and suggested I go for it. He seemed to think that the fact that I’d spent less than 10 minutes in my life with a double bass in my hands, couldn’t really sing and had no clue how to do an american accent wasn’t going to be a hindrance and that I should go for it.

So I went round to a friend’s house to try her double bass, did about 15 minutes and thought ‘that’ll do’. And then worked out two songs to sing, which were (I shit you not), ‘Looking For The Heart Of Saturday Night’ and ‘I Fought The Law’, both with electric bass accompaniment (despite there being no electric bass in the show).

The audition itself, fortunately, was a one at a time affair, not a big casting call. So I went in, onto the stage, with two blokes sat in the audience, plugged in my bass, and played (well) and sang (terribly) my two songs, then they said ‘can you play some double bass for us?’, so I picked up the double bass that was on the stage. It had action a mile high, and felt like a different scale length to the one I’d tried. I played a couple of really shitty rock ‘n’ roll walking basslines – I must’ve sounded like some 12 year old in a music shop, trying an instrument he’d never played…

They called me down to where they were sat, and gave me a script to read ‘it’s a southern US accent we need’. So I launch into it, trip over the words, get the emphasis wrong, and worst of all drift from really appalling new york jewish accent to californian surf-bum and back to ridiculous cowboy. The kind of american accent that makes Dick Van Dyke’s cockney sound like he grew up in Plaistow.

Thinking back, I’m surprised they didn’t either laugh or punch me in the face for wasting their time.

The only other time I’d ever felt quite so HOPELESSLY out of my depth was my audition for Salford University when I was 18. I’d driven down to Manchester the night before, so Martin and I could go and see Ocean Colour Scene at the International 3 [side note – this was before their first album came out, and they were, in all seriousness, one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen – hard to believe given the terraces rock they morphed into later…] – we slept in the car, and drove into Manchester the next morning, where I bought my first ever jazz records (a Coltrane live in Europe album called ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’, Mingus Plays Duke and a Bill Evans Trio album called ‘Autumn Leaves’ that was actually an edit from ‘Live At The Village Vanguard’…) then went out to Salford for the interview.

I got there and there was a guitar player sat outside the interview room playing King’s X tunes. He was, to me then, amazing. I was REALLY bad at working out songs off records; I had no ear for it at all. So hearing this guy play all this stuff was the first point at which I thought ‘hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t have rated myself quite so highly on their pre-audition questionnaire’.

Anyway, I was eventually called in, played my two solo pieces, REALLY badly – mistakes, out of tune, everything that could have gone wrong short of pissing myself did. They then did an ear test, and I had no idea how to pick out intervals, didn’t know what a compound interval was, bollocksed up the reading test… by this point I half expected then to invoice me for an hour of wasted time… I was asked how I thought it went and said ‘frankly, shit’, and they smiled and said ‘we’ll let you know’.

…fast forward 15 years, and I’ve done two masterclasses at that same uni. So maybe one day I’ll be playing rockabilly slap upright on a west end stage, you never can tell…

File sharing and the musical diet…

Been doing lots of gigs that I’ll blog about in later on this evening – just running out the door to another gig – but a couple of thoughts first on the relationship between file sharing and musical diet. Specifically in relation to the value we place on things that cost us money.

Back when I had very little money (ooh, that’ll be, um, about an hour ago?) – no, VERY little money, when I was living in Lincoln and earning student-grant-level wages (oh yes, young peoples, there was a time when the government actually GAVE you money to go and study… not a huge amount of money, but it was a grant not a loan, so when you left university, you were free to head off and do idealistic things like VSO or working in a community art project for a year, instead of taking the highest paid job you possibly can just to pay off your £30,000 debt. Oh, how times have changed.) – back then, I had an odd mixture of fearless abandon and meticulous selection when it came to choosing the music I parted with cash for. I was pretty fearless as to the style of what I was buying – might be prog, might be free jazz, might be electropop, orchestral, metal, punk, indie, acoustic – whatever. But because i had limited funds, it had to be great. it had to be the best of its kind. I learnt pretty quick that the recommendations of magazines like Q and the NME were pretty much worthless as they tended to relate to the current coolness factor of a band or project, rather than its status against the canon of work with its field. There were a couple of Q reviewers whose opinion intrigued me, but most of the time when I was swayed by a review, I ended up being disappointed. So I stopped doing that. But it meant that I had a hugely varied record collection, but also one where I had top notch stuff in each category, much of which I carry with me to today, both in terms of affection and influence.

I suspect, had I had much more money, I would have bought in a much less considered way – I’m sure being a Child Of Peel, I would still have had the eclecticism, but I’d have gone out and bought everything. I loved music. I still do. I adore the process of making it, listening to it, thinking about it, imagining what it can be… Without the constraints of availability and cost, I may have ended up with a much bigger collection that less filtered in terms of quality, and where I was less familiar with much of the material. Having recently started listening to much of my vinyl collection again via the magic of the digital realm, I’ve been really surprised at how much of my record collection I know pretty much word for word. Most of the Smiths, The Cure, Lloyd Cole, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Pixies, The The… even Yes and Genesis records, I can sing along to with a level of memory much higher than almost anything that’s been released in the last 8 or 9 years. What happened 8 or 9 years ago? I started making more money, and – crucially – started being sent LOADS of Cds for review, or just because bassists wanted me to have their CD, wanted my endorsement. So my listening got far less precious, and it took me quite a while to start to filter out the wasted time.

It’s not that I don’t listen to unknown quantities any more, it’s just that I’m much more choosy again about what I spend my listening time on. Thanks to the miracle of the iPod, I have way more listening time now that I’ve had for about a decade, so I’m getting back into a routine of four-square-musical-meals-a-day. Digesting music, mulling it over, repeat listening, listening to two or three albums by the same artist back to back. Making sure that I get from it what I need, what I want, what is there to be had.

In the last couple of days I’ve listened to a lot of Kelly Joe Phelps and a lot of John Coltrane. And I’m thinking about my own music in the light of how their music makes me feel. And it’s exciting to think where it’ll go as a result. And being excited about music is vital. Excitement is the life-blood of the process. Getting worked up about the joy of making music, being inspired by great music, being in awe of great musicians and writers and wordsmiths and storytellers. It’s all good, very good. And it’d be a tragedy to see it disappear into a world where total access to any music meant that those filters weren’t there.

Which only goes to say that we need filters. It doesn’t prove the monetary filters are the only ones, or even the best ones, but it does suggest that we need a way of making sure we doing overdose on junk-music.

File Sharing III – a response to Jeff Schmidt…

Jeff Schmidt – fab solo bassist and all-round lovely chap – has posted his thoughts on file sharing, new models for distribution and the futility of milking the old ways of doing things on his blog.

It’s a thought provoking post, with a lot of great stuff in it. Definitely worth a read for anyone considering these issues (and while you’re reading, download his album off BitTorrent ;o) )

There are a couple of things he says that I want to pick up on, particularly this couplet – at the beginning of his post, he states,

“I pay for a lot of music – A LOT. I get a lot for free too. Me and millions of other people…Personally, most of the music I’ve obtained for free is music that I had zero intention of buying in the first place.”

and then later on says,

“…the old system allowed us to mistake the VALUE of the old distribution system for the value of the music itself…In other words – the artificial scarcity created by the old system inflated (or “added to” if you prefer) the value of the music…P2P and open distribution hasn’t devalued music as Willis and many others suggest.”

To which I’d say that the first statement suggests that P2P HAS VERY DEFINITELY DEVALUED MUSIC. The point of the second quote was to point out that the monetary value of a bit of recorded music was abitrary, imposed and regulated by the industry, and the value was not inherent. However, what it caused – intentionally or otherwise – was a situation where we didn’t bother to listen to music we thought was shit because we’d have had to pay for it – even the music we borrowed from friends required them to have bought it, so a level of quality control filtering was taking place. We were listening to music that someone in our immediate peer group had deemed worthy of financial outlay.

And as a result, we cherished our vinyl collections. The release days of certain albums back in the day are firmly etched in my mind – I even remember queuing at a record shop in Lincoln to get King’s X‘ album Dogman on cassette! I had no money at all at that point – I earned less in my first year in Lincoln that I’d got on my student grant, and very little more the year after, but still would happily go without new clothes or other ‘essentials’ to be able to carry on BUYING records. And every new album was lovingly played. I took some risks on what I bought, but nothing was considered disposable.

Fast forward to now, and I get a lot of music for free, legally – being in the industry means I get sent a lot. Being a writer for magazines means I’m on a lot of journalist lists, and even when I email the labels and say that I can’t in all good conscience pretend to be a reviewer, i still get sent the CDs. But I don’t value them the same way, I don’t tend to cherish getting new stuff through the post, (unless I get prerelease copies – that always feels special. I’ve got a CDR of Tony Levin‘s wonderful album Waters Of Eden, and even the title is different, I got it so far before it was released. That’s a fairly treasured CD…)

My point in all of this is to highlight that free music not only messes things up for musicians who are trying to cling onto the last vestiges of a failing 20th century model of wealth creation from music, but it also makes it much less likely that we will value MUSIC to the point where we don’t put up with mediocre music. Why on earth does Jeff even bother downloading music he wouldn’t buy? Who knows (I’m sure he’ll let us know) – there are legal ways to ‘try before you buy’ – every music buying site has at least 30 second clips to check out and make sure you’re not accidentally getting a death metal album which you thought was a ukrainian folk album. Some even give away sample tracks, so you can hear an entire piece rather than doing the musical equivalent of assessing the Mona Lisa by looking at her forhead and a bit of the background.

So no-one needs to do any research anymore. The only recommendations we get are lazy ‘download this’ ones. Because the recommendation isn’t going to cost us anything, it’s not valued, and it’s not given with any sense of trepidation. When I recommend music here, I do so in the knowledge that there are a bunch of people who take my recommendations seriously and will quite often go and BUY the music I recommend. I take that responsibility very seriously. I only suggest music I think is worthy of cash outlay. I don’t recommend friends who are lovely but not particularly great musicians, as I want my recommendation to still be worth spending money on.

And this may also be why Jeff’s beloved radio is dying on its arse, particularly in the US – who needs to go to the radio to hear new music when a) radio isn’t breaking new artists and b) anything can be downloaded. We get lazy and we cease to give a shit, and all of us as much poorer for it.

A commenter on yesterday’s post on this subject said “the only thing that matters in this regard is whether a musician wants to devote energy towards stopping illegal downloading or towards encouraging his or her music to propagate”. The problem with this is that recorded music ceases to have value in an of itself. It becomes an advert for your live show, your other merch etc. The art of making records dies. It becomes the art of making adverts. I don’t want to make adverts. I want to make records that stand on their own. And as long as there are people that want to listen to that music, irrespective of whether I go out and play that music live, we need to come up with a model where I can afford to live whilst making it.

It may be that I have to make money elsewhere in music to be able to do that as a side project, but why the hell would I or anyone else do that? Where does that leave us when one’s deepest creative urges (and consequently our most valuable creative statement to the listener) are marginalised because the means of making a living from it is removed. I don’t want that to be the case for the artists whose recorded output I cherish, and for whom making records is a wholly different musical pursuit from documenting what they’re going to do live so that you can check it out before forking out for a ticket (fuck it, why not just let yourself in through the fire exit of the venue? After all, they’ll be playing the show whether you pay for the ticket or not…)

I wonder if we’ll end up with music like that being a new form of subscription service. This already exists to a degree with that site where you can pledge to pay for an album before it’s even been recorded, and when the band reaches a certain level of funding they go in and make the record… But I have to say that as a creative idealist, I still don’t like the idea of making records for a market like that. I make the music I make because I have to make it, it’s what I do, it’s who I am. There are people who like listening to it. Quite a lot of them, it seems. Therefor, in order for me to keep doing it, to get better at it, to develop and grow as a creator of music, there needs to be some way for them to keep the supply of music happening.

I’ve already chosen to forgo earning big money by choosing to be a solo bassist – it ain’t going to ever make me rich. I’m earning less than I would as a training manager in McDonalds. But I guess the quandary for us as listeners is – are we prepared for the art of making records to shift away from being the central focus of the music lives of the people who are currently very good at it, but need lots of time and money to be able to do what they do, and are we happy that we now look back nostalgically at the feeling we had when a new album came out by a favourite band when we were kids and we had to invest something of value for which we had to calculate a real cost, but that we just don’t get when we unzip a file we pulled off Bit Torrent?

Looong day!

Saturday morning I was up at 5.40am. Yup, I got a healthy four hours sleep before being wrenched from it by Billy Bragg’s ‘Greetings To The New Brunette’ (that’s my alarm sound on my phone – has been for ages, along with ‘Love Changes Everything By Climie Fisher as my ringtone… just in case it ever comes up in a really weird pub-quiz that you’re in… :o)

The reason for my early rise was that I had to be in Bath to teach 3 bass classes at Bath City Church. I’m still not certain how they got my name (will have to ask!), but I was emailed about this a few weeks ago, and booked up for the day. It’s always interesting going back into a big ‘modern’ church setting – I spent so many years in that environment when I was in Lincoln and before, but it feels culturally pretty alien now… There’s a whole other language that gets spoken in those circles, and it takes me a while to get my translating head back on and work out what people are trying to say. But it was a good day – the organisers had also booked Martin Neil, drummer/percussionist extraordinaire to teach, and having not met up for years, it was great for Martin and I to catch up a little… and for me to find that he lives about 6 miles from my mum’s house!

The 3 classes were fun too – they were progressive, in that i had the same group for all three, so one followed on from the next, and as usual, I started out by unpacking the learning process, what practice is for, and thanks to a couple of a really insightful questions, we talked a lot about the nature of goal orientated learning and external vs internal goals. All within the context of playing in a church music group.

The people who came along were a lovely bunch and hopefully took home some inspiration and ideas to get them playing.

Then the day’s weirdness started. Heading back to the car park to pick up my car at just before 4, I find a 15 minute queue just for the machines to pay! Huh? Ah, there’s been a rugby match that’s just finished. I get car, load up, and then sit in traffic for an hour trying to get out of Bath. Bear in mind, I’m supposed to be in Oxford by 5ish. By 5, I’m nearly at the M4 after leaving Bath… grrrr. Mad dash ensues, lovely Jez picks up Lo. and Catster, we all meet at lovely jez’ lovely house, drop off music gear, eat, and head back into Oxford to see Ross Noble – now I loves me some Ross Noble, and he was on top form, rambling and waffling and talking total bollocks to a highly appreciative audience.

Back to Jez’ to pick up music stuff, drive home, get in at 1am. Hence me blogging now instead of being at St Luvvies. Then it’s off to lunch with Rollergirl and Photomonkey.

Euro Blog 3

So, saturday and we’re onto the EuroBassDay – Verona is a city I’ve visited a few times before, and the organiser of the Bass Day, Giambattista Zerpalloni is an old friend. I get to the venue, and run into lots of Italian friends from prevous visits, and Oteil Burbridge, who I’ve met a few times at NAMM shows, and always got on very well with.

I check in at the hotel (which is miles away from the venue, but nice), and then go back and get ready to play. First up is a half hour Looperlative demo in the main concert hall (the venue is the Palazzio Della Grande Guarda, right in the main square in Verona – a stunning location for a Bass Day!) which goes very well. the LP1 once again behaves itself, proving that it’s fixed, and the response is v. positive.

After that, it’s time to just relax. I head off out to get away from the noise of bass, run into Oteil and his lovely wife at a restaurant in the square, and have dinner with them. A hugely enjoyable meal that set the tone for the rest of the weekend – playing a bit of bass punctuated by hours and hours of hanging out with totally wonderful people.

The rest of the american contingent are Epifani endorsers – Oteil, Andrew Gauche (gospel bass legend), Lincoln Goines (stunning Latin groovemeister and lovely fretless player), Dominique DiPiazza (French solo bassist, possessed of the most terrifying flamenco skillz I’ve ever seen on bass), Nic Epifani and Joey Lauricella from Epifani and Fodera. It’d be tough to find more enjoyable company at a bass day. Hours and hours of hanging out, chatting, joking, and occasionally playing. We get back to the hotel at past 2am, and crash.

Day two of bass day, and I’m on earlier – 2.15 – and it’s a 45 minute set. Oteil agrees to come and play a duet, and in the middle of a gig that also features Grace And Gratitude, MMFSOG, Nobody Wins, Scott Peck, Deeper Still and What A Wonderful World, we do an extended improv thing that just blew my mind. Really really lovely RecycleMusic at a bass day. Totally delicious (I really want to get hold of the video of it!)

After that it’s escape time again, and this time, Oteil’s wife Barri and I head out shopping, me being the honourary girl of the group, so deemed acceptable as shoe and handbag shopping partner. I also prove to be an expert haggler and berry gets get a 45€ bag for €15.

Out for dinner with the whole Epifani crowd again for more fun and japes, and back for the final gig, which goes on far too long, features a few stunning moments (musical hero of the weekend is a harmonica player living in Holland called Tollak who really does have a musical midas touch), and ends with a fairly loose and messy 8-bass cover of Big Bottom, all of us taking solos. Dominique wisely hides and sits this one out. Fun, but hardly a stunning musical finale to the weekend.

Bass Days are a weird thing – on the one hand, there are occasional moments of great music, and some fantastic people (even moreso at this one than usual), but there’s also an awful lot of slapping and tapping and overplaying and noisy nastiness. On balance, I really enjoy it, but I could happily go another year without hearing anymore slapped or tapped demi-semi-quavers.

Another late night, and we’re up to now, sat in my hotel on Monday morning, about to go and spend the day in Verona with Oteil and Barri. Yay for the touring life!

more on hunting

So tonight’s episode of holiday showdown had a gun toting military family from Lincolnshire going on a holiday-swap with a bisexual anarchist ouple of video artists.

The military monkeys took the anarchists to Texas on a holiday of shooting guns, trying to shoot boar and roping cattle.

then the bi people took the Lincolnshire rednecks to San Francisco for a week of hanging out with trannies, filming the streets of SF for a VJ gig.

What was startling was seeing a bloke, who thought nothing of whooping his teenage son into a testosterone fueled frenzy over a huge gun, describe two men kissing as disgusting and something that no decent person would let their children see… but aiming a Magnum at a human-shaped target (or boar, or deer) was fine.

We’re back to the topic of moral equivalence. OK, so it was intentionally car-crash TV, but the juxtaposition of gun-toting misogyny with anarchist sexual liberalism was a really interesting one, given that bigotry, intolerance and downright nastiness of the Lincolnshire smiling militia.

Shooting good, lovin’ bad. Very odd equation, that one.

As Michael Franti sang – ‘it’s not about who you love, it’s all about do you love’.

As it happens, the wife of trigger happy dan (with his remarkably gay moustache, that made him v. popular in SF!) actually took to the VJ gig really well, but she also couldn’t deal with transgendered dancers in a club. That I’d have had a problem with as well – not because they were transgendered, but just from a human rights angle, I’m not into exploitation at all, and I don’t think transgendered people should be objectified in that way any more than I think women should be. There were a few things in the SF scenes that I’d have issues with, but none of it because it was ‘sick’ or because they were ‘woofters’, more that that level of sexual-obsession tends to stem from either hurt, poor self image or narcissism, none of which need celebrating, just understanding.

But of the two holidays, I’d take a week with the lovely freaky drag-queens of San Fran over a week with the gun totin’, wife subjugatin’ rednecks any day… All the freaky people make the beauty of the world, to quote the lovely Franti again…

four things…

OK, end of year meme, nicked from sharklady’s blog

A. Four jobs you’ve had in your life
1. waiter
2. factory worker (stitching little ‘R’s into Russel Athletic sweatshirts!)
3. Market research observer for Philips
4. solo bassist

B. Four films you could watch over and over
1. the wedding singer
2. so I married an axe murderer
3. bugsy malone
4. muppet’s treasure island

C. Four cities you’ve lived in
1. London
2. Perth
3. Lincoln
4. Berwick on Tweed (er, cities?????)

D. Four Tele programs you love to watch
1. question time
2. never mind the buzzcocks
3. newsnight review
4. family guy

E. Four favourite places you’ve been on holiday
1. Krakow
2. Lake Garda, Italy
3. North Norfolk coast
4. Nashville

F. Four websites you visit daily
1. BassWorld
2. last.fm
3. MySpace
4. Jonatha Brooke forum

G. Four of your all-time favourite restaurants
1. Romna Gate, North London
2. Henderson’s, Edinburgh
3. Mia’s, just outside Reading (best curry I’ve had in years)
4. Ristorante Cascina Capuzza, Desenzano del Garda, Italy

H. Four of your favourite foods
1. just about any veg Curry, but Mia’s Veg balti is pretty remarkable.
2. Fajitas
3. Caprese Salad
4. fresh fruit salad.

I. Four places you’d rather be right now
1. North Norfolk
2. on the banks of Lake Garda
3. Mexico (I’ve never really been but I’d sure like to go… ;o)
4. driving across the US with TSP.

J. Four things you find yourself saying
1. ‘sorry, I forgot’
2. ‘imitate, assimilate, integrate, innovate’
3. ‘anecdotally’ (way of covering myself when presenting loosely observed trends amongst my friends as scientific data)
4. ‘OK, I’ll do it, when I’ve checked my email.’

(and sharklady, note anglicised questions – you’re from here, stop typing like you’re from there!)

Edinburgh Photos…

The March –

in The Meadows –

next to the Grayfriars Bobbie pub (a regular flyering zone during the Fringe) –

looking back from The Royal Mile –

the white band snakes its way down to Prince’s Street –

Didn’t manage to meet up with many people I knew that were there – some some St Luvvie’s, but didn’t see Andrew and Lynsey or Jyoti who were there too. However, I did find Gareth and Jane –

Now, these t-shirts were confusing –

…I thought Franciscans took a vow of poverty??? Were there also Franciscans against Chastity and Obedience? Nuns For Promiscuity? Bishops for Swearing? Trappists for a good ole’ chat? Very odd…

This MPH banner on Edinburgh Castle was great to see – it was about a hundred feet long –

and finally, my favourite street in Edinburgh, from whence came one of my Lincoln nicknames, ‘The Lady’ –

St George's Day…

Well, it’s St George’s day, patron saint of England. A day to celebrate all things english… seems fitting that St George himself was actually a Palestinian. If he tried to get in today, he’d be put in a camp for asylum seekers. As it was, he was brought here after the crusades, that fine act of British slaughter with some weird moral angle… or is that the current occupation of Iraq, I always get those mixed up? Bugger me, it’s both…

Anyway, things I like about england –

walking round london in summer, knowing that rain will only last about 15 minutes, the language, indian restaurants, the BBC (yay!), 240v power and sensibly shaped plugs, the NHS royal mail and the education system (or what’s left all all three), our collective history of dissent, comedy post-python, the scarcity of guns, the lack of a constitution, the university system, our literary tradition, the newcastle metro, the lake district, regional accents, the high percentage of vegetarians here, the Church of England (and our groovy archbishop), car boot sales, Lincoln Cathedral, the British museum, natural history museum, the tate, tate modern, national gallery, The New Statesman, Ethical Consumer, The Guardian, Mulitculturalism (no idea what Trevor Philips was on about the other day), the mersey sound poets, greenbelt, Wimbledon fortnight, Cornwall, The Stables in Milton Keynes, Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common, The Devils Punchbowl country park, village pubs, billy bragg, protest marches, traidcraft, cafe direct, Show Of Hands, North Norfolk coast, Lindisfarne, The Otter Trust, and loads of other stuff. to be updated…

I shan’t list what I don’t like about england – save that for another day.

So what’s been going on? Been trying to make ‘And Nothing But The Bass’ available for download via my shop, which seems to have worked, except that I can’t seem to bypass the ‘postage’ costs function… I’m sure people would feel pretty hacked off at having to pay