x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Observing Life: My master band plan

I write about music, but really, I'd love to be in a band.

When it comes to music journalists, the adage often said is "those who don't play, write".

When it comes to myself, I would even add an extra caveat: that is, I dream of actually playing in a band.

I think if I were to form a band, I would go as far as already mapping out our career trajectory.

First of all, I would carefully consider the group's name, ensuring it not only fits comfortably on a T-shirt but also be critic-proof.

This means our moniker would omit any references to colours, numbers, royalty or symbols.

Kings of Leon may be ruling the charts at the moment, however, I am sure many a journalist is just waiting for a career-ending album or incident before unleashing headlines such as "The Kings are Dead" or "Dethroned".

Secondly, my group's second album – yes, second, not first – must range from being regarded as either a classic or merely great effort, otherwise it's just not worth the trouble.

One of the quirks of the music industry is that it's easier to recover from a woeful debut album rather than a lacklustre second.

A bad first record gives you the opportunity to start again. People would have already forgotten the first batch of limp tunes and are prepared to give you a second shot.

Fans are unforgiving when following up a classic record; they expect the new album to soundtrack their year, let alone the season.

A sub-par effort and the group is banished to "could-have-been" status.

But I am a planner. In case such a crisis occurs, my band would tackle this situation in two ways: the first would be to immediately join in and also trash our own record. We would go on the publicity trail and ambiguously state that although we hate the record, "it was something we had to make".

The other option is to create a "survivor" narrative in the run-up to our "comeback" third album.

A rockumentary helps at this stage, listing our band's excesses and internal issues that we had to overcome. I could perhaps fire a band member as an indication the group is intent on shedding old skin and exploring new avenues.

Finally, my band would not continue past five albums. Our second release would be our biggest with chart-topping singles as well as accusations of selling out. The third record would be branded as experimental; providing a ready-made excuse if it tanks. The fourth would perhaps be a covers album of obscure yet influential songs - relatively easy to do albeit we suffer a minor hit on royalties.

The fifth and last would be our self-titled album; it would probably be a minor hit but more importantly allow us to take a long break - where I would finally indulge in my love for creating catchy television jingles - before the band heroically return for the 20th anniversary tour of our classic debut album and then do it all over again.