Rich Huxley

on ‘integrity’

An exploration into ‘integrity’ with musician Rich Huxley – delving into artistic integrity in the music industry and the wider picture of what ‘integrity’ means for our lives and those of our communities.

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View Transcript

Show Notes

This episode includes some brilliant music recommendations too:

Hope & Social – check out their lockdown E.P. – S.E.N.T

Sampa the Great – one of Rich’s favourites is ‘Final Form’

Confidence Man

Penfriend (Laura Kidd)

Guest Info

Rich Huxley

Rich Huxley is a musician, multi-instrumentalist, writer, vocalist, record producer, educator, ukulele enthusiast, one-man community music hub. Rich plays strings and things and sings with Hope and Social, co founded the world’s first fan-funded record label, heads up Songwork International’s UK operations and in non-covid times works all over the world as a performer, producer, writer, and creative entrepreneur.

Rich is a strong believer in the power of music as a force for empowerment, for joy, for social engagement and for the greater good. Right now, you can mainly find him enthusing people into musical happenings online… and writing music for your favourite podcasts!

Transcript

[music]

Sam McCormick:

Hello there, welcome to episode three of Curious e-Motion’s second series. I’m Sam McCormick, and today we’re joined by musician Rich Huxley to explore ‘integrity’.

Rich and I connected earlier this year when he composed this original theme music for us. I was drawn to Rich’s passion for community-based arts and his belief in the power of music for bringing people together, providing joy and supporting wider social change, which is closely aligned to our work, so it was only natural to invite him to be a guest this series as we delve into the various values that Curious Motion holds.

Integrity, like the other values, is a very complex topic, and Rich bravely jumped in to explore it with me. Get ready for an exploration of artistic integrity and what integrity means for our wider lives and communities. Plus, Rich provides some brilliant music recommendations too.

If you’d like to find out more about Rich and the theme for this series, do you check out the bonus introductory episode for all the details. But for now, let’s get into our chat.

Welcome, Rich, thank you so much for being here. Lovely to have you as– well, part of our little podcast family on the creative side, as well as on the guest side.

Rich Huxley:

It’s very nice to be here. Nice to see you.

Sam:

Yeah, you too. And thank you for our theme. Yeah, we’ve got new music. It’s very exciting.

Rich:

Well, I’m glad you like it. [laughter]

Sam:

Yeah, we love it. I think you really captured the warmth that we were going for and the mix of– our episodes are quite varied in what they cover sometimes, so you got that nice mix of joy and emotion and all of those things that we end up covering at some point.

Rich:

That’s very lovely of you to say. It was a lot of fun to do. And yeah, much like preparing for this talk, quite a challenge, really, like writing a song for a brief and kind of a little bit without ego of being an artist and all those things. So, yeah, it was a lot of fun to do and yeah, well, I like it. [laughter]

Sam:

Good. I’m glad you like it too. We really like it. We really like it. So yeah, thank you.

So today, you are– well, we are going to have a chat about integrity as our theme. So all of our guests have been choosing one of our values at Curious Motion to delve into a little bit and see what you think about these things. So you’ve chosen integrity, which is fab.

Rich:

Yeah. Yeah, I’m regretting it now. [laughter]

Sam:

Yeah. It’s a bit of a challenge, this sort of theme, isn’t it? It’s quite an in-depth word.

Rich:

When we spoke about it initially, I was like, oh yeah, I could talk about integrity. That would be dead interesting. I must have loads of stuff on integrity. And I actually start to think about, it was like, oh, my days. I need to structure these thoughts.

Sam:

Yeah. So what does integrity mean to you? What were the main things that came up for you?

Rich:

Like I say, initially when we spoke, it immediately brought to my mind the idea of artistic integrity. You’re an artist. I’m an artist. So it made me think in the context of this podcast that I was thinking of artistic integrity and picking that apart, I think, is quite tricky because there’s so much in there that’s– everyone’s got a tacit internal kind of view of what integrity is, I think. And although there are a lot of similarities, no doubt, between people, everyone will have their own little particular twist on it. And I think for me, I was thinking of it as like a self-cohesive, non-contradictory world view and view of oneself. And in terms of your body of work, I suppose. And then beyond that it’s those things but applied to your whole life, isn’t it, you know?

Sam:

Yeah. Yeah.

Rich:

I think everyone wants to feel they’ve got integrity. You know, that their worldview is a cohesive worldview. And then there’s no doubt within that some cognitive dissonance. There’s going to be some bits where you’re not necessarily 100% in sync with what you would like to think of yourself. You know, I’d like to think of myself as lots of nice things. I’d like to think of myself as a feminist ally, as anti-racist, as pro recycling and anti-big business or establishment or global– not globalism per se, but, you know, corporations and then I’m sitting here with a can of Coke and I may not have washed the yoghurt pot out before I put it in the recycling. So yeah, I think everyone’s–. [laughter]

Sam:

I think I totally know what you mean. It is very complex as you as a person and then also like you were saying, as an artist or somebody who works in a creative industry. That’s got its whole thing too. But it is so personal as well when you’re making art or being creative, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a professional thing.

Rich:

Well, and I think there’s an interesting distinction you were kind almost drawing there in between people who are being creative versus an ‘artist’ in inverted commas. You know, I think there’s a value judgment in there. It’s like it seems like integrity has something to do with authenticity, as an artist. And I think the more I think about it, the more I think I don’t necessarily believe it exists or should exist. I don’t think it’s a thing.

Like, what is having integrity? Is it not allowing your music to be used on adverts, like the classic kind of Tom Waits thing? Tom Waits wrote a letter to, I think, one of the Doors about the use of music in adverts. And it basically said, “Don’t sell your stuff to commercials because music can transport people to a time and a place. And you’re not only selling your song or your likeness. You’re also selling your audience.” And that idea of a sell-out is definitely a thing, I think, in terms of integrity. Is someone a sell-out for allowing their stuff to be used for advertisements for example? Or is it only if it’s allowed to be used for adverts for certain things, ethical things? You don’t want your stuff associated with McDonald’s, but you’d be all right if it was associated with Greenpeace.

So yeah, I think there’s also a bit in there about it being like a camp– not a campaign, but moving towards a general social good, a greater good. I think that’s incorporated in the idea of integrity. What did you mean when you asked the question?

Sam:

Well, the reason we’re doing this is integrity is one of our values in the sense that we aim to do what we say we’re going to do and be honest people and be, I think like what you were saying about authenticity. At Curious Nation, we’re aiming for people to know what they’re going to get when they come and participate in whatever it is that they’re joining in with, whether it’s the podcast or classes or just seeing our stuff online. And it’s that thing of being true to ourselves so that we can be true to other people, I think. And it is, it’s the greater good thing that’s why we’ve got it there. It’s the social element, but that’s what we mean. And it’s a case of what we think and what we mean by these things. It isn’t necessarily always the same as what people think of them or what their life experiences– so hence why we thought we would delve into it a little bit further.

Rich:

I think in terms of community work, there’s kind of loaded term in community. As well as Hope & Social, a band I’m in, I do stuff with a ukulele group that I run and some bands that anyone can join, that I run called Music from the Attic. And from some people’s perspectives, they might be comparing me to even other members of Hope & Social. Singer Simon has got a solo album out right now. Fledge has got a solo album out. James has got a solo album out. Gary’s got a solo album out. I’ve spent the last year making art with people in a much more community setting, but I don’t feel that’s compromised my integrity per se. But some people might, and they may have felt that when we’ve done things where we’ve involved people in the making of Hope & Social records– “Why aren’t you being artistically true to yourself?” Well, it turns out we are.
What we like doing is things which involve people– or what I like doing is giving people that sense that they’ve made a thing. It feels good to either do a gig or make a record or release a video. I mean, it seems unfair to me that those things are traditionally kind of only available to “artists,” whereas anything in the community setting– there’s a hierarchy, isn’t there, of what’s integrity? Or it feels like there are some forms that are revered and that are put on a pedestal. Is it ballet? Let’s say we’ve got Northern Ballet in Leeds– just thinking of Leeds, we’ve got the Opera House music-wise and– so are those particular art films valued above others? Is rock valued above– rock and jazz, the authentic musician versus how someone thinks of Led Zeppelin versus ABBA? I think they’ve both got artistic integrity, but it’s loaded in terms of the things that have power. But I think it’s wavering because you just– as soon as you– everyone’s compromised some way. There’s loads of ways in which we’re compromised, so I think it’s difficult to maintain integrity without having to wrangle something internally at least.

Sam:

Yes. So with that in mind, I suppose it’s allowing these things to shift. They don’t stay as one thing. Nobody does. We’re learning. We’re having new experiences. Some days we are going to feel more aligned with, maybe, what we feel we’re aiming for, and other days, like you say, we’re not, and I think– maybe, it’s allowing that shift to happen and knowing that that’s part of it.

Rich:

Yeah, yeah, hopefully. I think that’s a very difficult thing to hold onto. Certainly, over the past year, it’s difficult to monitor what it is we’re doing.

Sam:

So true. And I think you have to be really kind to yourself in a way, don’t you, because some days are just really hard to deal with?

Rich:

Yeah, yeah. It’s [crosstalk].

Sam:

And you can’t always be whatever your best self is or whatever it is that you’re thinking about. Yeah.

Rich:

I’d say I’ve been 70% of myself, on about 70% of the days. I’d go for 70% of my best self.

Sam:

Yeah, me too!

[music]

Sam:

To come back to your point around music and integrity, I remember when we briefly had a chat, before we set up our interview, you were talking about how it’s seen in the music industry in terms of, just like your example with adverts and bands they’ve sort of particularly got sort of a very niche or indie following, and then they become very popular all of a sudden and this idea of integrity around that.

Rich:

Yeah. I think that there’s a whole thing about people being sellouts, for example. Well, I mean, just to go back to this Tom Waits thing because I’ve forgotten, he did actually do a dog food advert and really regrets it. You can find it on the internet. It’s very good. [laughter] But yeah, Tom Waits had a thing about– it’s a type of– it’s not Kettle Chips or Doritos, but it’s something like that. It’s a type of chip. And they did a version of– used a version of his song with someone doing an impression of him, essentially, impersonation of him singing. And he sued for the likeness of– you can’t really stop somebody using the song, but you can sue someone for using a likeness of your voice and trading off that. So he did campaign for that.

But yeah, I think the idea of someone selling out in terms of popularity is a tricky one because there’s a conflict between being paid and being able to live and just doing what you want because you’re interested in it artistically. I think it’s a very privileged position to be able to do whatever you want artistically and easier to do if you’re already successful.

I think people think of Bowie as this artist who’s was just guided by his artistry. But if you look at early Bowie, he was trying to find a way to be famous. That was the kind of thing he was interested in. He was making art in order to do that. But it wasn’t just being a band he was interested in or being an artist that he was interested in doing. He was interested in becoming famous, and that happened to be one of the vehicles. And I think Bowie’s interesting in that because you’ve got someone who’s pretending to be a character as well. So you can be authentic as an artist and at the same time is pretending to be someone else playing the part of the character. But yeah, popularity. I mean, I’d love to be able to be accused of being a sellout. I would have liked to have made enough money out of adverts to have that be considered. Moby was everywhere for a while and got derided for it, but that’s still a cool-sounding record. Yeah. I don’t think it was made with a view to go, “I’m going to get my stuff on adverts.” But yeah, everyone likes to think you’ve got that little special thing, don’t we? I think there may be separate things. People want to have something that’s precious and only theirs. And when it becomes everybody’s, it seems a little bit less precious. And I can understand that. But I still think it’s nonsense. [laughter]

Sam:

Yeah. It’s just so interesting. I wonder if there’s, again, the value judgement of this sort of, “Oh, you’ve become successful, therefore you must have sold out.” It’s like they don’t even need any evidence that somebody has been a sellout. It’s just that that must be the only way to get there. It’s an interesting thing. I mean, there’s lots of mainstream artists that I would really respect for their integrity, even though they’re very mainstream, famous people. [laughter]

Rich:

Yeah. But what’s the artist?… Grayson Perry’s brilliant, I think. I mean, I think the best art Grayson Perry makes is the telly. I think the telly that Grayson Perry makes is great. I’m not that moved by the art, but the motivations behind it and the way it’s communicated, I think, is some of the most effective art that I’ve encountered.

Sam:

Yeah. I think there’s all the different levels, I suppose, and maybe sometimes it’s helpful to – I don’t know – remove the– oh, you can’t remove the hierarchy. I don’t know how to do that, but I wish I could. I wish I could.

Rich:

No, but it’s good to ask those questions, isn’t it? We can’t get that, but we should– when we’re thinking of what is an authentic artist, I think it’s good to be able to peel back the layers and just go, “Actually, you know what? If somebody can do the things that they’re interested in and like doing, and it’s not destroying the planet or hurting people,” then that’s probably enough, isn’t it? That’s got to be the way to live?

Sam:

Surely. Surely. Surely. That’s brilliant. Isn’t that what we all want, to be doing the things that we love doing as long as, like you say, it’s not harmful?

Rich:

Yeah. But we’re all compromised because everything’s harmful, isn’t it? Everything’s harmful. We’re two white people talking on a podcast. We’re probably taking up some room that could be used more efficiently by or expediently by people who generally don’t have access to this kind of privilege.

Sam:

Yeah. Definitely. But it’s a really good point. And that is why we want to go further than just saying, “Well, we’ve decided on these are what Curious Motion’s values are.” We’re trying to go further. We’re trying to open it up, open our own minds as well as provide a space for other people to consider these things and to recognise privilege and things like that. It’s really, really important that we’re recognising it and we’re saying it. And we’re not just sort of ignoring that we’re in this place where we are able to do these things.

Rich:

Well, one of the things that piqued my interest when I read your advertisement form, “We’ve got some money. Does someone want to make some tunes for us?” apart from obviously the commission itself [laughter] was it feels very much like what you’re doing tallies or marries up or has some similarities with the stuff that I do in terms of trying to empower people in– I mean, even that in itself– let me rephrase that. Not trying to empower people, that’s nonsense. I want to make music with people and be in a room with them. That’s what it’s about. But it feels like there’s a ground-up approach. It feels like it’s not– it feels like you’re trying to circumvent the top-down thing, which is always difficult in any organisation. And I say that as someone who acts, in some circumstances, as an organisation. Sometimes things, certainly musically, just need rallying through a little bit. But in terms of structural integrity– like a building has structural integrity because it’s built from the bottom up. I think that in terms of integrity of community art, if we’re doing things which are the things that the people in a place, virtual or real, want to do, as opposed to coming in and dictating, “We’re going to do this, whatever,” then I think that’s got to be hopefully a way that has a little bit more integrity about it. It’s so difficult to unpick.

SamL

It is really difficult. I know we’re not going to unpick it in one episode. Definitely not. But that is where I was coming from as well. It’s about exploring those communities’, whether they’re geographical, online, similarities, and being a vehicle to help share and support in a way that’s guided by the people that it’s for and not by someone’s own personal, completely removed – I don’t know – goals or whatever. So I think that’s why integrity is in there for us well, it is really about that. And you have to really– well, you have to do this sort of stuff. You’ve got to go further, I think, to understand it and make sure that you are always doing that and not just going, “Oh, I really love doing this. So let’s just add that in.” [laughter]

I think you have to be curious. Obviously, I’m going to get that in there as much as I can. But you’ve got to be questioning yourself a lot as well. And I think that ties into values in general. If you’ve got values that are along these lines, personally, professionally, whatever, there is this constant trying to understand what that is. And I don’t think you can ever really land on one thing. It’s a multitude of things.

Sam:

And when you look at yourself in comparison with all the people that you think have integrity, do you find yourself measuring things on that basis or do you find– because when I think of an artist that has integrity– when someone says– if you say, “Can you think of an example of an artist who has integrity?” As soon as I do that, I still default to the indie band who seem uncompromising in their slightly, just slightly, inaccessible melodies. [laughter]

Sam:

Yeah, I know what you mean. I do know what you mean. I approach it from a personal-values place, I think. Because my work, my professional life, is so connected to who I am as a person. I think for me, if I know that I’m doing something that sits with my own personal values, then I’m going to feel– because they are similar to Curious Motion’s in the sense that I am aiming to do that in my life. I want to be a person that people feel they– that I’m going to recognise my privilege, support where I’m needed, listen to others, provide space for others. I’d say it’s more about that, I think. I try not to go out to external– I mean, obviously, it’s difficult. There is going to be people that inspire you, people whose work you’re really interested in. You can’t necessarily separate that, I don’t think.

Rich:

Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting distinction, though. Isn’t it?

Sam:

Yeah.

Rich:

To just set– because when I think of that, I generally think of, “Oh, I like their art. Therefore, it must have integrity because I don’t want to believe in some kind of saccharine-coated version of events.” I say that as someone who’s a massive fan of pop music.

Sam:

Me too.

Rich:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Good old pop music. A little bit of pop.

Sam:

Yeah, why not? This is the thing. Isn’t it? And like in contemporary dance, which is my background, oh my goodness, when I was training if you put a pop track on, people were like, “You can’t choreograph to that.” I mean, it’s not really like that now. I don’t think as much. But it really was when I was– 10, 15 years ago, it was– yeah.

Rich:

And how does that work versus other forms of non-white dance, street dance, or– Where is the– where does–?

Sam:

Yeah. Again, it’s really– I think it is very much tied into the systems that we live in, the patriarchal, capitalist. All of that is in there. I mean, I know we’ll be here for at least a day if we go into that. But it is in there. Some of those assumptions that people make and hierarchies and rules that people make up about what you can and can’t do are very much directed by that, I think.

[music]

Sam:

So I’m going to ask you now the next very difficult question which is, is there an example of integrity that most stays with you? So it could be artistic or not.

Rich:

Nope.
It doesn’t matter.
Next question [laughter]

Sam:

Nope? [laughter] Nope, too difficult. Moving on. [laughter]

Rich:

Yeah. Well, for the aforementioned reasons, again, I found this really difficult when I was thinking about it. I mean, obviously you’ve given us a heads-up on the stuff we’re going to talk about for anyone who’s listening, who’s just like, “Oh, God, he’s well-prepped.”

Sam:

I do not spring this on people. That would be very unfair.

Rich:

I think maybe I shouldn’t have looked at it. I might have been able to busk it. Yeah. Things that have integrity. In the context of what’s been going on in the past couple of weeks, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks in terms of women’s rights, hasn’t it?

Sam:

Yeah.

Rich:

Since International Women’s Day. And then a woman has been killed, and the response to that has been a lot of the classic kind of blame culture and victim blaming and all that sort of stuff. And I have to say, I think a lot of people I think have been amazing, not just through this, but prior to this is the Black Lives Matter. I don’t know if I fully understand what intersectional feminism is. If intersectionality is talking about one particular disparity in power and wealth and influence and opportunity and also including and supporting other areas, I think BLM have been amazing on that. They’ve been really on point. They’ve been absolutely spot on in their criticism of what’s going on and their criticism of the police and their handling of the vigil. And, yes, we know that this goes on and there is disparity of power that gets abused. And we’re against that when it comes to disparities in terms of race. And we’re also against that in terms of disparities in terms of sex. And I feel similarly. So, yeah, I think they’ve been amazing on that. And then obviously I had to think of things musically.

Sam:

Sure.

Rich:

And so to try and complement those things we’ve just talked about, I’m a big fan of Sampa the Great. Sampa the Great is– she’s Zambian-born, amazing, makes really punchy, contemporary, hip hoppy type music, like loopy stuff. Celebrating black culture. The videos are a celebration of black culture. She’s really powerful. Awesome. Just makes me go, “Yes. I am behind that. Whatever it is you’re doing.

Sam:

Amazing.

Rich:

“I’m behind that.” And she seems– to my knowledge, and as much as everybody is compromised, but to my knowledge, I think she seems– yeah. She seems untouched by anything other than– write songs including lyrics about melanin in skin, and brilliant. But then, equally, Lizzo and her unequivocal celebration of womanhood. She’s brilliant in interviews and just hilarious and takes no prisoners. Exercises like crazy pulls, off mad dance routines.

Sam:

Yeah, she is amazing.

Rich:

She’s awesome. I also really like– there’s a band called Confidence Man. So again, if you ever listen, you will find the integrity in there. But, I mean, obviously you can just go, “Well, obviously we’ve got Gandhi and we’ve got Martin Luther King.”

Sam:

Yeah. Of course.

Rich:

But I thought I’d try and bring some musicality to it. Check out Confidence Man. Confidence Man are amazing. Really, really fun. But again, pointed feminist stuff in there, but wrapped in a pop tune with songs like Bubblegum. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

There’s a musician I know called Laura Bailey Kid who goes under the name of Penfriend. She has for– I don’t know, I think I’ve known her for 10, 11 years, but for at least that long, just completely blazed her own trail as a solo artist and is just great. She’s brilliant. She’s recently become Penfriend. She used to be She Makes War, and she’s just– yeah, everything she’s doing. She has a podcast, which is very much worth listening to. Can recommend. It’s artists talking about art, mainly musicians.

Sam:

Nice.

Rich:

Great. Really, really great stuff. I highly recommend.

[music]

Sam:

So these questions just get harder. So my first one, this is my last one for you on integrity, okay. As we move through and beyond the pandemic, how do you think integrity can support our communities and us as individuals?

Rich:

Well, so I think there is one point of the previous kind of discussions that we spoke about, which really struck for me is that building from basically the bottom-up stuff. I feel like things can be supported from the bottom up. I got a friend called Dobber who was my course leader at Birmingham City University when I was doing an MA in music industries, which I really should finish. And he always used to say like, “The best thing you can do in arts funding is give the money and get out of the way.” And I think that’s really valuable.

And similarly, I’ve got a friend called Mike Chitti from at least 10 years ago or 11 years ago, 12 years ago when I first got to know him. We met up and he was talking about how to build bottom-up in a place and how to listen to the voices of people in a place. We were talking at that time about Holbeck in Leeds, which was going through a bit of a transition. There was some money going into it. They were making nice, shiny offices and that sort of thing. And there was a community around that area anyway, which to some degree got pushed out by this gentrification, I suppose. And I think if there’s a lesson for us post-pandemic is to listen to– is to listen to the people of a place rather than try and impose the stuff on them in a top-down fashion. Hopefully, that’s where accountability comes. And that’s where thinking back to that structural integrity, building from the bottom up, if you build something from the bottom up, something has that good foundation. And then hopefully, the stuff that’s put on top of that is more secure and more well-grounded. It’s all very abstract, isn’t it? This doesn’t make any sense.

Sam:

It makes sense. Yeah, no, it does. It really does. Sometimes it helps to have a bit of a visual thing or something to imagine to explain it because you are right, this top-down thing is just absolutely rife in every aspect of life, more so for some people than others. And it’s about how we can move beyond that. And I agree that the lockdown and COVID, I think, has really exposed a lot of that even more.

Rich:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I guess this thing, it’s never won, is it?

Sam:

No.

Rich:

This seems to be a recurring issue that we must come up against until it’s dealt with or just keep on coming up against and then keep on pushing the boundaries back a bit. What is it? Is it the Overton window? Is that the expression? It’s basically talking about the realm within which discussions occur. And so if you have a particularly– if you have a particularly right-wing administration, the idea is it’s almost– the way to pull the conversation back to the centre is by forcing stuff the other way by being more left-wing, which isn’t a very conciliatory approach. Yeah, I mean, I think I may be guilty of that a little bit. I feel like we live in such a society where capitalism does rule, where patriarchy does rule. I feel like I need to kick back against that somehow and as best I can, at the same time as being compromised and having to earn a living and taking money from– so yeah, how do we move forward? Oh, crikey.

And in terms of integrity, I guess if you can have a life that’s broadly in line with your beliefs, then we’re not doing too bad. But then I do follow Greta on Twitter, and I keep on being like, “Oh, I’m just not doing enough.”

Sam:

Oh, I know. This is a huge subject and all of the values are. And everybody that I’ve interviewed so far, I’ve found they always merge. They have so many connections and links to each other, so you can’t sat I’ll just take one out and go “that on its own is only this” because it’s going to merge with the others. But I think it’s always good to be questioning, to be asking what is that? Keep refreshing that for yourself as well. And that might help in those moments where you think I can’t do this, or I can’t watch that, or I need to just ignore that for a bit.

Rich:

Or everything I do is fake.

Sam:

[laughter] Yeah. Or I’m a sellout.

[music]

Sam:

So my final question for you today, Rich, is the question we’re asking all of our guests this series. And that is, what three things would you like to spend more time on in your life? And what about less time?

Rich:

Okay. So well, obviously, more time with the family. Obviously, we should say that in case they’re listening and—

Sam:

Yeah. Get that in quick.

Rich:

[laughter] Well, there are some that are pandemic related. And I guess I’d like definitely to spend more time hanging out with people I love and just being in a space where they’ll be having a coffee and doing some work or whether that be going to pub. Yes, I’d like to see people. I’d like to see people. Being a musician, I’d like to be in a room with people and make sound. Really missing that moment of communing with whether it’s people you’re making music with or whether it’s being in a room making music with people who are making music, who are in an audience-band relationship. I’m also down with that. I just want to be in a room with people where there is noise. I think that will make me feel a lot better about things.

Sam:

Yeah.

Rich:

So whether that’s [inaudible] social or being in a room making noise musically. That’s the thing. I wanted to say exercise but [inaudible] what a nonsense that was, as if I’d spend any free time I had more than I do right now on exercise. I’d really like to. I’d like to say that’s what I do with my spare time. In reality, what am I going to do– I’m going to sit at this desk I’m at now and make a bit more music and have a little bit of a tootle.
And I’d like to go on holiday. I’d like to go– again, conflicted. I sometimes go to work in Singapore. And that’s amazing, I get to see my bezzie mates. That’s great. It’s also a bit like a holiday because you only have to work during the bits you work in and the rest of it is with the family. I’d like to be able to switch off, but I’d like to go on actual holiday. I’d like to spend more time where I’m in the moment. I need to get better at that.

Sam:

It’s a real challenge to being in the moment thing and the switching off thing.

Rich:

Yeah. I think anyone who’s got their own business or is self-employed, there’s always going to be that little– because essentially for the past – what? – 15 years, however long it is, I don’t know how long it is since I stopped having any form of what your in-laws would refer to as a proper job. [laughter] “Yeah, I know Rich does his music in that. But what does he– what’s his–?” Since I stopped any of that other stuff which would be considered a proper job, I don’t know. I don’t know. Let’s be able to switch off more. It would be useful to be able to switch off more. But dancing, actually, that’ll be nice. Wouldn’t it? A bit of dancing; I could do a bit of dancing.

Sam:

Yep. I’m the same as you. I need to be in a room with people and actually with music and sound. Definitely. And dance, all of it.

Rich:

I went to a birthday party the other week on the internet, obviously. I felt like I had a proper night out. Again, sat mainly where I am right now. It was with people I didn’t know so well, all of them. And so there was like an awkward bit at the start where people didn’t know what to say and I over talked. And then people had brought gifts, audio visual gifts, because there were a lot of deejays there. So they were like, “Here’s a video of things that we’ve done.” And then there was just putting a record on and having a dance and everyone had a dance. And everyone put their flashing lights on in the houses if they had. And then then the guy whose birthday it was, his sister and husband then rang from Italy. We were all on a Zoom call. They rang from Italy. They were like, “Hi y’all.[inaudible]. Just thought we’d say hello. And it was like a little outside– it felt like a proper party. It was lovely.

Sam:

Oh, that’s such a good idea. So you can actually have those moments where you’re just talking to these people and then you end up talking to these ones rather than like everybody all of the time, which is—

Rich:

Which is great.

Sam:

Oh, I love that.

Rich:

Let’s go to a disco.

Sam:

Yeah, there we go. That’s something you can do more of again as well, eventually. Well, thank you, Rich. That was really interesting. And I really appreciate you, really going there and challenging what this means because it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s not something that’s got clear answers. So hence, why we’re asking the question.

Rich:

Thanks for having all the good questions. It’ll be rubbish if they were rubbish questions, wouldn’t it? It wouldn’t make any sense then. So well done.

Sam:

Thanks, Rich.

Rich:

Pleasure.

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Sam:

Oh, thanks so much, Rich. Integrity is such a complex topic, and one podcast episode is only going to begin to touch the surface. But Rich has given us so much food for thought in there. Thanks so much, Rich.

I’d love to know your thoughts on integrity too. Please do share them with us via our socials or on email. All our contact information is on our website, curiousnation.org.uk.

We’ve also included all of Rich’s recommendations and information on his current work in the show notes including Sampa the Great, Confidence Man, Penfriend, and Hope & Social’s Lockdown AP, SENT, or S-E-N-T sent, which stands for See Everyone Next Tuesday. Each episode also has its own page on our website. So you can find all of today’s information and recommendations there too.

So there’s more to come this series. We delve into curiosity once more. Plus those explorations into some of our other values, including empathy and inclusion. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.

Right! That’s it for this week. Until next time. Remember, tune into your body. Be kind to yourself and stay curious. Bye.

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