When is a music career move not a musical decision?
When it concerns expenses and practicalities rather than actual playing, of course.
It’s become increasingly apparent over the last few months that being a professional musician without driving, always an uphill struggle, is in fact downright impractical and already holding me back. As well as tending to increase my expenses and therefore the amount of non-music work I need to keep doing to make the books balance overall. Too much public transport doesn’t run late enough at night to get back from evening performances; too many recordings (churches are popular, for reasons of acoustics and expense) and gigs (all the village pubs, and the country house weddings) are in out-of-the-way locations with no public transport whatsoever; too much of my work is still, and will probably still be, well outside London. Train tickets are expensive, coaches slow, infrequent and with very patchy geographical coverage.
So then, bite the bullet, renew my provisional licence, do an intensive course so I can’t be disadvantaged by lack of local drivers I can ask to practise with, and pass the test. This time.
Which I’m in the process of doing. But it isn’t as straightforward as that unfortunately. When I got my provisional (and, er, failed the test a couple of times), I didn’t have type 1 diabetes. The DVLA are, understandably, rather concerned about the possibility of diabetics having hypos behind the wheel (chiefly; one can argue there are other aspects they should be concerned about, but the paperwork doesn’t align with the belief), and so the current stage is that I’ve just sent a six-page medical / consent / declaration form back to them, in hopes they will shortly approve my provisional licence renewal and I can get on with actually getting legal to drive by myself. The fact that the DVLA’s freepost address has been cancelled (presumably a budget cut) and I have to stamp everything I send them, including my old licence to prove I’m not keeping it, is a minor inconvenience compared to the worry I may be prevented from ever driving out of hand. Here’s hoping …