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"Var. on Endless Handbag" pt. 3: Friends

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

Friends, it is a great privilege to know you, listen to your stories, and walk with you. Over the years I have made so many friends both offline and online, and I have had the immense privilege of walking with you all and sharing food, drink, stories, or even silent moments with you all.

With that in mind, I cannot stress enough that, for the making of Variations on Endless Handbag, I wanted at least some of my friends to make music with me. I invited them into the project, and they made it an immensely beautiful piece of music, the likes of which I would not have been able to achieve on my own.

A drawing of all six of us who were involved in the making of Variations on Endless Handbag, which looks like it's out of a cartoon. All wear casual clothing featuring Newgrounds mascots: BBank has Alien Hominid on his shirt, Mackievellian has Steve, LD-W has Hank from Madness, Albe has the green Castle Crasher, I have a hint of the Strawberry Clock's crown, and AkioDaku has Dad. Refer to caption below image for the order in which we appear.
Clockwise, from top left: BBank, Mackievellian, LD-W, AlbeGian, myself, and AkioDaku.

On Newgrounds -- for this is where I first knew them -- they have smaller followings than I do at the time of writing, and I hope that this changes, that their followings increase. I know that they have gone from strength to strength creatively, and will continue to do so.

When I started this project, I wanted to include them, because I wanted to lift them up they way they lifted me up. We shared our stories and aspirations with each other many times. Sometimes we offered each other heartfelt words of encouragement. Sometimes we listened to each other's pieces and gave constructive feedback. 26 June 2021, the date of release of Variations, was my decade anniversary on Newgrounds, and I wanted to share my musical triumph with them. I've come a long way, both musically and as a person, and so have they.

I have spent years getting to know them and their work, and I cannot stress enough just how powerful and capable they are. I was moved to feature them in Variations, and to make music with them.

My friends and I are conscious of our privileges and struggles. We know that none of it is uniquely due to hard work -- we work hard with what we have been given, and we give where others lack. This has been the long and short of this piece, and what we hope to do with others in our own time. For example, having a space to record drums just down the road for me is an immense privilege, something that not everyone has. That's just one example. Some of us have chipped in VSTs that others have lacked, some of us have chipped in ideas that others have not been able to realise on their own strength due to limitations. For this reason, and for everything I spoke of in the previous post, it is very inappropriate, at best, to say that things like this are the result of hard work alone.

These friends, like many others besides, didn't need to lend their musical talents to help me, a constrained nonprofit musician with no right to most opportunities for advancement as a result. They had their own sufferings to bear, after all. But they did. They believed in me out of the goodness of their hearts. They were present with me, and stood by me when I decided to rip the world a new one with this piece of music. I mentioned in Part 1 that we channelled our anger into something awesome -- I have plenty of anger of my own from being underestimated for being an immigrant, and this is an anger with which my friends empathise.

But if I, a nonprofit immigrant, have managed to achieve this -- granted, by reaching out, making friends, seizing and using what opportunities come my way -- what can one achieve in a position of greater privilege?

I encourage you all to think upon it. I encourage you all to turn your potential into power -- the kind of power that is good, the kind of power that rouses others to do good things in turn.

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