I’m tired. Most of the time I’m tired. Forever scratching away, trying to make a crust as an independent arts producer of sorts, always looking to steal away moments to work on my project; mutantspace, a free arts and skills exchange website, a gift economy that runs on time and very little else. Money is tight. Time is precious, unaffordable and once gone can never come back. It’s hard. Tough.
But I’m not complaining, this is not a complaint, lets make that clear, now, now. Damn clear. I wouldn’t want this any other way (well a few more quid in the bank would be nice) I chose this path, I made a conscious decision, I made my choices, some wrong, some right, that’s life. What’s more I shall be forever grateful to have been in a position to make that choice in the first place unlike so many that don’t, can’t. I am privileged. I am lucky. I am tired. That is all.
Being independent, working for yourself, creating a new space in which to make a livelihood, being master of your own vanity is a rollercoaster ride; constantly hoping, praying that gigs, events, shows you put on are pulled off. It’s challenging and frustrating and hard work. It’s a fun and exciting trip but always nerve wracking and stressful and your nails are bitten to the quick.
Why? Because you have to deliver 100% all the time and as the cliché goes; you’re only as good as your last gig. And as if that’s not enough pressure to be dealing with you’re always aware – back in the recess of your tiny little mind – that you’re going to fail, sometime, somewhere. Probably more often than not. Let’s face it, you know you’re not always going to succeed, be a success. You know that good times come with bad. Worst of all is that when it comes you’ll only have yourself to blame.
So why do it?
Why choose to take it on?
Why decide to even attempt to make a living out of being independent?
Why not join up with the rest of the circus?
Sign in, sign out, take your holiday pay, your sick pay, get your life funded by the taxpayer and should they try to take it back or cut you down then claim the moral high ground and be damned. Care for no one. Now that sounds like a plan. Makes sense to me especially when I’m counting days towards my next maybe, perhaps, whenever, cheque.
But somehow I could never do it. Could never give in. I did for a while – a year and a half – and it was great but I’m not wired for it. It’s like an ill fitting suit. Like wearing shoes – I hate wearing shoes, don’t feel right in them. What does that mean?
I’m a contrarian
I want to rule my own planet
I want to make decisions about my life whenever I like
I don’t want to answer to anybody
I want to be able to tell people to fuck off whenever I like
I want to give as much as I like
I want to be able to act first
I want to write my own rules and change them everyday
I want to be free
I want to be independent
I want to make history, or at least give myself the chance too
I want to create all the time without consensus or debate
I want to be able to stand up and say that was because of me, for better or worse
I don’t want to be part of a system I want to create my own
I want to stay on my toes
I don’t want to become feeble minded or lazy
I want to stay young
Money is money. That’s all. It’s a method of transaction, a means for purchasing goods and services. Life is more important than that. Life is made up of fragmentary moments; luminescent, colourful, magical, singular, exquisite.
That is why I struggle on.
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