I recently wrote an email to Rye News asking what the rates were to put an advert in for:
local handyman offering garden maintenance and hypoallergenic, eco-friendly domestic cleaning.
Apparently this got everyone at Rye News Towers hot under the collar talking about the plight of people (like me) working in the entertainment business having to reinvent their careers due to Covid and how they might help to promote my new services.
I was indeed humbled that such an esteemed publication would want to highlight the ‘plight’ of someone so famously unknown as I, but I also think it might be useful to talk about the context of words like ‘plight’ used to describe my situation.
Don’t get me wrong, Covid has already significantly changed all of our lives and made it very difficult for many where for some life was already hard. However, I have to admit that on the whole, Covid has been a bit of a blessing for me.
Despite the latent terror of leaving the house, the past seven months have made me realise how incredibly fortunate I am to be connected with and surrounded by such a supportive partner, family and friends.
I must now also state that the revelation that has been my own experience of Universal Credit is that shared by all those who need it, even though I suspect this isn’t the case. I also wish I was claiming universal income so I didn’t feel so bad about doing social work, I mean volunteering, working apparently for nothing beyond an inner, if odd sense of wellbeing and contentment at being compassionate and empathetic.
Surely there could be a sanctioned app, connecting voluntary services to the Home Office that you could simply check into. The powers that be would know who was ‘working’ to help who and where, not a million miles away from having an actual job.
Obviously the response is that people would dodge the system and take advantage of this which is not a million miles away from avoiding taxes at the other end of the economic scale. So if you balanced it out, I am sure the people who would want to do positive things would outweigh the suspicious minds, never mind even help the economy. However, I digress.
Work was always about creating a job
Regards the arts and entertainment industries, yes of course it’s a terrible situation. But it was never all tits and teeth hilarity and glamour in the first place. As a business it is madly competitive, harassing, exasperating, dull, exhausting and not particularly great for the environment either, much like any other business. It has some perks, if you how to find them, just like any other job. It depends what your motivation is.
The current situation could be an opportunity for the world of entertainment, as well as other commercial industries, to rethink their model of world domination. Unfortunately it looks like this isn’t happening, but at least now I realise the aim of what I do (or what my business does, depending on who I’m talking to).
For me, work was always about creating a job where I could be my own boss and which gave me the most free time to enjoy what I love most, which is pottering about. One day, it just so happened that a whimsical, hilarious, gentle and thoughtful if bewildering bearded drag lady with a penchant for art history and environmentalism entered my life and I am eternally grateful to Timberlina for this.
Yes, getting into the business they call show can sweep you up in that swirl of competitive egotism, suspicion and resentment… just like any job. But what if I were to break down what I do in terms of being an artist and what that means?
For me, being a artist (sic) or just being creative is about thinking outside the box and finding one’s own way, not conforming to the conventions of established norms. I have been like this for as long as I can remember and Covid presented me with the opportunity of time away to reconnect with my instinct for compassionate resourcefulness and childish delight. Upon further reflection this oddly has echoes of ‘keep calm and carry on’, or ‘make do and mend’, but I don’t really care, I’m good in a crisis and pretty good at being self-sufficient when nature calls. My friends tell me I have an okay sense of humour.
We need to celebrate creativity
That said, of course we need laughs and we need them in real life. We need entertainment and we need that LIVE. We also need an education system that celebrates the importance of creativity. Currently, all creative syllabuses are under threat by a government who also believes that resourcefulness is a corporate strategy for capitalising on any given eventuality. Anyway, I digress again.
I am not enamoured with online platforms and taking my performance and making money there doesn’t appeal at all. Initially, I wondered if this was laziness but really it just doesn’t inspire me although it did afford me a nice new pair of shorts at the beginning of the summer. Maybe my feelings will change as I start looking for other things to do, but it feels too self-obsessed at a time when our radar should be fixed on on the welfare of those nearest and dearest to us?
Re-inventing careers isn’t just about money
So while re-inventing careers is tricky and yes Covid has been devastating for the arts and entertainment industries as it has for so many others. It is, as the cliché goes, not all about the money, it’s about recognising one’s sense of self in the world and the importance of that world and those around you.
Get in touch
Meanwhile, assuming Covid restrictions allow, if you do have any domestic undertakings, gardens maintained or other odd jobs, songs written, or online art lectures given, get in touch for a friendly chat. Rates are competitive and who knows, for a little extra you might even get to meet Timberlina. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Credits: Justin David , Ren Brocklehurst , John Minter .