This is a question I have faced often in my life.
‘‘What makes you so special? I suffer, play the game, earn the money, Why don’t you?’’
Artists and entertainers lead short and difficult lives, fighting a constant battle between willingness to create and the system they are born into. Their internal monologue says ‘Make things’ and external pressure says ‘be a cog. Get married. Own a house. Conform.’
I am an Atheist, and a Nihilist. I was not put here by a god or by fate, I exist in this time and this place purely by accident, and my time is limited. I have been shown, by TV, Movies, and society, that money and compliance is everything.
But I just don’t feel it. All I want to do is make stuff. I want to wake up, when I like, and follow my imagination and creative impulses as I feel. I want to entertain more than anything, to give people the feeling I have when I experience great art. I want to make Music, Comedy, Write, and make films (one day!) because in my mind these are the only things I deem to be of true importance.
The fact that humans as a species can conjure up magnificent myths, sounds and physical objects using just the power of imagination is for me the ultimate activity any self aware being can partake in.
This, of course, provides a challenge in the world I live in. Much as I have little respect for it’s hierarchy and where it places it’s importance, I am forced by the ‘Noble Lie’ to comply with it’s structure and systems. I was not born into money, and that makes my job all the harder.
Good art takes time. Shows take planning, and a huge amount of trial and error goes into creating something ‘good’ and understanding the form you wish to create in. although I earn less per month than say, a banker or a Lawyer, or mechanic, I would put money on the fact that I spend more of my waking day contemplating what I do than them. My ‘Job’ is not a lifestyle, something discarded at the end of the day. I don’t have hobbies. My existence is making things. to get good at doing that, I consume things made by other people. I don’t think I have had a true ‘Day off’ since I started thinking like this as a teenager.
I work. every day. People don’t see all of it (in fact, they probably only see about 10%) but the bits they do see have been crafted, and honed, and are a culmination of a lifetimes worth of absorbed, remixed and interoperated art.
I genuinely don’t worry if other people like it, or how much money it makes. All I care is that it exists, and once it does, I move on to the next thing. then, all I care about is that existing. Probably no one will care, but I did. that thing I made, was the most important thing in the world to me during it’s creation. I make things, every day.
My favourite projects I’ve made have all made me the least money, but are undeniable snapshots of my thoughts, feelings and experiences in the period of their creation. My band’s album, My comedy special, My upcoming radio show and my EPs I made during lockdown are me.
In summary, no one ever worried about how much money John Lennon made in a month, but his work will be there forever. Although I’ve long accepted I’ll never be famous, I hope people in the future get at least a fraction of the joy I got making the thing when they experience it. And if they don’t, I didn’t fail, because my only goal was to take something that existed solely in my head, and make it something that exists in the world.
My time is mine. You think I’m going to give up any of my very limited hours to you to do something neither of us really care about to make some dude I’ll probably never meet richer? No way!
That is why I’ll never get a ‘Real job’