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  • Jamie McCarthy

Tired.

Updated: Jun 17, 2020

30th July 2017.


Tired of the snobbery. Tired of having to negotiate decent wages and working conditions on every new job. Tired of elitism. Tired of the supremacy of ‘excellence’. Tired of it not being seen as a deal when the fee you submitted for the funding application is reduced by a third when it comes down to the actual project. Tired of large, well-funded organisations delaying payment of invoices. Tired of the prioritising of status over art. Tired of being expected to be a business-person as well as an artist. Tired of evaluations. Tired of the business model. Tired of the incredible class bias of the arts. Tired of being told the incredible class bias of the arts is not really that significant. Tired of exploitation and controlling behaviour being described as artistic vision. Tired of only people with some kind of private financial support being able to be artists anymore. Tired of the cultural fucking industries. Tired of the self-aggrandisement of artists as a special kind of being, somehow superior to the general populace. Tired after thirty years of working as an artist of being asked to work for free for 'exposure' ... people can die of exposure you know. Tired of losing my personal life for the period of a project and then being ill afterwards because of the strains of the project, but not having sick pay, so having no money coming in. Tired of organisations completely relying on the work of freelancers, but not willing to support their survival in any way. Tired of having made music in the same theatre for the last thirty years, yet when I do, barely being acknowledged for it. Tired of coming away from performances for the kids of rich people and feeling like I'm just another servant for their privileged offspring. Tired of the welfare state as a support for those in need and a last resort for unemployed artists being decimated. Tired of white middle-class able-bodied men being prioritised over everyone else. Tired of white middle-class able-bodied people men griping about how hard they work when they are the recipients of privilege. Tired of freezing cold rehearsal spaces in contrast to warm offices. Tired of being seen as troublesome when I argue about working conditions and rates of pay that would be seen as scandalous in a regular job. Tired of salaried staff not seeing it as important that I get paid when it was agreed. Tired of it being a problem when you look out for a student as a human being rather than a consumer unit. Tired of the student as customer. Tired of higher education being a big scam to get money out of young people and leave them in debt. Tired of tick boxes. Tired of there being money for big presentation boards about the project, but not for paying the artists a decent wage. Tired of being asked to be involved in a project to just do what I do because they just love what I do and then being told what to do. Tired of people asking me to give them examples of my work and some blurb about myself for possibly being involved in the creation of a piece and then them not bothering to tell me when they decided they’re working with someone else. Tired of long-term collaborators not thinking it’s worth just sending me a little word as a courtesy when they decide to work with someone else on this project. Tired of a music budget not being set aside when someone wants a piece with music running throughout it. Tired of being told that what I consider to be an unfinished piece of work is fine – I’m just underestimating how good my work really is – ‘No really. Don’t put yourself down. We think it’s perfect for what we need’. Tired of never having made much of a living wage and at the age of 52 wondering if it’s just me. Tired that the only opportunity to earn more is to do less of what I’m good at and more of what I neither like nor am good at. Tired of being told how skilled, sensitive, ‘talented’ (whatever that means) I am and what beautiful music I write, yet not being paid enough to support all those things. Tired of the sneaking feeling that it’s all my fault because I’m just not good enough and have been fooling myself all these years. Tired of being judged and of judging. Tired of losing the plot when there’s no work and no money. Tired of constantly feeling like my working life is more like being in a shit competition. Tired of being told that if only I changed my mindset I would be more successful. Tired of the blaming of societal sickness on the failings of the individual. Tired of arts ‘education’ and ‘community’ projects that are really ways of securing funding and / or making an organisation look good. Tired of hearing that if you just try harder / think differently / work on being grateful / stop focusing on the negative / eat kale / open it up to thefuckinguniverse everything will come right. Tired of hearing that everything happens for a reason. Tired of hearing that quitting is for losers. Tired of no pain, no gain. Tired of ‘the magic happening when you get out of your comfort zone’. Tired of mindfulness for corporate success. Tired of six weeks of CBT to make everyfuckinthingbetter for everyone. Tired of curationism. Tired of free-range meat, because we don’t want to defile our holy temples with chemicals and bad karma. Tired of comforting women’s institute wank-off bake-offs turned into emotional fuckfests. Tired of property porn. Tired of the ritual humiliation of the less privileged for mass entertainment. Tired of business arseholes in their studio ‘den’ who think they’re (oh for fuck’s sake) dragons. Tired of bullying competition panels poisoning the joy of dancing. Tired of the demonisation of working-class fat people and the mass profits of the junk-food industry. Tired of ‘that offends me’. Tired of the smiling, polite, caring faces of the middle classes as they fuck you over in the service of their overlords (using the appropriate politically correct language as they do so). Tired of polite arseholes. Tired of work being touted as somehow morally good. Tired of the fetishisation of productivity.

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