Another dreamer in capitalism’s maw.
The reason I’m always late is capitalism sucks.
The time from our lives and our life from the Earth.
If I could just scrabble to the top of it, if only momentarily, just to get a little room to breathe, then I could stop. A last gasp before we all run out of air.
But thats not how it works. And that is exactly how it works. The dangled carrot.
Doesn’t matter if we work in an animation studio or a bank, not really. We don’t have any choice to opt out. So on we grind. Try to make our kitchens nice, our nests soft; fortify a sanctuary against the hot howling wind of it.
I’ve always known this, deep down. You probably have too. We all know all of it.
I’ve tried at times to get into it, get through it, to lead, to supervise, to direct. I have little patches of success, but deep down inside, my hearts never really been in the game.
Because I don’t believe in it. I don’t buy it.
It’s so heartening to write this. I am not a creative director because its all bullshit.
This isn’t meant lightly, or flippantly.
I’ve had some real dark nights of the soul over this stuff. Why can’t I be a director? Why can’t I be happy with my lot? Will this client work ever stop? How come this is getting harder, not easier, as I get inexorably older? Why am I getting older as my colleagues seem to get inexorably younger? Where did everyone go? Please can we stop now, just for a little bit?
As you’ll see from some of my other writing, I’ve spent 20 years trying to climb a greasy pole, I’m as damaged by perceived slights and the nuance of my imagined status as any other ego. Its not for the want of trying, but it has never quite felt right. Its not very taoist is it, but I’ve just kept on banging my head against the same implacable wall. The wrong wall.
A year ago, I thought art may be the answer. May be. Maybe if I’d been making more of it, maybe on twitter a bit less that might have been the case. Maybe. I doubt it.
I’ve always tended to be a devoted fan kind of artist. You tend to adore what I do, which isn’t much or often, or just not quite get it. And that’s fine: I’d prefer 10 stalwarts to 500 dickheads.
But this isn’t really about me or my art. Or even my Art. It’s about this next bit. What is this next bit? It’s amazing to see Beyoncé advocate for work / life balance, and every two bit Guardian hack seems to be thinkpiecing the Great Resignation. They keep trying to get that to stick don’t they?
But as for the rest of us. The proles. The service workers. The dreamers. Those who didn’t buy a shitty flat in our 20’s, because we didn’t believe in capitalism.
What do we do next? The more you know it and the deeper you feel it, the harder it becomes to pay lip service to this shit.
To keep phoning it in, ever resentfully, as we burn away our lives.
There is no neat conclusion here. It’s a work in progress. I just run out of steam and stop writing eventually. Coming next week - another unresolved missive about Art, House music and Capitalism.
For years I would struggle how to title myself, on things like biogs and websites. I would write things like animator | compositor | designer, or direction | animation | illustration. Always kind of slightly stiff, a bit formal even. Should I write them alphabetically or in the order I want to do them? My peers wrote things like ‘I draw stuff’, or ‘director’. I just never had that confidence, that surety. Of the three things I tended to go with, two I didn’t want to do anyway and only one would tend to pay me. At times it’s felt like fishing with 3 nets.
The honest truth is it never even occurred to me just to write Artist. Because I’d already been filed into the minutiae of which specific sub division of commercial artist I actually was, and which I hoped to be. The Jungian gap between the real self and the idealised self, is where madness tends to lie.
I’ve latterly settled on this.
“Another dreamer in capitalism’s maw.”
The generation after mine, and the one after that, seemed to inherit the worst of these yuppie era affectations of job title as identity, yet weaponised into something darker by technology and side hustle culture. The harnessing of natural human envy into inevitable social media burnout. Honestly these poor millennials, a generation stranded between the death throes of aspirational consumerism, zero hours contracts, and the tacit knowledge they’ve got less than a bite of the carrot. Half eaten. Illusory. A heritage industry.
But this next lot, the kids of today, are now dreaming up projects like Just Stop Oil. They’re starting instagram accounts like Team Quit This Job and No Hour Work Week, joyfully, with the zest of life still being lived afresh. Not the rancour of missed opportunity and status envy.
As the real bright stars of the future, ones to watch under 30, young guns indeed, they seem to be genuinely over it.
Like a previous relationship, the only way we’ll ever be able to get over capitalism is when we genuinely stop caring about you.
We all need to move on with our lives with passion and focus.
Let’s all drop out with vehemence, not with apathy.