Hobby Horse

Well Poppy Reed, what an interesting concept that a parent needs to guide a child away from her her chosen profession and into a career.
So being a musician is not a career then Poppy, or is a career for just the some?
Where would we be without career musicians like Dame Evelyn Glennie, who was undoubtedly told to find something more suited for a deaf person, like cleaning jam-jars in a jam-jar factory where the noise wouldn’t be a problem, and keeping her silly old percussion instruments as a hobby in her dads garden shed.
Or the careers of Flanders and Swan and the indestructible Ian Dury, who was told endlessly to keep his Polio ridden body out of the lime light – keep it as a hobby even, or even the very blind Ray Charles and the Big Daddy Stevie Wonder who went blind at twelve but still followed his heart much to the glee of millions of us.
The creative will always have problems supporting themselves as long as Society devalues the worth of the artist. As long as Society only sees merit in money making and deem anything cultural worthless.
This is what you wrote to me Poppy;
“The daughter needs to think of a career now. New direction while the youth is with her.
That is part of being a parent however hard it may be. Guide your children.
A person needs to be able to support themselves. That is life.
Music can always be a much loved hobby.”
Well Poppy here’s my reply, on my hobby horse…….
Were you guided to your profession by your parents Poppy? Have you guided your children into a sensible life?
The careers officer tried to guide me away from my profession, tried to tell me that I would never make it in such a precarious industry, tried to undermine me, tried to say that a safe career in banking or insurance or even the biscuit counter at Woolworths was a more worthwhile choice than acting. My mother, who supported me, gave the careers advisor short shrift.
“If thats what she wants to do that’s what she’ll so.’ said my passionate mother.
And so I did. Since I was 18 I have been playing, having fun, feasting, facing famine, but always living by the dream, my dream.
With the help of my parents, friends, more friends and family I eventually made a living. But then life was different back in the 60/70’s. We didn’t have successive Governments killing culture, tearing down cinemas, theatres, music halls to build more roads for more cars so that people can go to fewer and fewer jobs in soulless industries that drop you like flies when you turn 45…….
I was skint until I was 32. Had nowhere to live until I was 30. I learnt to survive on squashed tomatoes donated to me by the wonderful stall holders in Queens Street Market, learnt to surivive on friendship and dreams. l learnt to laugh and cry with other creatives and turned my ‘Hobby’ into a respectable career.
There are those of us Poppy, who live by the seat of our pants. Who take risks. There are those of us who are driven by our desire to make a difference with our life.
James Joyce, Charlie Chaplin, Cilla Black, Tracy Emin, Nina Conti, Grayson Perry even Katie Jordan Price.
What would we not have if Mr. Beethoven had told Ludvig to sell firewood, or Mr Mozart had told Wolfgang to tear up his little night music and keep his fiddling as a hobby and become a respectable greengrocer.
Those of us who don’t play safe and who have been guided by someone, whether it be a parent, teacher or God even, do some things that we think gives purpose to our litte lives.
Who guided you Poppy? Did they guide you into a life of fun? Are you happy with where you are?
If my daughter wants to be a musician living a life of struggle, with highs and lows, with money and without, if she wants to create and sing, laugh and perform, then I will support her to the hilt. If that makes me a bad parent then so be it.
Confucius he say: ‘Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’
Confucius also said: ‘It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.’
I blame our Coalition Government for frightening people into thinking that living a life counting their pay slips is more valuable than howling at the moon. What do you reckon Poppy?

6 thoughts on “Hobby Horse”

  1. Completely AGREE with you Jeni. I didn’t really pursue my dream because (while trying to make a living) I was supporting someone else’s dream (at the time my choice). Trying to support my own child’s dreams but the circumstances you refer to make that very hard other than to bolster hope.
    L xxx

  2. Goodness gracious. How dull life would be ,what an arid place, what a grey hued existence we would have were it not for the artists, dreamers and hopeful in this world. Poor Poor Poppy.

  3. How can anyone disagree with any of that?? Except maybe blaming the Coalition Government!.

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