This week various official bodies have unveiled statements about youth unemployment. I'm not going to get too specific here, but the 1 million figure has been bandied around a lot. Which makes me feel very grateful for my job. It could however make you feel pretty shit if you are one of the 'Lost Generation' of sixteen to twenty-five year-olds in the UK either without a job or without any distinct career opportunities. There's all this internship scheme shit going round again as with the Labour Government - which apparently was a success to some degree, but I was never aware of it's practical existence or affects - but, for now, the forecast looks pretty bleak.
If you are lucky enough to be a young person with a job that you do not hate or even like - congratulations. I am genuinely jealous of you. Perhaps this job you even consider a career? Maybe one day I too will be getting paid more than pittance or drinks vouchers for writing and illustration.
Especially if you are a creative person you do not need to be told that getting paid for what you love doing is already hard. Now it is particularly hard. If you don't want to feel alone in this feeling then I recommend THIS.
Recently I have been feeling particularly disillusioned with everything. Perhaps I should give up my dreams and become an accountant or something and let my ideas dissipate off into the shitty little wood-paneled office I'd work in with an undertone of bitter passive aggression. But perhaps this is what your twenties are for, right? Wandering around the Earth without anything weighing on your shoulders. Going traveling, not having responsibilities and so on ... This idea seems almost as romantic as the portrait of dying Marat. Only less blood stained. Maybe shitty jobs and numerous sexual encounters with strangers is the way to happiness. (Maybe it is also the way to great writing ... ??)
A while a go I went to a theatre festival in Prague. There, a very well respected and successful scenographer talked about her career (and also a collaboration with Take That). Her concluding statement on making it in The Arts was, 'Yeah - keep trying ... and be lucky.' Which is probably the best advice you can give, unless you know someone who's uncle works for someone blah blah blah. Alexander McQueen was on the dole for two years after graduating from Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, putting on his own shows in abandoned warehouses and churches, his mum making sandwiches for the models (do models actually eat at all?) before becoming famous for his provocative fashion ideas and very very successful. He just kept trying and was lucky, I suppose.
This advice keeps reoccurring when famous artists are questioned on how they became successful: despite everything, they just didn't give up. In fact, with all this shit going on, it's quite nice to have something solid to hang onto. And isn't that a fantastic merit of art? When all the world falls away you still have this special, personal way in which to decipher and deal with it. Maybe if the bankers were all part-time oil painters we might be someway closer to understanding WHAT THE HELL THEY DID WITH ALL OUR MONEY?!
Or something. Anyway, keep doing it. Don't let the bastards get you down, and all that shit.