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intro-retrospective

Stolen from swisstone

What were you doing in the Summer of....

1975?
1986?
1993?
1998?
2001?



In 1975 I was four. It was a hot summer; I was living in Ringwood. There were guinea-pigs in the back garden, two chickens (one called Sylvie) and a golden pheasant called Cecil, except I was too young to know about spelling then and thought he was called Sessel. I went to playgroup for the first time that year and didn't even glance back at my mum as I went to join in the fun (they were painting) something she still holds against me.

In 1986 I was fifteen. I was at Allhallows, a boarding school on top of a cliff in Dorset during the term, and working on my father's farm/in a local restaurant/doing jobs round the village during the holidays; years of Tory youth. Everybody had to be enterprising in the 80s. I hated the world, I hated myself, I hated everything. I'd got drunk for the first time the previous year, and had already decided that was the thing for me. It was also the year I tried out cigarettes and boys, and wasn't vastly impressed by either.

In 1993, the year after I graduated, I was twenty-two, living on Princes Street with Adrian, Damian and Dan, still unemployed, a point of pride at the time. I was doing the odd bit of art teaching, bringing home mad (bad-mad, not cool-mad) lesbians and having pervy parties. I was also realising that I wasn't going to make it; not as an artist, not as a permenant benefits whore, not as a lesbian. In that knowledge, I partied all the harder.

In 1998 I was living with my current and/or ex-boyfriend Colin and my friend Damian in the big house on Belvedere Road. It's all a bit blurry from this time; a mass of getting drunk, watching videos, and doing that thing that happens when two people who are furious with each other don't argue. In the autumn, I would finally get together with Matt, something I'd been meaning to do for years, but it was way too little, too late, and wouldn't make it through the following year.

In 2001 I had started the year temping, having lost my job at Oxfam the previous autumn. By the summer I was working for the council and hating every minute. It was something of a year of horror and pain, full of bad choices and confirmation of things I had felt were misanthropic prejudices. I went to Pride Mardi Gras, and decided I never wanted anything to do with gay society ever again, which was probably for the best. My "break" (from relationships, sex, etc.) had pretty much hardened into a lifestyle choice, and I was ill again, not with depression this time but spectacular migraines which blurred reality and left me incapable and strange. I did one good thing, though; I started going to gigs again.



The choice of years as made by someone else, but actually worked surprisingly well for me. Ha! My life as a failed artist and successful drunk.

Comments

( 9 worms — Feed the birds )
jinty
20th Sep, 2002 06:37 (UTC)
Failed? No.
I don't consider you a failed artist -- you don't make a living at it, which I assume is your criterion, but you keep working. You cannot stop, and you don't. And your stuff is great -- toy piccies (I consider them art), altered books, weekly strip, minicomics -- you live a life full of art.

Successful drunk, yes. It seems a bit sad. You do so much for the people around you, and you do receive back, but I'm not sure how the import/export ratio works and if it balances. Or if you want to push benefits outwards more than you want to receive them.

How's 2002 for you? I know I read your LJ and your TWS, but in a nutshell, summarized by the person living it?
cleanskies
20th Sep, 2002 07:03 (UTC)
Re: Failed? No.
Beats the fuck out of 2001.
general_jinjur
20th Sep, 2002 07:15 (UTC)
i was going to do the same thing here, but it got a little out of hand. so i guess i'll go put it in my own journal...
cleanskies
20th Sep, 2002 07:34 (UTC)
funny, that's exactly what happened to me ;)
Must... learn... to... control... my... autobiographical... urges...
general_jinjur
20th Sep, 2002 08:52 (UTC)
Re: funny, that's exactly what happened to me ;)
but aren't autobiographical urges what a journal is for?
crazycrone
20th Sep, 2002 11:07 (UTC)
FAILED Artist?
You be top-rank artist, Flo! I'm full of twisted envy for your gorjuss work.
cleanskies
23rd Sep, 2002 02:38 (UTC)
it was just a throw-away comment, not fishing
... really! :) Nor a statement of deep personal pain, either, [Bad username: jinty"]! The way things are at the moment I'm managing to live the life of the artist who doesn't care about anything else, and be happy with my wonderful friends, and have a decent job, and independence, and that's a good life, really.

But I can't help but wonder sometimes what things might have been like if I'd set out to just one thing properly.
crazycrone
23rd Sep, 2002 04:43 (UTC)
Re: it was just a throw-away comment, not fishing
Hm, I just don't understand why so many cream-of-the- croppy arty types (including moi, of course-)can't manage just a frugal living without doing draining 'real' jobs. Granted, yours doesn't sound all THAT bad. (ibook, eh?) It doesn't seem all that much to ask.
'Doing one thing properly' is one of my major agonies, too. Just can't manageit. In my writing group, they were saying I was such a fuckin' genius I should give up the toons, etc, and just write, but if I were a genius surely I shouldn't have to: how do you make a choice like that? Gibber...
cleanskies
23rd Sep, 2002 16:42 (UTC)
always at least half-hearted, usually more like 1/5 hearted
You should give up "x" and just do "y" -- pah! I want some hard facts about compensation for lost joy, first.
( 9 worms — Feed the birds )