This year has felt more open with possibilities, more unexpected andunpredicted events. Some have had very unexpected outcomes. I am happier isuppose when things like this happen, it fills me with hope and optimism. When thingsare constricting, negative, difficult and there is no money to make any changeor difference, it’s good to be able to believe that the unexpected can happen. Andit does. There must have been many lonely years by myself up the glen withsmall children that nothing happened, no spark, no magic, no matter how ipushed and pulled to make things happen, I’d go years without meeting anyonenew, just work worry work, just getting by and getting slapped down for notconforming, or having a low income.
Financially now we are even more broke than before. But there is no way I will let something likemoney get me down ( well of course it does really ! ), the whole world isfacing an economic crisis, and i figure people like me who have lived outwithconsumer fads and greeds for years, have a role to play in illuminating the wayforward with non consuming based solutions. Folks laugh and comment on my 30yrold patchy trousers, but ha! Another year of the con-dem government and all thecool kids will be wearing them!
It’s been most surprising watching a whole newgeneration switching onto protest, to examining why capitalism is failing, whyour current lifestyles are not sustainable, why we need governance that istruely democratic and accountable to the people. More and more people arepicking up the themes that only outside minority cranks like me have beenbanging on about for 25+ years, community land ownership, scottish independence,recycling, repairing stuff, non oil based alternatives, locally produced food,trade and barter, traditional skills, crafts, the need for a fairer morecreative and vocational education system, nurturing local culture, minoritylanguages, social inclusion, a social based not capital based economy,permaculture, communities.. this is an endless list of hippy nonsense that i’vesat quietly on for a long time. But its great to see the concepts beingdiscussed in the main arena at last, and bright young things picking up thebanner and running with it.
In the early 90’s there was a thing called ‘phantom treeplanting’, you’d see itdiscussed in reforesting scotlands magazine ‘ the treeplanters guide to thegalaxy’ some of my illicitly planted trees hand grown from local seed, are nicebig mature trees now. Nowadays the same idea is called ‘guerilla…’ ratherthan phantom, we’re starting to see guerrilla art and crafts across the world (see also street art ), guerrilla gardening even. People are bypassing therules, regulations and money, going out there and doing things, because theyare good things to do.
This is sort of what my work is, i don’t really earn a wage from my labours,but it is the right thing to do, it does influence others, it does have apositive impact, and somehow we get by. It is hard to keep the faith but thisyear I’m meeting others working on the same premise, working on arts projects,community projects , woodlands projects, social enterprise projects, independentgalleries, etc- people ignoring the state funding tick-box hoop-jumping culturepeople just getting on with it, because it is the right thing to do. This isthe way forward through local and global austerity, people working together,just doing the right thing.
where do I go with my art in all this ? perhaps there will be a lull, a pause,a deep breath tomorrow and i’ll get some clarity to write about art stuff thati did in 2011 and where the path may head next? Perhaps things will still be wild and crazy, swirling like our Westerlygales.