Age, art, and other stuff

Meet Me at the AlbanyHowdy, readers. It’s Sunday afternoon when I write this – why do Sunday afternoons always come round so quickly? I’m really keen to stick to my ‘once a week’ blog regime, but finding it hard already. Not that I’ve had such an action-packed weekend or anything, quite the opposite in fact. I really admire people who post several times a week, although if I didn’t have to worry about illustrations it would be a little easier. Anyway, enough moaning. It will be Monday morning by the time I post this, and the start of another full-on week, so let’s just enjoy a bit of Sunday afternoon downtime writing my blog, listening to music and drinking tea.

I’ve had a good week, my first real week of work! I’ve had stuff on every day, which isn’t bad considering I’m a bona fide freelancer now. I also officially registered myself as self-employed this week with HMRC, just to make sure I don’t get caught out in terms of tax. Although, happily, my earnings will be well below the tax threshold this year so I don’t need to put anything aside just yet. My finances are a little out of kilter at the moment due to the  Weeks of Not Earning Anything over December and early January – but I’m going to try my best to get out of my overdraft soon. I’m generally good with money, and unlike pretty much everybody else in the UK I am lucky enough to not usually be in debt. So January and February are going to be slightly belt-tightening until I regain my financial equilibrium, at which point I might even start saving again.

On Tuesday, I experienced my first Meet Me at the Albany day in Deptford. Described by journalist Tanya Gold as a ‘tiny fragment of paradise’ in a recent issue of the Arts Council’s Create magazine, Meet Me is a wonderful flurry of music, knitting, modelling clay, paints, paper, poetry, laughter and cheekiness. Although my role doesn’t cover the day-to-day running of the programme, it was inspiring to see it in action and meet some of its members.

Age treats people very differently. My mother and her husband, for instance, go on thousand-mile cycling and camping holidays across Europe every year. They work; go to lectures; prune trees; attend poetry and hiking clubs; travel; and go to the opera. On Tuesday I met people of their age, even a little younger in some cases, who have to cope with multiple physical and cognitive disabilities. ‘Over-60s’ is a very wide category, and it covers a whole spectrum of people: different backgrounds, education, personal circumstances and health. Meet Me at the Albany brings all those people together to make art. And the artists leading the programme use the Meet Me sessions to inform their own practice: it’s a creative symbiosis that benefits everyone. My job is to develop the team of volunteers who help to run the programme so that they also get the most out of their involvement. They’re a pretty extraordinary bunch of people so that shouldn’t be too difficult.

I also officially started my new freelance stint with Blast Theory last week. Even though the Brighton weather properly whooped my ass on my way to their studios, frankly I was very pleased not to be on a delayed train to London Bridge and instead to be the agent of my own propulsion, as it were. I’m going to be working on a couple of fundraising strands, which is very exciting. Also, they have just published the crowdfunding guide I wrote for them to capture all the things we learnt during the Kickstarter campaign last autumn. It’s good to see it all nicely presented and laid out. If you know anyone considering crowdfunding, please share the link with them!

I hope you all had good weeks too. Has your start to the year been ok? Let me know, I always love to hear from you.

Oh, and I keep meaning to do this but I’m going to put a little thing under my posts from now on to let you know where to find me on Facebook and Twitter. I feel slightly like I am tweeting into the void at the moment, so why don’t you join me so I can tweet in your lovely faces instead.



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