A cash poor, creatively rich life: Freedom is spelled T-I-M-E 

I have no TV and no smart phone.  But they are what they are,.. and they are here to stay.  I can't begrudge those that use them because these days, that's most everyone.   I wonder though, every single day in fact, how are people are experiencing culture through these devices,...or not?  Are we decent? Should we start to draw up some kind of ground rules for what's acceptable behaviour with these digital leashes especially in the sphere of performance?  Does it go without saying? Because I feel compelled to bring it up.  On the whole, devices seem to be the opposite of freedom; a trapdoor that allows a digital gravity to take over where we fall into limited spaces in our imaginations,  or rather, the imaginations of other people.  And it exhausts us.  Where  would that energy be better spent? I've made a choice not to have a smartphone for a lot of reasons but one is because as a performer I watch people watch things through their phones and not with their hearts,.. their faces lit up in digital glow, their eyes dim.  It's nice to have a nice video,.. but it's the scientific principle:  you can't observe something without changing it. and in some ways It's rude.  But it's more rude to take a picture of someone and not to tip them.  It's also rude to film a song or performance and not ask if it's ok,..and not offer to send the artist a link before posting.  This seems like common sense,.. but apparently we need to start building into high school curriculum,.. because it's more often the younger generation that's abusing this big brother power,. and that is most certainly what it is.  Power.  But to what end?  Without emptiness, space, boredom there is nothing to counter, and it would seem that we are forced less and less to confront our feelings, and this place of confrontation is where true creativity emerges.

is unconditional financial support what artists need?  
.....or would we all become heroin addicts and make shit art?
I had a student just come back from Cuba recently and when I asked her to spill about how incredible the music was she said "they're poor,.. but they're not." and from from there we got into a discussion about time and this realisation that if I had been born in Cuba, I probably would have played piano instead of banjo but more importantly, I would have gotten the opportunity to prove to a jury at some point that the government owes me a living.  I would be paid to exist, with the internal logic that I will devote all my time to my art (which artists there do, and pretty guilt-free, as I understand),..according to the guardian "Cuba's support for the arts should make us weep with envyand it's evident in how they play; It's magic.  Once you have proved proficiency to make your life a life of study in music or  your art, you are supported without question.  This concept of paying artists to exist is an unheard of idea in most of the rest of the world, but since Cuba has no real aim to participate in capitalism at large,.. and one of it's only unique exports is music, it makes sense artists would thrive.  But can it make sense elsewhere?. Incidentally, musicians are some of the only people allowed to travel elsewhere and there is a great pride is what they do and how they represent Cuba. Herein lies the secret about just how 'not poor' Cuba is - rich with culture and music but above all?  Time.  They have time and without it you can't make music.  In fact, arguably, it's the only essential ingredient to making music apart from passion.  And it's better, note-ably better in Cuba, because while people might not have money,. they really have a lot more energy and time to sing, play and be together.  Most people I've talked to who visit say they seem to have a higher happiness quotient overall,.. but it's a world turned on it's head to us  -and of course has it's own problems because socialism is bad,.. right? YES. Keep eating your chemical sprayed snacky-munch, peasants! And whatever you do, don't ask questions.
 
Buy! Buy! Buy!  Sell, Sell, and sell yer soul while yer at it.

It's hard to think this far north, while it's snowing in April that we're west of anywhere, but it's about lifestyle, right? Here in the western world we live life differently.  So differently, it's worth examining why. I suppose it's elemental because for one, we survive the weather.  one kind of poverty replaces another because leaving people out in the cold,. it's not cool. It's super cold.  We gather in pubs with varying degrees of a quality brew on tap and spend all the money we have in the warm glow of banter. We have little free time. We are suspicious of strangers.  We protect our interests. We care about collecting stuff and buying things.  Familiar in the way that contracting the flue is familiar.  What can you do but let it run it's course? It's always going to run it's course,... until one day it kills us of course! btu more to the point, we live in a society that values money and the accumulation of money as the most important thing. and this is reflected in legislation because should you not happen to not be a citizen you are living a very precarious life.  The rug can be swept up from under your feet at any moment.   Social workers, teachers, parents, artists and the lot of you  low payed nurses,.. Get Tae.. you are not welcome.  Your worth is £ sign, and nothing more.  If the Tories immigration plan of late is any indication of where we're headed at a society in Britain, the future is grim.  just now parliment is trying to require just now that Non-EU folks married to Brit nationals need to make 35,000K per year to stay,.. no matter if you have dedicated your life to your children, your art or something other than money.  But hey,... who am I to question the powers that be,.. just human,.. and one with no capital.  Here's one of many articles on the topic you may want to read as this newly suggested legislation is sociopathic.  Straight up psycho http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/12/eu-workers-deported-earning-less-35000-employees-americans-australians
 

Got Milk? That biology that also equals less time 

I nursed Harlen a long time.  longer than I feel comfortable telling anyone about in mixed company, because people are pretty judgy about that sort of thing. But this essay is about time. I had the gift of time to do this then because of the supportive German government which provided me, a freelance musician mother, support and then childcare without question.  I hope the rest of the world begins to look at the gender equality in Germany, Denmark, Scandanavia and parts continental Europe and start to put into legislation as they have done.  (I'm looking at you, Britain, -USA!)  It's really made such a massive positive impact on my life and that of our son's, I can't really put it into words.  But one comes to mind; that's what Harlen called it.  "mama, can I have some time?" he would say,...  yes.  have all the time you want.  As a result, he minds me very well.  He's never thrown a tantrum.  He's a very independent boy now and he HAS to be, because our life in music makes sure he's able to handle almost any situation.  Of course, this also means I can't provide for him the things that other parents can.  We don't have the luxury to put our son in a loads of classes,. in part because I cannot actually chauffeur him around (no car) OR actually afford them (we're delightfully poor!) But Still,.. I still, WE still need to simplify our life. Harlen, bless him,  has more time than other kids to do nothing,..and with that nothing I am in a constant state of amazement as what he does.  From  'boredom" comes his creativity.  lookin at him I know,... if we constantly busy ourselves, we never hear what our hearts want us to do.  His heart is really big, needs lots of crayons, time outside playing, and loads of cuddles.  I make him practice guitar for 15 min a day,.. somtimes,.. but I'm no tiger mom.  I don't reckon Prince had a Tiger mom,.. so I'm gonna risk it.   I just want him to be happy and be happy myself.  It's easy, when you know how.

Time is money, but money will never give you what time does

The artists and musician pals in my life, some -academic genuises performing essential tasks, others,  -dreamy songwriters head in the clouds, intuitive harmonies, and the rest bouncing happily in the spectrum between the two trying hard every day to find time to make the best sound they can. The world seems pretty rigged against us, and no matter how hard we work we still can't seem to manage to find time. The common frustration I hear from everyone is that, we all wish we had more time to actually just play and experiment, practice and create. So how come living a life dedicated to music, making monies from music we struggle with having the time to be creative?   At costs to our sanity, relations, personal maintenance and core beliefs we strive to continue to inspire in the environment in which we exist, an environment that isn't really suited towards offering us this time.  An environment that regards our pursuit of this time as decadent indulgence an dI think that attitude has to stop. It's a herculean job just to convince our 'benefactors' that we deserve this time,..and there goes our time, time that would have been better spent practicing.  Perhaps it's even ironic to spend the time telling you about it,.. because someone else just picked up my boy from the park, and now would be the perfect time to get in touch with my self away from this glowing screen,...  But let's be clear about something. Even in a world where there is loads of free time,. very few people still have the discipline to be an artist of any type.   It's not an indulgence and it's not for everyone. Individuals that require this time should be supported to create without scrapping from hand to mouth because it is so hard to live and create at the same time.  It will improve society. It will improve the world at large.   I guess just like everybody else,. we live in a world that requires us to reply instantly, be available now,....so there goes that time (i'll give that a healthy 30%).  We also live in a world of high rents and high costs which results in a lot of us taking work and even musical-work that we might not otherwise.   At the moment.  I'm in a simplifying phase of my life... and I'm willing to risk being poor to be rich in another way.  That's the only choice there is.  Poor and happy,.. and some days - lucky.

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