I read with great interest and admiration that my friend Stuart Mayes has been blogging on a-n for ten years, and with a quick glance at my archive, realise that I’m coming up to my 6th anniversary this summer.
I think people are either avid bloggers or reluctant ones. To write consistenty for ten, or even six years, shows you have to love it. It wouldn’t be sustainable otherwise.
My Mum was a diarist, contemplated life at the end of every day, and wrote her thoughts privately, and in her latter years, made me promise to burn them without reading them. Which I did. Slightly regretfully, but if she thought it needed doing before someone got their hands on them, then that’s what had to be done! If she had been around in these times, I’m convinced it would all be out there for the world to read, as she would be blogging instead!
Other artists have said to me how they can’t be bothered, because either they have no work so nothing to blog about, or so much work they haven’t time to blog. I wonder how many stalled blogs are sat on a-n’s pages?
It has to fulfil a purpose.
When I started, a few months into my MA, it was my tutor, the wonderful, inspiring Mitra Memarzia who suggested I blog as part of my practice… probably because I talk too much and she thought it might give her a break!
At first it wasn’t part of my practice really, it was a tag-on thing in which I self consciously explored what I was supposed to be doing. I am not an intellectual person. I do struggle with big words. Epistemology and Ontology have to be looked up EVERY SINGLE TIME because I can never remember exactly what they mean, or sometimes which is which. I have a mental blank, and I’m usually pretty good with words! But hey ho, that’s what the dictionary is for right? I also realise with age, experience and confidence that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter …so I don’t give a shit anymore.
This has perhaps been the biggest change in my blog over those years. I don’t really care what many people think. My practice is mine. I don’t turn up at hateful trendy PVs unless I feel like it, or unless someone I like will be there. I have stopped badgering a certain gallery with unsuitable proposals, because I have realised I will probably never fit with their programme, and I’m ok with that.
I have realised that my practice isn’t like anyone else because I’m not like anyone else. Not only is that ok, it’s how it is supposed to be. I plough my own furrow.
The blog is part of my practice. My thoughts and ideas are guided by what I have written, and what I write, and the writing guides my making. I can’t now do one without the other. It is through my blog that I went through the stupid process of not believing that the songwriting was part of the art, and that I shouldn’t be doing the two at the same time in the same place. It was through blogging that I accepted, and now can’t believe I ever thought otherwise! In March, I am due to reprise the nine women installation, bras, songs, and performance. This time, a mere 18 months from the original performance I am no longer apologising for myself, or seeking justification. I now recognise that the songs and the singing of them is part of who I am, and is part of my all-encompassing practice.
To not sing the songs is a denial of the complete artist.
Here I include a link to a recording of “Delicate” as performed live at the original event. Thanks also due here to Dan Whitehouse, singer, songwriter, producer, mentor and musical hero.
It includes a bit of banter and cock-up as is usual when I perform… for more banter and cock-ups please come on 24th March!