I’ve had a few days to rest and reflect on the exhibition preview and the launch gig.
The preview was the biggest I’ve ever been to. And monumentally bigger than any art event I’ve ever been part of. I was glad to be there and it was important I was there and felt part of it. Surrounded by it.
It was crowded though, and hot. Two of my least favourite conditions. It was at times claustrophobic – even in the huge gallery space. I swallowed down a couple of impulses to bolt. It was challenging. It was lovely though to see my friends there, my peers, and to feel part of this, and feel that I belonged… for fleeting moments at least. I do feel the work is right on the wall. But I still feel a little uncomfortable in this environment… a little shy… I talk to the people a know and I sip my apple juice and check out routes to the exits. This isn’t the place where I am socially comfortable… I feel a bit inept.
I had said I would stay to hear speeches and then leave for my next engagement, only to discover I had missed them completely because there was no calling together, no amplification. I was not in the right place at the right time at all. I had been excluded by circumstance. So, slightly disappointed but basically feeling that I’d been put in my place and that such speeches were not for the likes of me anyway… I left under a cloud of imposter syndrome and made my way outside into fresh air and headed over to the other side of Birmingham.
Still hobbling a bit, with the aid of a stick I have sworn to myself is temporary, I was concerned about parking close by. As we drove down the high street, I spotted the venue on the right, just as a car pulled out of a parking space on the left. My heart beat settled a little, and we arrived just in time to see the end of the first half, and to get a drink. In a much smaller group I felt comforted and loved. I had time to catch my breath, get comfortable and chat during the interval. I was physically and metaphorically hugged.
We did the best set I think we’ve done for ages. It was well received, I was relaxed, in control, and in the words of Elliot Smith
“In the place where I make no mistakes*
in the place where I have what it takes,”
* apart from forgetting the words occasionally, but I’m getting better at it, and nobody seems to mind that much