Yesterday I made the first move in blogging again with a statement that I’m on the cusp of a big adventure. But why? This morning I opened my Facebook to a memory of a status I posted two years ago that made sense then, but not now. Context, that’s the key. So, context to my adventure:
For the past however-many years I have raved to anyone who would listen that I had my own production company and I was making creative work and one day we’d do really big things. In the past year myself and my awe inspiring partners (don’t tell them I said that) really set our sights on the big things, clarifying the dream and beginning to run at it. No, we didn’t know what in high hell we were doing, and we spent a while trying to find the path whilst all the time pushing the dreams and goals to bigger and better heights. To this day there’s still a part of us that is clueless, but the one thing becoming an adult has taught me is that we all are a little clueless all the time. So we’ll be alright.
We really set our eyes on creating great work and opening a building, and I had pretty much decided to give up on everything else other than that dream when I got a call from a very certain Scotsman…
In late November 2017 I received a phone call I didn’t expect asking me to interview for a job in London. Up until this point I had assumed my application wasn’t successful and had moved on, but the Scotsman asked me to interview the next day. By happenstance I would be in town so I accepted. He wasn’t anything like I’d expected (he did wear the jumpers I’d imagined him wearing though) and he offered me the job on the spot. Suddenly I was going to be living in one of the biggest cities in the world, and I started work in two days’ time.
Stress doesn’t really cover what the next month was. Christmas in hospitality and events is hard enough. In a new job in a new city in a new everything and sleeping on a friend’s couch… Baptism by fire sums up about half of it. But I was at the beginning of a great adventure.
During my interview for the job I stated outwardly that I was a creative person who made and would continue to make creative work across all platforms. I had learned the hard way in my previous job to never hide who you really were, and I’m sure my job hunt lasted as long as it did because I refused to be anything but me in my applications (though with fewer swear words, to make a good impression and such…). My new boss seemed altogether on board. I tested that onboard-ness a month later when I pitched doing a show in our pub’s secret cellar bar. Everyone (including a part of me) said I was insane to make that ask that early into my contract, but none of my successes ever came from me being anything other than me: ballsy, blunt and relentlessly creative. That’s how, at the age of 20, I started my own company and how, by 23, I sold out my shows at the biggest international arts festival in the world (not that I’m bragging or anything. But I am proud, as I should be). These traits are generally clumped together to form the phrase ‘a little bit insane’. So that’s what I was when I took the job, and when I asked if I could put on a show downstairs in our bar. And I got a definitive ‘yes’.
Jones‘ didn’t sell out, but it did inspire, enthuse and enthral everyone who came to see it. To me, it was therapy, and it was me taking my life back. An old friend from the times when I was at my most ‘a little bit insane’ was involved in the project. We hadn’t seen each other for years, but he said that although I’d grown, I ‘haven’t changed’. Truth is I had, and I’d lost my kind of crazy, but through the past few months, and epitomised by Jones’, I had found it again. And I have no intention of losing it again.
Jones’ was also my first ever London show. London. LONDON! It was the first show I’d written solo, it was the first immersive show I had directed, it was the first show I’d charged a decent ticket price for… it was a success.
It was also the first major step in this ballsy, blunt, relentlessly creative and crazy adventure both me and two of my favourite people are on.
And I want to write about it.
So here I am, restarting a blog I love, writing about a thing I love, balls-ily, bluntly and relentlessly. Seems like something Carrie Fisher would be proud to have inspired.
So, to getting One Foot in the Door and questioning why I put this on the internet,
Last Minute Business Jem
What got you to where you are now? Have you ever done something totally mad and it’s put you on your right path? Tell me your story in the comments section below. I can’t wait to read them!