The painter

‘Today Necessity is master, and bends a degraded humanity beneath its tyrannous yoke.’  (Friedrich Schiller, ‘On the aesthetic education of man.’)

Perhaps I will not adjust to ‘economic participation’ and will revert to some less respectable prostitution that will make no pretenses to ‘making a difference’ or appeals to higher callings of coming to the aid of the vulnerable.  Welcomed warmly to the world of adulthood, of early morning train commutes and torrents of emails, of hours of training on how to ignore emails, of sipping coffee from paper instead of porcelain, of meetings and stationery cupboards and paperclips and minimising ebay screens with the agility of a superhero, I am still myself at five years, dressing up in heels and playing Hotel with the computer and the phone, thinking about colours and imagining the glorious spread of a rainbow smeared across a sky blanketing a field of poppies and tulips and roses.

People admire my hobby, imagining, I suspect, me on a lazy Sunday afternoon slapping down a bit of blue, a bit of orange, smashing down a golden beer and stepping back to admire my little creation as if I’d satisfactorily glued together some pegs to cleverly construct a wishing well.

I suppose adult hobbies differ from child hobbies.  Child hobbies invariably involve PVA glue and sticky tape.  Adult hobbies involve uncooperative carburettors and designer crop tops and lightweight single-speed pushbikes made of titanium and kryptonite that cost more than a solid, if old, family car.  Only, these things tend to be deemed passions, or at least interests, worthy of taking up all leisure time, and would be a primary pursuit were work not the ultimate priority in every participating citizen’s life.  It’s only that ‘hobby’ sounds a little bit demeaning, something kept in the craft draw for rainy days when there isn’t much better to do.

I’ve dabbled in reprioritising, however prioritising is not about weight, but about time.  Because ultimately, that one to two hours a day you can set aside for your hobby / passion is drowned in the sheer weight of senselessness of the misspent previous eleven hours.  For this reason, I cannot wait to resume my humble casual career performing dirty mundane tasks for the immediate satisfaction of the hungry.  Because it pays the rent, but it doesn’t slowly strangle my life like ivy, suddenly swallow my life whole like a snake that unexpectedly dislocates its jaw, all the while praising my ‘creative talents’ in uncovering well-recognised statistical methods.  Seven months of Aesthetic Education.

Utility is the great idol of the age, to which all powers must do service and all talents swear allegiance.’  (F.S.)


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