My main creative outlet outside of this blog is a performance night I run in Leeds. Every detail of this is done by me, from the concept (an inclusive, welcoming space to celebrate the underrated artform of dirty storytelling) all the way through to MCing the night to build the right atmosphere.
I don’t run this event to make money, if I can create a space I’m proud of and walk away having covered the room hire then I’m happy. I love running this event with all my heart, but I won’t deny that it takes a fair amount of work to make it run smoothly.That’s why interactions like the one I had at a local event yesterday piss me off so much.
Generic white guy (GWG) walks up to me at the bar. “Oh you do that Cocktails and Fuck Tales thing don’t you?”
“Yes I do” this happens semi-regularly to me, already my brain is shifting into Informative/Soft Selling Event Organiser mode.
“I’d like to go to that, but the pricing seems a bit prohibitive.” I pause for a moment as he says this.
“Well if you book in advance it’s only £6, and we also offer £5 tickets for people on limited incomes” I say, trying not to look too pointedly at the craft beer in his hand that costs approximately the same. I’m on water, I can’t afford the drinks here.
“I don’t know, it seems like a lot to pay just to watch some people make jokes, maybe you should consider lowering the price.” GWG’s eyes watch me greedily. At this point I make my excuses and leave him, I wish I hadn’t. This is what I wish I’d said.
“Fuck you. Performing isn’t easy. The people who get up onstage often put hours of work into preparing for a 15 minute slot. But you can’t see that. You don’t see the hours I put in each month gathering together performers, advertising, dealing with problems. You don’t want to know about the stress I deal with every month about whether or not I’ll make a loss and have to pay for it out of my own pocket. All you can see is me asking for the price of a couple of drinks. And you think that’s unfair. Unfair for me to give the people who open their hearts (and filthy minds) a few pounds as thanks for helping the event exist. Unfair for me to make back the money I risked to set up the event. Unfair for me to be paid for the dozens of hours of work it took to set up. That may not be what you meant to say. But that’s how it sounds to me. So fuck you, what I do has value.”
The thing that particularly pisses me off is this never comes from people on particularly restricted incomes. I have plenty of friends who have to count every penny, they respect the value of what I do, it is people with money to spare who don’t
P.S. Yes I’m aware this isn’t exactly a groundbreaking post, it’s what I’ve been thinking about today though, I did warn you daily posts might reduce the quality xD