Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Me and Penny Arcade (triptych)

Yes, it's the weekly Vile existential crisis! We don't really need to go into the exact reasons behind the dour face and the moaning emails to friends who would rather be hearing about... well, anything rather than the doubts of a man who has set himself an impossible task. Let's just say I am disappointed that I didn't get into any of the categories for the Creative Scotland Awards...

On the positive side, I do have a massive interview with Penny Arcade, and I'll have enough material for another half a dozen articles before I decide to release the unadorned text. And I have been looking for a good place to put her final message to me - and the readers of the blog. I think it's perfectly framed by a spot of my misery. 

Getting something like this in my inbox is thrilling: I have only ever seen Arcade perform once - but I reckon I can nip into The Albany on my way home for Christmas this year - but she is one of the personalities that fascinated me as I was being seduced into my love of performance-that-will-not-fit. When I opened this email, it was like having William Burrough's Words of Advice for Young People turn up with a new dedication, just for me.

I will say this to you and to everyone who reads your blog:
Notice your fears, your longings, your dreams, your nightmares. Face them as soon as possible because they will be with you always and the sooner you enter into a real relationship with all of yourself the better. 

Aim for a rigorous inquiry, a rigorous honesty with yourself. Respect your own development. Believe me, it is worth it because we all get stuck with ourselves for life. 

Amor Fati, the love of one's own fate. You have a fate, you know? No one escapes that. Build the life you want, build the person you want to be. It is okay to have heroes, to understand how others have created themselves as humans and as artists but don’t just copy and hope for the outcome you want. 

Actively pursue your innate values because values must be grown by each of us and they are bought and paid for on the installment plan of life though our own experience. There is no one like you. Isn’t it wonderful? You are in competition with no one when you choose to develop yourself. But you have to choose this over and over. It never stops being an active choice. Ever.

Okay, so I am being a shameless fan-boy here: but that is kind of the point of being a critic, at least for me. It's part of the job to voice concern, to identify those parts of an art-work that don't function, to assess the impact and skill. More importantly, however, is the need to be inspired, to believe that art has a purpose. If I stop believing that, if I stop being enthusiastic about artists, it's time for me to get back in the classroom and teach Latin grammar.

No comments :

Post a Comment