After what seems like an age spent in a state of societal suspension with us all concentrating on survival in one way or another, I'm tentatively hoping for some improved stability. Though this hope is still projected through a lense of caution, knowing that with summer here and restrictions easing, along with the stark reality of inequalities in public health - not to mention political mismanagement - this Corona-Coaster may well throw us some more curveballs yet.
For me, this last eighteen months has felt like some kind of strange Pseudo-Darwinian game show, where whoever holds their breath the longest - mental health and economically speaking - wins a 'phew, at least I'm okay Jack' prize. As with most things in life, our ability to keep our heads above water, our survival and our wellbeing, or any measure of success for that matter, are mostly relative to some combination of luck, who we know - contacts - and supportive networks, more than any notion or application of individual brilliance or skill.
Luckily for me, when my job finished last summer I received enough redundancy to cover bills until work eventually started this spring. Nonetheless, it's been a bit of a sketchy ride. I'm again contributing to my household and feeling productive. What a positive impact such basics have on wellbeing. Some new work provides some wriggle room, for the immediate future at least. Nevermind pandemic times, I often wonder what potential we could all harness for this world if we weren't all spending our time focused on basic utilities - health, food, clothes and roof - just to functionally live. Oops, I digress. Another topic for a future post maybe?
Times are still really tough though. Over the last year I know lots of friends, colleagues and work contacts who have lost jobs or moved on to other work where possible. At the time of writing, I've just found out another company I work with has gone bust. That's another twenty people I've worked with for years, all suddenly up against it. So while things seem to be improving, there's still considerable uncertainty and stress for many, and that's just the events industry. I feel lucky to be both healthy and able to focus on new opportunities.
On a personal note, together with the evident hardship - everyone stressing about income and health - for me the worst thing about increased stress is how this can sap so much creativity and energy, and often plays havoc with focus and confidence. That's without any variable bouts of depression which can hinder me from time to time.
So, in and around work and family commitments, I'm back trying to develop Culture Continuum projects that have been forced onto the back burner. With regards to this blog, the original intention before creating Continuum Camp, was to write regular updates about the event and other projects. With the last two years being such a struggle for many reasons, this hasn't been possible. I've decided to relax about this aim and just update when possible.
It's hard enough getting a personal creative project off the ground in normal times, but with everything shut down, It's been impossible. Two successful annual Continuum Camp events have been followed by two cancellations and now a need to find a new venue. All I can do is get as much work in as possible to free up some spare time and resources. After all, Culture Continuum is still a non-profit labour of love.
With all this in mind, I guess now is the time for a general Culture Continuum update. Regarding my blogging, this Malarkey's Musings blog will continue as a update about events like Continuum Camp - which will hopefully return next year - but it will also now cover observational musings about wider society, as my previous offering did. All being well, I will soon start another blog to focus on specific Culture Continuum history and arts based projects.
With regards to projects, I currently have three interlinking Culture Continuum priorities to work on. Firstly, suitable new site locations and venues around Mid Wales need to be found and scouted for a range of events including Continuum Camp. Maybe you can help? Potential sites need to be on or near main Mid Wales coastline routes or main roads with excellent accessibility and nearby public transport - bus or train - links. Ideally, I would like to support family run and or small regional businesses of some sort.
Secondly, I'm excited to again be working on a gem of a history project I've been chipping away at when possible - Mid Wales Festivals, Parties & Dance Events: through the years. The aim of which is to initially create an archive and to also enable some specific research and writing for Culture Continuum. If possible, this will lead to art project ideas and potentially a documentary, if there's enough interest and creative support.
Thirdly, Culture Continuum is now a non-profit community interest company (CIC). This means that everything we produce is about supporting and investing in people and projects in some way or another, and wherever possible raising awareness, funding and opportunities for different grassroots projects, community organisations, creatives, freelancers and good causes.
Central within the Culture Continuum CIC mission is to support, link and partner with lots of different people and organisations to bring live events, festivals, and hopefully in the not too distant future, art installations and multimedia productions into the world.
So, while this pandemic has totally shut Culture Continuum down for these last two years and messed with all my plans, I'm trying my best to rise again. Currently I'm in full on R&D and networking mode. This summer and Autumn there is a lot of ground to cover. Securing new sites, working on ideas, finding potential colleagues to join the team, and getting projects off the ground. There's lots to do. maybe you're interested in getting involved? If so, now is a great time to get in touch...
Well, I think that's about enough musings for now. Another update when I can..
Peace and progress, Malarkey