Saturday, 30 June 2012

A career in the arts

An assortment of books and other bits and pieces in my library
I was at Wallace Hall Academy in Thornhill D&G yesterday afternoon, for their first 'Rural Opportunities' day. The idea was to have representatives of occupations available, with handouts and demonstrations, for students to meet and consult. I parked in the approach road to the academy, having been warned that car parking space at the academy was limited. I had not brought an umbrella but my luck held as I walked along the road and then quite a long way through the school grounds past the not full car park to the building where my stand - D&G's arts organisation - was situated. Having found the stand I went to the buffet where I found myself standing beside David Mundell MP, and passed on to him my view that bankers should be prosecuted if found carrying out or condoning activities which I am sure there are already laws to prevent, such as fraud or misrepresentation. I sat at a table with a representative from the Loch Arthur community and something called DICE which is also designed to help young people. Then I went back to my stand where I met  and chatted to Alice Stilgoe, a D&G film expert, about possible areas of co-operation. There was a harpist practising her art at our stand for a while, and a representative of CABN - our local arts and business network and a photographer. Some students came by and we explained our mission, and there were useful notes with lots of web addresses for those interested in writing, dance, film making and music. An odd omission was anything about art - making marks, sculpture etc, the sort of thing done at art school. I met a nice woman who is a lawyer and we talked about keeping a diary - I had a feeling she was interested in doing a bit of writing herself - and she gave me her card. The head master of Wallace Hall came by, and confirmed that, no, he wasn't looking for a new career. We made desultory conversation about the film business, and how it isn't necessarily just about being in front of the camera. He agreed that it was the sort of business where you probably get hired if you are floating about usefully as  an 'intern' 'but you need money to do that' he observed, correctly. I thought about how enormously challenging it was to do one's first job, buoyed up by ignorance and youth. How incredibly brave it felt to send off one's first attempts at journalism, a feature 'on spec' to The Lady magazine about having a wig. I must have been nearly 20. I remember that blonde wig - wigs were very fashionable in the early 1960's. I took it to America and wore it as a bridesmaid to the wedding in 1964 at Mettunuck, Rhode Island of my room mate Mopsy who is still married to Duncan. She had twelve bridesmaids dressed in hot pink with enormous pink pictures hats, her idea of a kind of Mafia wedding. Her father worked as financial adviser to one of the Rockefeller family in his private office, and Duncan's father was an architect. One of the bridesmaids was Rachel Goodman, daughter of Benny, later to move to London. she taught me an invaluable life skill, which is always to carry a box of matches if you are going to share a loo. Anyway, 'writing' is something I have done all my life for various purposes, whether as a straight news reporter, feature writer, non-fiction or fiction, finding an unfailing interest and solace in the sheer variety of humankind.

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