Government benefits are often regarded as a last-resort solution for when you’re out of employment and are given money to cover your basic human needs. The present economy in the UK has resulted in a high rate of unemployment where many working people have lost their jobs and are entitled to these unemployment benefits. However, for many young creative people, particularly musicians, avoiding employment is a way of life.
We’ve heard it many times, it’s an idea deeply entrenched in the collective psyche that you have to work hard to survive, particularly if you’re an artist. But their values are different from what we are expected to accept, so what goes on in the minds of these so-called ‘social parasites’; artists who balance their raison d’être with making ends meet all while dealing with the shit dribbling down the social ladder?
I live from taxpayer’s money and it’s not something I feel bad about. I am a part of this week’s scapegoat. The angry taxpayer is being ripped off by the system; they are working hard only to see a significant fraction their pay packet disappear. On top of that, their quality of life is shit. I feel sorry for them. I can see why we won’t come to a mutual understanding, but I really don’t care. If they hated their situation that much, then why don’t they leave and do something that they at least enjoy? I’ll tell you why; it’s because they were taught that it’s immoral to not play by the rules and that we should feel guilty for it. But why should I turn around, bend over and allow their rules to dominate my life? I’m not going to be a martyr, I’m not in charge of anyone but myself and I’ll decide my own morals. You can’t deny how powerfully attractive it is to claim benefits when you have better things to do. A corrupt system ought to be exploited otherwise you become a victim of it. Without going out holding placards in the street, this is my little way of telling them to suck it. If you’re pissed off because you think we’re getting more out of your work than you are, then what are you going to do about it? A mate of mine was made redundant due to government cuts in the public sector; his job was to help the vulnerable and elderly people navigate the complex benefits system but the cunts are cutting these vital benefits in order to set up tax avoidance schemes for the rich. That’s 25 billion pounds the rich aren’t paying as opposed to about 2.5 billion that is paid out for benefit ‘fraud’. So like it or not, he’s making gabber and is fuelled by his hatred for the situation and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change soon. He’s off to Europe next month to play a gig. Good for him.
If I worked in a soul-destroying, unskilled job in Poundland (a very rich, yet unnecessary company that peddles useless crap) it’s not going to do much to fix this system either, even if it makes my mum feel a tiny bit better. If I wasn’t mentally ill in the eyes of the government, they would make me work in Poundland, full-time, just to earn my benefits. Who’s laughing then? The angry-tax payer is still angry, I’m no longer productive and Poundland hit the jackpot, they can even afford to fire their minimum-wage staff with this scheme in place. I am a musician, music is perhaps the only thing I can actually do to a high standard, but it is not recognised as a valid occupation. Suppose I was offered a decent bourgeoisie job, I would rather it went to someone who can do it well and sacrifice my finances for time to make my art. See, there’s a problem when it comes to earning a decent living with music. Music is the only way I know how to interact with the outside world, the tunes I make reflect my feelings and ideas and small communities and networks build up around it, which is something that is generally lacking in this country. I make art and art is supposed to challenge you, I don’t make happy music for you to escape this cruel world, I do it because it is transformational. You try and market the music of a scruffy kid who puts his fucking soul into producing violent machine-gun drum beats to a bunch of people who either hate it (because they don’t understand it) or would rather get it for free. I’m not some whore you can easily exploit. I share my music for free because it is important to me to spread these ideas, I get enough feedback to affirm that I am doing a good job from the people who matter to me and I’ve had many great opportunities to leave this country, even the continent, to perform live. We split the flight ticket because we’re all skint and help each other out and that’s good enough.
You can’t put a price on what I do. I am grateful for all this spare time I have so which allows me to work when I want and to have no obligation to work for anyone else. I feel art is the most valuable thing in the world and getting rich materialistically doesn’t concern me. So long as I’m breathing and shitting I will be making my riot fuel. You might frown upon me as you would a cockroach but I live a noble life and I feel that I genuinely do this for a greater good. If you are concerned by money and playing by the rules more than you value your own life, then no wonder you find us so infuriatingly smug. Get over this petty shit and do something you feel is deeply important. Carpe fucking Diem. While the pigs are nestled at the top, we’re all in the shit down here, remember that.