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Posted By jonnyP


We were kindly hosted by the “Strummers Collective” at CB2 Bistro in Cambridge the other night. As we were tuning up ready to play, the wonderful MC Nikki threw me somewhat by starting to interview me based on my spurious biog on the jptb website. I only managed monosyllabic answers while I tweaked the machine head of my bass. I was sorry not to have risen to Nikki’s challenge then, but she prompted a musing. She quoted the final line from my biog “I no longer wish to work for a living as it only makes matters worse”. (How touching that she read it). Of course I wrote it as a bit of a wise crack, but it’s not inaccurate in my experience, either morally or spiritually.  

The world of work is loaded with such import collectively, i.e. “strong economy” and “hard working people”. intoned both sides of the parliamentary divide as if work is a heroic cause. There is a tendancy to cobble a sense of identity around our profession or working tribe only to find it crumble when the redundancy notice comes in. It’s a lose lose situation as they might say in the Bored room.

Let’s not forget the entire infrastructure built around getting to and from the place of work. The ill designed buildings where we are supposed to “perform professionally”, “Increasing productivity” and of course “drive up standards”. What is there to like about this? enough money to pay the rent and put some overprice food drenched in agrochemicals on your table and of course fill any spare time with devices twitching for your over divided attention.

Earlier that evening, sitting upstairs in the overpriced slightly grubby CB2 Bistro with fellow troubadours Carol Hunter Les Chappell and Brian Eade. I asked Brian, (Who’s always good for an opinion) if he’d voted Remain or Leave. He voted Remain, citing the French tradition of the 2 hour lunch break as one of his motivations. That for me was the best reason I’ve heard for voting either way in that farcical chapter in fUKt’s decline. It could have swung me had Cameron or one of his spiv mates offered that up. And why not simply knock off after lunch anyway, then we can get on with our lives and stop pretending.

This would offer a much needed step towards a loving and wholesome  culture without the full neo Luddite, future primitive, collapse transition that is our fate like it or not. It would give us more time to prepare. Plant bee gardens, grow brassicas, write poems and dismantle factories. These activities could arise from our liberated muse, free from the crushing conformity of the factory, office or vehicle fleet.

I could be wrong, maybe there is “work” that can be loved without a sense of duty, heroic identity or just plain greed. My experience has only found that as an inner narrative, downloaded from the institution and the groupthink impulse. It’s never lasted long. School pretty much nailed it for me. The worst part of the week was Sunday evening with the prospect of school the next day, my inner world was a shadow of despair. I’ve never got over it and I don’t think it’s something to get over. What are we up to? Work is an “enclosure” it uses time to ring fence our freedom. Offering jam tomorrow in exchange for a piece of you today. The jam never really comes and it’s not good for you anyway.