Friday, 11 May 2012
"Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?" Barack Obama
The month of May is all about politics, there are elections locally and all around the world. We have seen a new French President this week, voted Boris back in as London Mayor and had local elections which I think has put the wind up David Cameron.
Even from my touring bubble, we recognise that the real world is at odds with itself. When the public are concerned or unhappy with “the man” we tend to vote for change, any kind of change, just think of the words sung by the girls in Sweet Charity “There’s gotta be something better than this!” Then there is the old adage that ‘a change is as good as a rest’ but I can’t help but be reminded of a disgruntled Germany in the midst of the Depression following World War One who voted for change and what was that result? Heil Hitler.
Politics affects everybody. All of our working lives are plagued with politics, even our happy touring bubble of Avenue Q with its smiley puppets. Despite doing your favourite hobby as a job, which I know is a gift, politics and grumbles creep in because we’re all human. It is not quite “Dave from Accounts keeps stealing my favourite mug” or “Barbara only got that promotion because she displays her DDs so eloquently in the boardroom,” which can concern a more average working environment. Well, to be fair, an element of Barbara can creep in, anyone heard of the fabled casting couch? But our “office” is the antithesis of average; most of our luvvie “Hi babe,” bum slapping, “you %&*!!” behaviour would raise a few eyebrows in a local branch of HSBC and no doubt result in a law suit if we happened to work in mid-West America.
But wages, working hours and colleague clashes affect even responsibility-free actors because although it is your hobby, it becomes a job. A strange thing to comprehend when you’ve dreamt about it, auditioned alongside hundreds of people and others think you’re living the life of Reilly. But everything is relative; Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” becomes our 6pm-11pm instead.
We feel let down politically (at least the Daily Mail does) when people and promises we’ve believed in don’t come to fruition. We put our faith in our vote and await the changes to children’s schools, pensions (don’t get my Grandad started,) bloomin’ TFL and care for the elderly and you start to question what effect we really can have. The politicians’ manifestos and policies are like dreams for a nation that we all invest in; the fact that Martin Luther King started his infamous political speech with the words “I have a dream..” says it all.
There is that same faith and anticipation when you start a new job; expecting the challenge, respect and support of the management. I’ll never forget how the little 8 year old girl inside me who had dreamt about being in Les Miserables died a little when it became my working reality. Maybe it is when dreams become accessible that they lose their sheen or is that just growing up?
But as we can’t put an X in a box and have a say in our working life then you need to find a way to dodge the politics and try to sail on throughout the day until you can get home and go to Zumba or down a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. I think it is all about keeping that element of the dream going inside of you, remembering why you are there without getting dragged into the mire of discontentment. I am not saying get all new-age and meditate yourself above the rabble. There is no need to grow dreadlocks or wear a flowing skirt; you can appreciate your lot and still aspire for better without surrounding your work station with healing crystals and incense sticks. But politically speaking, surely little changes can result in a big one?
I guess the only real change you can make is to yourself and hope the world follows suit!