I went to the Art & Design Foundation show at uni today. I needed to clear my head after a few days up north receiving regular updates from Dad about his Amazon chart position and trying not to get exasperated at the endless questions about my future plans. They’re great, my folks, but bloody hell. If ever there is a time that you don’t want to talk about your future, it’s when you have no job and no money and almost nowhere to live.
So I made it home to Leicester just after lunch and went for a head-clearing wander round the art building. Things there was a lot of:
Skinny students doing MySpace poses with slogans about eating disorders painted over their faces.
Birds. Birds on tote bags, wallpaper, sewn onto textile thingies, sculpted, stuffed, ‘deconstructed’. A fucktonne of birds.
Things cut out of books. Trees, words, shapes, more fucking birds. Lots of those scenes made out of books that used to fill up Tumblr in 2009.
Dolls and toys and shit. Melted together, photographed on park benches, just generally screaming I AM A SYMBOL FOR PAEDOPHILIA DONCHAKNOW.
There was some fantastic stuff though. A couple of life paintings that weren’t a million miles away from Lucian Freud stuff, although they’d been hung in the stupidest place. I can’t share a picture here because you either had to look at them from within 3 inches or from a football pitch away. An installation featuring stills from ChatRoulette, and a series of relief paintings of a vagina in about a gazillion different shades (lol students). My three favourites are here, displayed using only the finest flash-free mobile phone technology:
These are part of a series of 7 canvases by Mollie Williams. They remind me of Francis Bacon and the cover of In The Court Of The Crimson King. I like to think that I would do something like this if everything I ever painted didn’t accidentally go brown.
These ones are by Levikha Farrell. I wouldn’t normally go for stuff like this but I thought the poses were really striking and the finish was very high quality. You can’t really tell from the tiny photos but she’s enhanced photographs with outlines and stuff. Makes me think of the animation in A Scanner Darkly or Waltz With Bashir. They really stood out after acres of paper birds.
And these were probably my number one favourites, by Florence Brewin. The sticker thing said “lens-based” but part of the attraction is that I don’t really know what they are or how she made them. There’s something a bit death-masky about the middle one. Plus I love colourful stuff, stuff that isn’t birds.
I thought I had it all sussed. I was going to go to De Montfort University as a mature student, master Arts Management on a brilliantly interesting course in Leicester, spend my hefty academic scholarship on trips to the theatre and graduate into something something eco-friendly at the Arts Council in 2012.
Now though, London South Bank Uni are going to offer me a place starting in the second year of study, thanks to my (frankly amazing) credits from Salford and my relevant work experience. There is no scholarship, but there is London. Big, thriving, exciting, cultural London, with all the work opportunities it brings. And graduation in 2011.
Argh. There are so many factors to consider here that I am almost cross-eyed. I know I can afford to live for three years in Leicester, but I’ve only ever been there once before, for a shoegaze night. Three years is a long time if you discover you can’t stand the place during your first semester. London, I know. Not intimately; even twenty years in the place won’t show you everything, but I like it. I know people there. I know my way round a bit and I’m confident of finding relevant part-time work, perhaps even sticking with Live Nation and working in a West End theatre for a bit.
But accommodation, even basic level halls of residence, would be £100 a month more than in Leicester, and without that academic scholarship, that’s my financial safety net up the swanny. What is a “swanny” anyway?
But it’s LONDON. The place I’ve been trying to move to for the past year, albeit with little success on the employment front. After graduation, I’ll already be there. There won’t be any of that post-graduation crossroads nonsense. I’ll just go and get a job. I say that with blasé confidence now of course - who knows where the economy will be in 2011…
I want to be in London, even if the De Montfort course is more interesting and they give me more money to do it. A London maintenance loan is bigger because of the living costs there, and I’ll only need to do the two years.
I can feel a pros and cons list coming on. And a whole load of sums.
How the hell am I going to justify this one to my folks? They think my favourite past-time is burning twenty pound notes on bonfires made from credit agreements.
Leicester is a pretty decent city, with a load of arts investment going on right now. But will the proximity to the countryside and and extra two and a half grand make up for London’s opportunities and a two year degree? How much is a year worth? I reckon the difference between South Bank and De Montfort is about three thousand a year. I’ll definitely make more than six grand in 2011/12 if I go to South Bank, won’t I? But will I make it till then? Will I have enough to eat?
Sums sums sums.