Making it Work with Artsmonkey

Humbled as I am, impressed as I may be, if you like what Charlotte has to say take some time to read more about this great project on OYAP trusts website they’ve seen yet another funding cut this year and yet they are doing all the right things for all the right reasons.

Charlotte Pearson



On Tuesday 4th February we sat down at a table in The Courtyard in Bicester which was COVERED in glitter, ribbons, coloured card, pens, glue, stickers, each having been handed one of these books, wondering what we would be filling them with.



Juliet Brain explained that the session would take us through the practical elements of having a freelance career in the arts and, as the title suggests, how to make it work!

Task number 1? Create a double page that describes you as a creative. Now when confronted with a ton of resources it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when you’d normally describe yourself audibly, rather than visually, but we gave it our best shot!

We then moved on to a discussion about what we considered work to be. We began to think about what we wanted out of work, what it…

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The insidious crime against culture… or ‘The body in the Library’

The Cranes at Waterloo,

They know a thing or two,

It’s clear from their jaunty lean

They’ve no intention of coming clean.

And there’s the announcements on the tube,

The surprise in the voice that intones,

All seems to be going according to plan

Move along sir, ma’am.

Tickety Boo. Nothing to see here.

The cordoned off corner of SoHo Square

And the silent dog smothered in handprints

Intimating otherwise. Men in high viz

Simply standing there,

Immune to scrutiny, public glare,

Or stoically prepared, perhaps,

As an eloquence of cultural folk

Descends upon the city.

I am stuffed in a crisply, contemporary Boardoom

With Baronesses, Big Wigs and Chatham House Rules.

My twitchy twitter finger lies mute.

Once grimy Soho has gained a glow

and now, most endearingly shows

A practised charm in cuddling close to Theatre Land.

One can almost smell the indolence dancing

Nonchalently out from Patessierie Valerie, drifting.

And later, vacillating from Soho to Cambridge Circus

along the Charing Cross Road, up from Southbank

Like an elastic band of cultural invaders they come.

Tally Ho! No crime apparent, yet a shadowy finger points accusing.

A tribe of disparate nomads

a merry band of players, a gallery of glamour

In the white smoke of reprobation.

The guady lights, a whiff of Chinese spice,

Embracing the hundreds of us in Multi-platform dimensions;

screen, stage, mobile media, open mic live,

Will we fade away or thrive?

Sucked down in the bowels of the city, marble topped and ornate

We flow. Expectant. Curious. Raging.

Both audience and cast in this movement of hope, this agony

of circumstance, this grind of repitition.

Epitaphs and admonitions; less talk, more do!

Action to the Word! Street talk, flourish, and prickly articulation

As we stand to save our cultural nation. Not as one, but many.

And so,

A temerity of activists? emerge blinking into the light of day

Our thumbs pricked, our comfortable consciences plucked

A tempest gathering.

The crime was more apparent on my way home.

The cranes still lowering on the horizon as I stood beneath the bleached halls of bureaucracy at Whitehall the cultural clouds now drifting away and a jolly policeman making sure he got a good shot of me as he beamed hello. I pondered the statues to fallen heroes, the architectural grandeur, an abundance of building and the Big Wheel slowly turning, rolling over the river reflective in the golden sunlit glow on the portals of power.

There’s a body in the library, you see

And it’s as much who next, as what next?

We can’t stand by and watch the glorious sun set

Now is the time, now the hour

Action to the word. Actions to the words

As one, as many, together.

J. Brain

What Next 2013 #WN2013



Paris à pied, la troisième partie


Day Three:


The most fantastic breakfast in the Hotel, with my own elegant, large teapot for a nice cup or two, or three of earl grey tea plus charcuterie, pastries, delicious tarts – a Sunday ‘petit dejeunner’ that would  set you up ‘til tea-time and possibly beyond.


 We trekked through the Forum past St Eustache, along the Rue Montmartre, across Poisonierre past old men in doorways, police men and women sheltering from the rain or busy sorting out Sunday traffic, past delicatessans and cafes redolent with baking yeast and heaving with patissiere, transporting me to some kind of food heaven .


Montmatre is worth a section in its own right but I’m keeping it to myself, except to say providing your legs will take it, walk that hill, climb those steps. It’s worth it. There’s a reason so many fine artists were drawn to it and fair weather or foul there is a vibrancy to this hill that makes it worth the effort. We were trapped in Sacre Coeur for a while, feeling a very real sense of English shock as such a beautiful service, with a choir and a padre who sang like angels was overshadowed by tourists yet again taking pictures, talking and being herded around the outside of the body of the congregation, under giant video screens like some weird art-house film written by Ionesco.


At one point there was a bit of a lock-in whilst the ‘clergy’ exited the service into the vestry, although everyone was pointedly invited to join them for coffee which was a generous gesture considering how outrageous and disrespectful the plebian tourists had behaved – that was some hardcore outreach by the Catholic Church and I’m not sure I could have borne it. Suffice to say we slipped out to nose around the food and wine stalls lining the streets outside, bought some donkey sausage (that’s how traumatised we were) before seek ing solace in La Maison Rose1 just downhill from Le Chat Noir. Apparently La Maison Rose has some terrible reports but all I can say was, again we were welcomed and served the best omelette I’ve had in many years and the lightest, most delightful crepes since I used to hang out near Hampstead Hill –  and the fact Mr B. went for crepe a Nutella will make me smile for years to come.


Paris I love you, your streets, your food, your charm – when I return I couldn’t expect better but I will return.



©JBrain, Artsmonkey 2012




Time passes


And some things remain unchanged in their essence. How wonderful it is to talk to people whom you have known for many years, spent time with, no matter how close or distant you were back then. We grow close, grow apart but time and shared experience connects us. We observe, we judge, we formulate questions, opinions and suspicions and over time we see these parts of ourselves reflected back in the easy conversation, the honesty, the warmth. Time heals, it reduces, clarifies, confirms, dismisses and only time knows who we’ll see when we catch ourselves in the mirror or caught, briefly frozen by the eye of a lens. Time although constant, is full of suprises but always fleeting.

“Hey Old Friends, what d’ya say old friends, are we or are we unique…”


GSA has been known by many titles the longest perhaps was The Guildford School of Acting, Dance and Musical Theatre in the eighties. Until the mid eighties it was renowned for its dance course and for producing great musical theatre stalwarts. It has now been absorbed into the University of Surrey and is destined, according to a well established pattern to become just another University Performing Arts course. However for those who trained there, a spirit of that GSA emphasis on mind and body remains (or should that be mind and movement?).