A long time ago now, back in university my tutors said of me, “Christopher doesn’t take himself seriously but take his work very seriously indeed”. I think that was supposed to be a complement but I was never quite sure. I guess everything is about perspectives… I have unfortunately had to have dealing with a fair amount of fuckwits of late and in doing so I have, by comparison, ended up feeling like some poe faced killjoy. It’s not until you have to deal with the real thing that I remember that I am usually a fun person.
My tutors were right, I do take my work seriously, I meticulously research everything, I plan to the last detail and try and make sure every little thing is just right. Even the stuff I do that looks wonky and wobbly is planned to be like that. The comedian Les Dawson used to play the piano so wonderfully badly, you can only make something sound that awful it you really know what you are doing. I try and aim for the same thing, no one notices, no one cares but I do it so that I can sleep at night.
I am a great believer in the notion of Socratic Irony, the philosopher Socrates used to often present himself as a bit of a daft bugger, you can learn a lot about people that way, they drop their guard and the way people treat someone when they don’t think you are of any use to them speaks volumes about who and what they really are. Even the most appalling people can seem nice for a while if they think they have something to gain from you, but if their default mode is to treat people like shit it’s a fantastic way to find out. It’s also, as Socrates knew, a wonderful way to lull them into a false sense of security and let them show just how little they truly know. Give em enough rope…
I’ve had a few experiences like this, recently, and one not a couple of days ago where someone in the same line of work made a complete nuisance of themselves, demanding all sorts of ridiculous things and taking up everybody’s time and energy, doing things that would completely put people out without a care for their feelings or their needs.
I find it so hard to understand why anyone would every act like this, to go through life causing resentment and putting people’s backs up must be completely exhausting and they must make so many enemies… I guess the point is, they are so arrogant that they really don’t care.
Aside from pissing people off, though, it is a dangerous thing to do on another level. Acting like a primadonna sets a level of expectation of the quality of that person’s work and in all the cases that I have witnessed locally it seems that everyone who acts like this produces utterly terrible art work, there granite hard self belief might roll over a few people but it really doesn’t wash with me. In fact there was an encounter with someone like this a few years back where I went out of my way to knock them down a few pegs out of principle, childish and petty, yes, but fun too! Plus I felt a certain amount of justice had been added to the world for once.
The real beauty of people like that though is watching how, over time, everything closes off to them and over the years their lives go nowhere. Karma! It gets you it the end.