I had one of those moments yesterday, I needed to get some publicity photographs done for a Christmas show I’m doing and I needed a few of my teddy bears. “I know what”, I thought, ” I’ll take some with a few local land marks” so there I was, wandering down the seafront, a grown man with my teddy bear, like Sebastian and Aloysius from Brideshead Revisted and no one took a blind bit of notice.
I love that about st leonards, no one really cares what you do. When I lived in Doncaster, leaving the house was hell, all you had to do was wear anything other that an Adidas or Nike tracksuit and the locals would start to sharpen their pitchforks.
I really enjoyed that aspect when I first moved to st leonards but after a while that started to change. I’ve always been exactly who and what I am, a little bit eccentric and off kilter. I think my own way and I refuse to get sucked into any group or gang and I love having my own mind, and speaking it for that matter. I had a brief flirtation with being a goth when I was younger but soon got bored as it just became yet another uniform. I wear pretty much what I want now and it is judged on my own terms and is more about a sense of design or historical significance than anything else.
I have never sought attention, when I recieved filthy looks back in 1989 and onward knitting my own jumpers on the train, I did it because I like knitting and it was dead time that could be used. When I had an asymmetric razor cut Dutch bob it was because it is technically the hardest hairdo to cut and when I followed it with a coup savage it was because it was because I was fascinated with the idea of someone hacking at my head with a cut throat razor. I have never in my life sought attention, I don’t need it, don’t want it and in the kindest and, in the politest way possible, I really don’t care what you or anyone else thinks of me.
The problem is though, so many people do. Care what people think of them that is.
This lack of people taking any notice, whilst giving a wonderful freedom to those that need it, has a tedious side effect. Those that want and indeed crave attention have to keep upping the anti, doing more and more outrageous things to get noticed. Personally, I’m a great believer in the notion of meritocracy and that the best way to get positive attention is to develop a talent, to get really good at something. Call me old fashioned but that is what I feel.
There is a short cut to talent, well two in fact and they are both used locally and seem to work to a degree. The first is to use the distance from London’s creative heart and the slightly cut off nature of East Sussex to gild the lily of your own level of talent. Mediocre talents in any industry suddenly become geniuses and the totally inept can join in too if their mouths and egos are big enough. The other is to just keep puffing yourself up further and further, using and endless stream of events to draw in punters and sell booze to get dressed up yet again, year after year like and endless merry-go-round of gaudy drivel. Then, if that isn’t enough, the next thing to do is to invent a few things of your own. Although it is even easier just to steal your ideas from things happening in London or Brighton or wherever knowing that, if you do it with enough brazen cheek, you will get away with it in an isolated bubble of a community.
The thing is, however hard they try, people that in need of attention will be tolerated and ignored, labelled by everyone who isn’t them as “that bunch of tossers” while the rest of the world gets on with their lives, ignoring the occasional bit of mess or disruption as a nessesary evil, the price they pay for their own eccentricities to be ignored. Like me and my bear.