Cows, commuting and catastrophes…
“You’ve got mud on your shoe. How have you got mud on your shoe?”
“I’ve just come from my mum’s.”
This is how I spend much of my time: inappropriately dressed. I’ll head off to London in my little brother’s anorak and catch myself, horrified, in a shop window in Soho; or I’ll end up in my Mum’s village, glamorously trudging across the green to the pub in heels, slowly sinking into the sludge which appears to occupy most of the South-East for most of the year.
This is my life: I am a Londoner stuck in a village, a recent Fine Arts graduate, with a head full of dreams and pockets full of Monopoly money to achieve them with!
The Plan (Oh! The Plan!) was to finish Uni in Birmingham, move down to London and start working with an art fabrication firm I’ve slaved away for part-time over the past three years. Of course as is often the case, The Plan did not work out. Instead I have squeezed, squashed, crammed and crushed every inch of my life into my little single bedroom back at The Mother’s.
I’m not complaining; I’m lucky. A lot of ex-student’s parents wouldn’t be having any of this, but so long as I traipse through the fields with her two children – i.e. two rather large Labradors – and clean said children’s hair off the sofas, carpets, stairs, even out of the fridge sometimes, I am allowed to stay. How long this will last, I’m not sure but in the mean time I am conducting my life from a small room in the Surrey countryside. Trying to ‘break London’ from my desk.
This has it’s pros and cons: Pros include free food, free electricity, and a nice view out of my window; Cons include the thirty mile commute to London every three days, that good old sticky slipperly gets-on-everything mud, and the fact that I cannot drive.
I never learnt to drive because I was “going to university in Birmingham and moving straight to London when I finish” – magnificent foresight there, Chloe.
Con one and three are then exasperated by the 6.10pm curfew. Yes, that’s right I am twenty two and I have a 6.10pm curfew. This is due to the beauty of public transport out in the sticks: I must leave Waterloo station by 5pm to catch the last bus back to my little village, which leaves at the great hour of 6.10pm.
I mustn’t complain – I’m not doing too badly at the moment – gallery offers have come in, all rejected due to my lack of studio. But at least they like my work.
Job offers have come in, all unpaid. But at least they like my CV, right?
To these The Mother has optimistically suggested “well, maybe once they realise you’re a graduate, they’ll pay you?”
Oh Mother, if only a degree was such magic beans.
This is the demoralising beauty of being a graduate: having those two proud but utterly useless little letters next to our names, with the world at our feet but insufficient funds (every ex-student knows that phrase all too well) to shoe our chilly toes – and no magic beans.