A Hell of a Ride

I’m sitting in The Art Organisation in Leicester, drinking tea and writing my first real blog post for some time (rather than just linking to things I’m doing elsewhere). The rain is coming down (this is Britain after all) and the troupe of jugglers and hula hooppers who have been performing outside have just run indoors. Things have that rare feeling that sometimes emerges in times of disaster, when people pull together for the common good. Feels appropriate.

The Art Organisation iss like something from a different era, back when nobody paid any heed to community arts and collective action was the only way things got done. Now we’ve had fifteen years of grant aid and lottery funding and there is probably more money in community arts than ever before. But the truth is, it still takes collective action coming up from the grassroots to really make art happen in communities. The Art Organisation is setting up shop in an abandoned former chain pub, taking a space that never did any more than get people drunk and turning it into a real space for arts in our community, all for little or no money. Round the corner is the multi-million pound Curve theatre that feels about as related to the community as Marie Antoinette. Maybe one day we’ll find a way to link the people making things happen on the frontline with the money at the top. Maybe.

I’ve spent the day preparing for my trip to the World Fantasy Convention. I have been to busy the last month or more that I had barely given a thought to this trip, and now I leave in just over a day! I think this is going to be a busy convention for me – I’m reuniting with old friends from Clarion, meeting up with a few people from the UK scene and it’s my first chance to see many online friends. And I’m doing various journalistic things during my time there and hoping to blog and Twitter the whole experience. It’s gonna be a hell of a ride!

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