I decided a long time ago that I’d rather be poor than miserable. For a long time after that I was poor and still miserable, although not as miserable as I would have been if I’d also been working a 9 to 6 that I hated, for a boss that I hated, in an office that I hated, all sandwiched between a long commute that I hated. I wrote a blog in the noughties, back when I’d just started therapy and I was an art dealer in Portobello. A lot of people read it but it didn’t make any money. It was about contemporary art and it was also about life. My life. It was a diary. I thought of it as a marketing tool. I hoped it would bring people to my gallery. Which it probably did. It also took people to the galleries I visited and wrote about. The galleries that weren’t mine. Then it was 2008 and the fourth largest investment bank in the US went bankrupt. Others followed and many more would have too if governments – let’s be clear, if tax payers – hadn’t handed out trillions to keep them afloat. It’s corruption by another name. Obviously. The collapse of the bent sub-prime mortgage bubble sent a lot of other people bankrupt as well. Not Wall Street folks earning eight figure salaries. They were alright, Jack. It was the normal people. The people making ends meet. You and me. I was fortunate. I didn’t go bankrupt. The gallery space I rented out was on a short, four year contract. By the time rich people stopped buying art and my business dwindled down to almost nothing, there were only a few months left on the lease. I didn’t renew. Instead I took up writing more seriously. It was cathartic but it didn’t make any money. The best payers were The Economist. They paid a whopping £125 per article. Sadly, that did not pay the mortgage. You’re a bloody good writer, my Dad kept saying, why are you doing it for free? The answer to that question would be a thesis of Freudian proportions. But in brief I suppose the answer is I didn’t know how and I didn’t know that I could. My Dad died last year. Now I’ve decided my Dad was right. I’m not doing things for free any more. I thought blogs had gone redundant years ago, like wedge sneakers (what?) and acid wash jeans and the thousands of species of earth dwelling creatures that collectively constitute the fifth great extinction event. But apparently not. So now I’m back. For a second bite of the cherry. And this time things are going to be a little bit different around here. Please, step aboard. Let’s take a ride. Back through history and way off into the future. Let’s see where the journey takes us.
Would you rather be rich and miserable or poor and happy?
Apr 21, 2023