Duty to Care is very underground
A couple of years ago I saw Quicksand play. It was the first time I saw them play in what was a lifetime ago, decades prior as a young punk runt in army fatigues, ripped skate shirt and really dumb haircut. There at the bar I ran into a woman who I was colleagues with doing the digital service design in government thing as well. We both looked at each other like we were in a sitcom, you know the look where both people turn their heads slightly askew with a smirk trying to figure out what the other person was doing there and then both laughed.
I’ve been involved in, or otherwise varying waist to shoulder deep in, various counter or sub-cultural things since I could remember. Whether it is skateboarding, various obscure sub-genres of heavy music, art, or whatever, it was always generally about being upset at things not being the way you thought they should be. So in essence, caring.
Sure enough, years, decades, later I found myself working in government, and not even the one I grew up under, because working in government is ultimately about caring. This, in our in teasingly cynical, swirling, cannibal-media world, is as counter to the mainstream as you could get when you think about it.
It’s very hard to care, especially these days. I know. Look around, everything that looks like it already hasn’t gone to Hell, is well on it’s way. When a global pandemic is just one of the things you have to think about when you wake up, well, you’ve got some problems. It’s exhausting.
The thing that kept me going at it for so long was because it mattered and mattered to real people in real life. It was exhausting and I suppose this is the thing I realised my work is supposed to be about recently – caring and fixing real issues with really large things.
Needless to say, in the end I did get a bit of lager-ing and ended up shouting about Gorilla Biscuits at the guitarist of Gallows who we were sitting with. I guess I cared then as well.