In Praise Of The Hustle

When I lived in New York (late 1990’s) I first started to notice that, although I had a lot of artist friends, we never talked about the actual work much.
 
We just got on making our own stuff, and talked about other things: Sex, power, fashion & trends, culture, money, restaurants & bars, the news, and of course, the endless New York search for decent, affordable apartments.
 
And amongst all this, more than anything else, of course, we talked shop.
 
We talked about the hustle. We were talking about shows we were doing, who was up, who was down, who the hot galleries were, where the hot places were, and where we could find paid work (bartending, waiting tables, ad agencies, design firms, temp agencies, house cleaning, dog walking) in order to support the artist lifestyle.
 
Eventually, I concluded that the conversations about the side hustle were generally far more interesting than talking about the actual art.
 
I reckon this was because talking about art is pretty theoretical, whereas making a living is practical. Without the former, life goes on. Without the latter, you don’t eat.
 
Even worse, you don’t get laid….

Everything Is A Thing Now…

So according to Techcrunch, America is losing its infatuation with Silicon Valley.

I guess it was inevitable.

You see, I have a few famous friends. Not just internet-fame, but actual fame.

And they all have one thing in common: they all hate being famous.

As one of them so succinctly put it to me recently, “It just creates a lot of noise, both inside and outside. Makes it impossible to get any meaningful work done.”

To which I replied, yes, exactly. When anyone, or anywhere, or anything becomes “a thing”, it/they suddenly lose their magic.

I can think of lots of “things” that were new & amazing at one point, that aren’t so much nowadays.

Or if they are, they’ve gotten REALLY expensive and/or swamped with tourists and hangers-on, making it really hard for people with real lives and real needs to get anything truly valuable from the experience.

For example:

Star Wars sequels.

Austin, Texas.

Wicker Park.

Notting Hill.

Cupcakes.

Craft beer.

Texas Barbecue.

SXSW.

Burning Man.

Blogging.

Food trucks.

Apps.

British advertising.

Venice Beach.

Venice, Italy.

Avacado Toast.

French cinema.

Hackney.

Montmatre.

Montparnasse.

New York’s West Village.

New York’s East Village.

Tribeca’s Odeon bar.

Portland.

SoHo.

Soho.

Writing screenplays.

#VanLife

Influencer Marketing.

Brooklyn.

And now yes, Silicon Valley as well, apparently.

So what happened to us, exactly?

It used to be hard to know what the next “thing” was.

Then the Internet came along, and made it much, much easier.

So now, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.

Our culture is Yogi-Berra’ing itself to death, taking your equally Yogi-Berra’d lifestyle down with it.

You thought your were blazing new trails. While the whole time all you were doing was waiting in line.

For brunch. In San Francisco.

So how’s it working for you…?


New Hughcards, 1st October 2017

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