ep 20 - West Park Park Bench Podcast - Death or Change
11:10AM Nov 8, 2022
Greetings, Social Media and Metaverse Wombles. This is episode 20 of the West Park Park Bench Podcast. Today I haven't decided whether it's going to be Change or Death.
There's only two things certain in life, death and taxes. And death depending on your perspective can mean several things. Now, I don't read tarot cards or those those kind of things. I would love to have my tarot cards read I have no opposition to them, but I do have a set of runes and I've had those runes for many many years I think I might have even I think I had them before university even I think I might have taken the with me. And I got those runes at a time when I didn't really have anyone to talk to I was very very, very introverted, very shy, very unsure of where my world was going to go. I had been in a relationship since the age of 15 to 18, which had suddenly ended and I kind of thought my life was going to be a progression of that instance. It was it was a real shock to lose that relationship. And I guess in some ways, I've never been the same person since but then I don't know what that person or who that person would have been. It was it was so sudden, and it was so drastic, that it fundamentally changed the direction of my life. If there's parallel universes, that's a thread that I never followed and wasn't capable of, it was shut off to me. And the road that I went down, needed some direction. And so runes for me when I found them, were about tapping into my subconscious and this is what I really liked about it. It wasn't using some external, mystical entity of either a god or an angel or deity. It it was the capacity to tune into my inner thinking to ask myself questions that you can't ask yourself consciously, hence the subconscious.
So basically, what the runes do, they ask you to clear your mind and think about what the question is that you're wanting. To have answered and you want to, you want to think about and you want to reflect upon. And then you draw out of a bag, three stones, and you place them facedown on a mat in front of you and part of the ritual of putting yourself into this mindset of spending quality time with your own mind and framing a single question of what it is and you can't ask, Will I be rich? You can't ask. You know, Will it be okay tomorrow? What you're doing is tapping into your own philosophy. And one of the runes is a death, the representation of rebirth in one stone. And I think this is a point that I've been at for well, probably two years since just before the start of COVID.
So just before COVID started, I've probably told this story on this podcast. Just before COVID I was in a position where I was exploring what I'd come to know as a portfolio career. And that included my stage management. It included the events, management that I'd done, it covered the exploration into live streaming workshops, the social media training the web design, the podcasting and streaming. And I didn't, I don't know what it is that I do. So other people find it very, very hard to understand what I do, and I've kind of come to terms with that a little bit over the last couple of years. But just before COVID I was heading down to London to Devoted and Disgruntled is an improbable theatre event using open space technique. Fantastic. Check out D&D. I'm gonna put them in the show notes, but I didn't have the train fare. And not only did I not have the train fare when I went to book it, it said no funds, didn't have the money in any of my accessible accounts to transfer some cash in to make up the fare. And it was that moment of go this is absolutely ridiculous. I can't continue doing this. So I kind of decided there and then that whatever was going to happen in 2020, it had to be something different. I had to be somewhere else that had a little bit more prospect. March of course happened and lock downs happened.
And I think being with the perspective of the entertainment industry that I have and with the perspective of being an equity member and a very I don't use equity contract anymore, but equity as the organisation that I feel is able to represent and look after my needs as an independent, creative industrially, has been essential and it's why I've retained my membership. And as a result, it's why the time that I give to the union has been focused into their online branch when I was approached to take part in that working party. And one of my greatest strengths and also my greatest weakness is it I'm persistent, and I try and hold a space where necessity has screamed for it.
And there seems to be this scream emanating from this idea of creating an online branch. And its difficulties have not been with the notion of an online branch. It's actually been with the people that have been trying to manifest that.
And I think beginning I said, Is this going to be death or is this going to be changed? And I think death and change can be very dependent on the people who are enacting the change. Or eliciting the death of what their intentions truly are. And I think if it's framed as change, or it's framed as death. There is an intent behind those statements. There's recently been on the news, the criticism of suella Braverman using the word invasion for the migrant boats coming over. And as a dyslexic every single word that has context is associated with imagery. people with synesthesia, Monday has a colour. The month has a colour something some words have tastes, and when the senses become interlocked in that way, you have this extended experience that no one else can have, you know that you have it and you can share it in terms of telling people what it what you experienced, but they will never experience it and sometimes I think that neurotypical people, without any neuro diverse traits, and I think we must all have some of them, but for me the power of imagery of words and the the silent emptiness of words, without images, or you think are there some and yes, they're the interconnecting words, they're the words like it of can then some can be attached like on has maybe a movement attached to it. But essentially, the imagery of words is massive.
And I think this is this is why this this motivation for this podcast today being death or change is there you go. It's going to be called death. Or change. I don't know it's all gonna bend. But death is an end. And death is an existential entrance into the black depending again, I say that but it all depends what your religion your philosophy and your spiritual concerns are. Of course, death might be the moving into another existence, but essentially, it's the end of what we have now.
Whereas change for me, is associated with the ringing of the bell. You come to the end of your stop the bus bell rings, and all change. People leave that environment and they go into another environment and there's a there's a sense of transition. And some people will know exactly where they're going and the bell will ring and they will move to their next location or if they don't know what the next location is. They'll move out onto the pavement, they'll move out onto the platform, and they'll look at the signs around them. They'll take a look at their phones, they'll they'll know where they need to be. They don't necessarily know how they're going to get there. But there needs to be this sense of communication for the people who have been running the bus that you're being asked to change from what happens to them, you know, do they just sit there in the bus and go Well, I wasn't given a timetable. I don't know where to go next. Do you just become a member of the public or a passenger and just join the passengers? Or do you sit there and wait to be given instructions and that is kind of where I found myself with the current rule change with equity UK and the surprising announcement of the branch structure change that things have been going on in an office that I'm not quite got security clearance for and yet I'm really engaged and I really want to engage a group around me so in terms of being a rock, I wouldn't call myself an influencer. But there's those people who are superfans, I guess, and superfans sort of announced what's going on and people will will congregate around superfans, which was a concept for some of the early social media projects where you engage really engaged creators and then those creators have their own audiences and, and then rather than having to engage with everybody, you just engage with superfans. But the superfan has to have has to have a purpose and has to feel that they are of use and value and I have probably outstayed any logical welcome in terms of the online brand simply because of its abrupt announcement that that's it, it's over. There's no acknowledgement that the hard work that committees have put in over the years to engage members that we would then go to to share that something is happening. The Ring Ring ring all change. Where do they go to? There is this sense that there's just a death and I don't know I think with death, there's a sense of betrayal with change. There's a sense of continuum.
And I think a lot of the sentiment that I'm taking from this process at the moment is one of aggression. Is one of complacency. Is one of, I just said... oblivion because I know that the people that have put all the hard work in over the last 18 months to two years to create this new rule book. The work that has gone into it will have been phenomenal. But the fact that the first level of superfan were excluded. We've kind of been left in this position where we have no other option than to go Hold on a minute no bots and to be presented with a democratic referendum vote. So this process that started two years ago, was announced to the wider membership blanket wise so there wasn't any privileged access for somebody like me, who's a superfan who's been on the peripheral of trying to engage members for years and years, literally. It just came out of the blue. And I'd heard mumblings but hadn't anything official, so I it wasn't a surprise when the referendum was announced. But even then I only picked it up because somebody from Council tweeted about it. And then 24 hours later, someone got in touch and said, Oh, have you seen it on the website? It wasn't really signposted sufficiently so don't be been published as a link but the page that it was linked to wasn't really accessible from any outward engagement.
And that was done in August. And at the time, it was the Edinburgh Fringe. So a lot of my attention was geared around, you know, what's going on at Edinburgh. What's gonna happen next, what's going to come in the autumn? And it's kind of that step change. It's like with summer season, you know, after the summer seasons happen, what's going to happen next year leading into Christmas, so, you know, starting to think about production for Panto, or Christmas shows or Christmas parties, all it. So there's, there's this there's this flow of life that goes on that you try and maintain. And it just came out of the blue.
So that was August where the announcement was. There's going to be open meetings. For the membership, the entirety of the membership because they wanted to ask everybody's opinion. So at that point, everyone who identified as a superfan was basically slapped around the face with a wet fish. Some are more belligerent than others, but people like myself who really do give a lot of myself to my union was kind of left going, Oh, okay, well, I need to look through this then and decide what am I going to feed back and how am I going to engage the people around me who will have probably no interest in this but you know, what's in here if you were negotiating with a management with a contract, because this is what the rulebook is, it's a contract between the leaders and the members are the executive and the members and what is this? What is this thing that is called equity? It's this book and if everybody got wiped out tomorrow, and we had to reform the Union from scratch, there would be this book that would, would be a guide to you know, what are the principles and philosophies of this group? How can we, is it something we want to recreate you know, how did they do it? How did the democracy work? How do they elect their leaders? How do they conduct business and it should all being one, one book.
And so yeah, over the years, there's been a lot of changes but to have just had it launched, The people around me that I am able to go I can't possibly process all of this text. As a dyslexic. The thought of all of that text just horrified me it was actually quite well laid out in terms of the first instance. But if you want to dive deep, if you want to delve deeper, you really do have to not have the hurdle of text being a problematic thing for you. So it was several members of the online branch that did really pick into I mean, it must have taken them ages, and they actually revealed a few things that we were like, Okay, that's quite worrying. And when they were taken to the open meetings, there was a very good sense of telling you what the plus points were, but not really any address to the concerns that were being raised. And as a result of those concerns, not being raised and not being adopted. There ended up being a couple of the things that had been raised. That really, really concerned me, I mean, I know it's change, and this is not a podcast about what people are to vote about, because that's this isn't. This podcast isn't about that this is about me trying to make sense of the world around me and at the moment this is one of the things that I'm really trying to make sense of around me and the implications and the death and changes. The online branch is going to end.
the referendum was announced and that is referendum to accept the rules. However, a document has been circulated and I don't think it's gone to everybody as well. And this is where these superfan structures aren't really in place. A document has gone out outlining the restructuring of the branches and that isn't even included in the structure of the rules. And in fairness, there is in at least in the online branch rules and standing orders, the existence of the branches within the remit of counsel to say yes or no. So, in that sense, I'm coming to terms with change. But that change also feels a little bit like death because there's a finality, to me not really knowing where I belong, where the people who I've championed on behalf of equity who have signed up and opted in will belong because we've had to jump through quite a lot of change hurdles.
So I'm left contemplating death and change. Do I want more change? Can I go along with the change? And if I do go along with the change, it's the all change and becoming a passenger and being a passenger or being a participant is a very, very different role than actually being a champion or a superfan. Or an influencer? It's a lot less time consuming. But an all change. Oh, I suppose I can't sit in this carriage that is online branch on my own to become a passenger. However, I do know that there will be people left on that bus who have nowhere to go. And it is the needs of the few yeah, there's a Vulcan quote there! The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many to the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
In terms of change, okay, let's bring this to an end in terms of change. industrially the union won't have changed. The staff will still do their job and the contracts will still get developed and the campaigns will still take place. The branch structure will start afresh. So in some ways, it is this rebirth, there will be a rebirth. There will be the some parts of the old world that will creep into it. But essentially there's a lot of regions that will be starting from fresh and in the in the ways that language matters in terms of frame.
This is the thing that Equity doesn't do well. It doesn't frame language. It doesn't tell a story. It doesn't take people on a journey to a destination where they feel they can invest and they feel that they can commit and feel safe. And I've tried to tell that story. I've tried to tell the story of the online branch how democracy can be different how democracy doesn't need to be exacted at a time and a place and a location that democracy can be an extended process. It can be a conversation with rules and timelines and deadlines. That is the that is the loss. That is what change and death is going to take away from the union. It's going to remove that innovation that for a short time, for 10 years actually gave members a depth of democracy that you cannot even, we, No, you can because you can do proxy voting, you can have a postal vote.
So actually, it gave the union it gave the union something that actually yeah, already has, oh my God. You know, it's like it's a month process that we've got this referendum. That process that process of having the discussion, having the debate. Having a vote and giving people the opportunity to vote over a period of time, is what the online branch was living. It wasn't an ongoing referendum. It happened 24/7.
It enabled us to engage with members in America who were in different time zones. It enabled us to engage and welcome members that were living in the EU. It was able to welcome and engage members that were on cruise ships. It was able to bring people in whilst they were transitioning to be a regional member.
So yeah, if you if you've reached the end of here, thank you. Thank you so much. And it has been a real story journey for me. But I think what I take away from this, whether the vote is for yes or for no the thing that I will be taking to the people who might listen is the sense that every vote in a branch should have the capacity to operate as the votes and the referendums do member wide. Every single branch membership should have the autonomy to be a collective in itself, and to be able to call votes where a vote does not mean that you have to be at a place and a time and the biggest thing that has killed the branch structure, apart from the ones that really strive well is people cannot be there time after time after time. And it's got to... democracy has to exist when you're not present.
I finish, I've finished the podcast with the notion of presence. Where are you present and where your democracy should follow you. You shouldn't have to chase democracy. Democracy should be something that you are afforded and you can engage and participate in. No matter what your economic status is, or your geographic location, or your health or your well being or your occupation. Your caring status. It should be something that you have access to.
So that I think is gonna be the one thing that I take back to Equity. If there's a yes or no vote, I want to try and get the presence of the referendum and the extended presence of a council and committee election to be transposed onto the branch network.
I have no idea how long this is going to be. Thank you so much for listening. I feel I've kind of brought it to an end. If you are new to my podcast Thank you very much. This was episode 20.
Please do go and listen back to some of the others don't feel that you have to listen to them all in their entirety. Look at the titles and if there's a word that resonates with you, play the beginning. skip through it, scan through it, don't feel it have to listen to it. There is attached with it a transcript I always attach to the auto transcript. And for those sorts of things. You can go through that and you can skim through the transcript and because it's associated with the audio, you could just play a paragraph and hear me saying those words and sometimes those words make sense when they're being said so use it as a living podcast.
So I am Caron @PCMcreative on Twitter. Please do get in touch with me if you listen or watch these. I only have a really teeny tiny audience. But these matter to me and I want them to matter to you too. So Death or Change? Its perspective. But try and have that perspective where you are the person that matters.