Its 11 months now since I was made redundant after more than a decade working in local government. As I wrote at the time, I had mixed feelings on my exit. Whatever the size of the redundancy cheque – and mine just about saw me through – in the current economic climate there is something slightly terrifying about being let go. At the same time I remember how I felt like one of the lucky ones. It was the poor sods left behind that I really felt sorry for. They would have to continue as before but in a working environment still less hospitable to their endeavours.
While the writing career hasn’t quite taken off – well, it still isn’t paying the bills – the sense of elation at being freed of the obligations of public service was undeniable. I hasten to add that I have since returned as a consultant and with a new enthusiasm for the day job. But such is the individuation of our working (and non-working) lives these days – that’s my excuse anyway – I had yet to take stock of the creative talents of those around me. It was only when I had all the time in the world to scroll through their Facebook updates that I discovered that they had so much more to offer.
So I thought as the lights were dimmed for the second night of a short run of the intriguingly titled Redundancy the Musical, written and composed by a former colleague of mine. That Naomi Lowde was able to find inspiration in what is the grey managerial world of local government is quite something. That she made it entertaining too was a bonus. So, while these creatives are being let loose on the world – and they’ll no doubt find ever more inventive ways of making art and making ends meet – I can’t help feeling that a public sector long past being able to harness such things is the poorer for it.