I left university with the absolute intention to become a composer, but only a vague meaning of what that meant. I knew I was taking on a hard task with poor financial prospects, but my understanding of this was hazy, based on parental warnings and the half-understood examples of my smattering of older friends. I hoped that as I spent more time in the arts, things would clarify.
Yet the mystery of artists’ finances only grew with experience. I am very privileged; my parents pay my rent, ease my cash-flow, and help with much more besides. Yet I regularly come across people whose existence seems completely out of reach: the musician with thousands of pounds of electronic equipment; the artist who seemed to be 50% late-night debauchery, 50% inspired art, 0% day job. My mystification, to my shame, also extended in the other direction. With all my privilege, I feel like I’m working at full capacity. How do those without such resources manage