The sun shines through the window and the wind rustles the trees. It’s quiet. A soft melody playing in my head and I take a deep breath. Ah… This has been three chaotic and insane months and finally, I am in a place where I can relax. I can let my shoulders finally fall and loosen my jaw, which has contributed to my headaches. I don’t get headaches! Still, they’ve been present together with the looming anxiety. I am a live sound engineer. Although, I don’t know if that’s me anymore, but saying it out loud gives me hope. Hope that one day, not too far away, I will step into the sound booth and work. I long for it. My whole being longs. Whilst life slowly went back to normal in London, I’ve struggled. If I can’t afford to wait for the industry to resume. Who am I?
A few weeks ago I met a couple that belongs to my inner circle. They talked about the breaks in the comfort of their own home and not having to commute. We discussed identity and both of them told me they don’t have this feeling. They both have well-paid jobs and are happy doing their Monday to Friday shifts. At the end of their working day, they stop and leave work at work. Or these days, turn off their computers and work phones.
So why are we in the arts identifying ourselves so much with our work? Is it because we followed our dreams and passions? Maybe it’s because we use our identity in our work and they merge into one. A songwriter uses their experience to create a song. A painter expresses their identity in their art. Like I use my experience and love to craft my work. At the beginning of the lock-down I did a personality test and tried to figure out what I should do with “the rest of my life”. Yes, I am a cliché. I don’t care. The point is I did a full circle. Three months later I filled out a form for a career thing and I realised I do not want to do anything else and I will fight tooth and nail to get my work back.
So now I rest. I wander around my mum’s house in the idyllic countryside in Sweden and greet their hens in the chicken coop. I dream of a packed sweaty room where no one is standing still. But for now; this is not too bad either.
Linnéa Kempe is FOH (well ALL of the house) sound engineer in the small legendary London club The Half Moon. The small team there is like her second family since her family is back home in Sweden! She plays in woodland pop duo MEADOWS and since “the lockdown” she’s also a feministing podcaster (@anditwentlikethispodcast).