Friday, 26 December 2014

Following in Mum's footsteps - life modelling.

Last academic year all the life modelling courses I did were arranged via the university so clients would approach them and the university would scuttle around trying to find models prepared to do what the customer wanted. Then everything got moved over to a newly created outside agency whose first move was to cut the pay rate for the actual modelling by 17.5% and the mileage allowance paid for travelling to the venue by 10%. 

Then in December they contacted me again claiming that they needed to make their business "more competitive" by cutting both the modelling and travel pay rates still further AND removing their obligation to provide models with a chaperone.

I did some quick sums and this is how it worked out. A three hour modelling contact typically takes 4.5 hours out of my day once I had allowed for the travel time and the unpaid break in mid-session. If I divided the amount I was paid by the 4.5 hours I was earning less than the minimum wage per hour. For life-modelling! No thank you very much!

So I didn't even bother returning the contract. Ten days later a second copy appeared with a note explaining that the first batch of contracts must have got lost somewhere as none had been returned to them!  The truth was of course that nobody in their right mind was going to sign a "zero hours" plus "minimum wage when work is available" agreement.   

I think expecting a life model to operate without a chaperone is the worst aspect of the proposed contract. In effect I am expected to arrive at a venue that I might never have seen before, to meet a group of artists that I have never seen before and then take off all my clothes regardless of the gender balance of the group. Well I for one am not going to work on that basis.  

It didn't take me long to find anther agency who, unlike the first, is run entirely by ladies. I will be meeting with the boss just after the New Year. Every few months she runs courses at half price for regular clients and in exchange for that she is allowed to use the discount course to both train and access the suitability of new recruits for her operation. I will let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

It is that cultural tradition again!

Although we come to the same conclusion from different directions (one religious and one secular) the views expressed within the article "Appropriate and Excessive Mourning" by Rabbi Bernie Fox pretty much agree with my own.

"The Talmud explains that it is prohibited for a person to engage in excessive mourning. The Torah has established standards for mourning. It is appropriate to cry within the first three days of the burial. For the first seven days it is fitting to eulogize the departed. Some elements of mourning are observed for thirty days. A person who loses a parent engages in some elements of mourning for twelve months. However, each element of the mourning process should be limited to the time allotted to it by the Torah."

"... there are two aspects to mourning. First mourning is an expression of personal loss. The mourner grieves the loss of his or her loved one and experiences the sorrow intrinsic in bidding farewell to the departed. Second, the mourning process acknowledges the departed and honors his or her memory."

"Life and death are part of a natural cycle. All living things experience stages beginning with birth, progressing through growth into maturity, and then decline and death. Is death of a loved one ever timely? Does a son or daughter ever welcome the death of even an aged beloved parent? If one’s death evokes deep and painful grief, it is because the departed brought to those who grieve intense happiness and joy. To not grieve is to not have loved."

"We cannot judge Hashem’s wisdom. It is not our place to question why He created the universe as He did. We certainly cannot expect to understand the reason for a person passing at a particular moment and not at some other time. Certainly, some deaths seem untimely to us – for example, the death of a young child. Is this death part of some cosmic plan according to which Hashem guides His universe? Is this tragedy part of some specific and detailed story that is in the process of unfolding? Who is haughty enough to claim that he knows the answers to these mysteries? We only know that Hashem is the Creator. He does not drowse or sleep. All that happens is a result of His unfathomable will."

I know that my Mum and Dad loved me and that I loved them. They wouldn’t have wanted me to be sad and if excessive mourning for them had made a difference to what university I qualified for they would have been furious! They are inside me via my genetics and my upbringing and that will have to be enough. And that pretty much is what all the students in the university bereavement group will tell you that they want to do, “suck it up and move on as best you can”. It is that UK cultural tradition again! 

People are free to make their own choices but surely they need to think what impact their choices are having on people around them? It must be enormously difficult to the married to somebody who is still in deep mourning for their Mother 10, 20 or even 30 years after she had died. 

It makes me sad that even on a bereavement group it is possible to find intolerant bullies who shout down any thoughts or views that are different from their own. They claim it their "freedom of speech right" to say anything that that want - then in the same paragraph they want to censor views they don't agree with. So it is freedom of speech for them but not for the rest of us.