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Thursday, 17 May 2012

The Volunteer Performer Scam of The Century!

Warning! This blog entry is more of a rant than anything else...

"Volunteer performers needed!"

And with these words, the biggest scam of the 21st century begins! Now, I know that by the end of this blog post, I am not going to be favourable with alot of people within the "Arts world" however you wouldn't ask for a volunteer barmaid or a volunteer cashier, but by some amazing streak of industrial blagging, employers within the arts industry feel no remorse at refusing to pay people for performing. Furthermore, the victims of this industrial slave mentality are so engulfed by their stockholm syndrome for the arts that they begin to Thank! to Thank! those who have refused to pay them for their services for giving them "the opportunity" and the "experience"!

This is very simply a scam and please don't just take my word for it, lets take a look at the numbers! If I sell tickets to see a show at £8-10 and I get an audience of say 400, that  £3200-4000 of income. If I only have to remove say £200 for the rent of a hall for an evening (this is often waved, especially if the venue has a bar as the bar intake is normally enough) and a further £300-500 for props and costume, then I, the very very crafty producer, am walking away with a profit of £2500-3500 for the first show and then a profit of £3000-3800 for every subsequent show! if I paid each of my actors just MINIMUM WAGE and the show lasted one hour, I would need to employ 455 people to make a loss. As it is the average show contains 10-25 actors and this means that, unless the show lasted for more than 18 hours, I am guaranteed a profit. Moreover I could, at these prices, afford to pay my actors £100 each night and still walk away with £500-1300 profit after the second show.

There is no reason why performers should be expected to use their skills for free under these circumstances!

There is also this second ridiculous notion that performers need to perform for free for a certain period at the beginnings of their career to somehow prove their dedication to the arts. This notion is absurd! Plumbers are not expected to plumb for free at the beginnings of their career to prove their dedication to their craft, neither are shop assistants, nor bakers, nor even the armed forces! It is simply part of the indoctrination into this scam.

Simply put, if you are working for someone and making them money, then you should ensure that you are not doing it for free.

Mr Magic

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Evil has a name and that name is Joseph Kony

The Following is a letter sent to the UK's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, on the 7th of March 2012.
This Email have been reformatted and my real name has been omitted as well as some information changed to hide the number of private subscribers to this Blog (Mentioned in the original only to add some pressure to gain a reply faster).

Dear Mr Hague

I am writing to bring to your attention the brilliant work of "Invisible Children", A campaign to stop child abduction, sex slavery and abuse by the Militant African group "The Lords Resistance Army" (more commonly referred to as the LRA) who's crimes against humanity are so vile and shocking as to challenge our very understanding of the ethical paradigm we call Humanity.

The Leader of the LRA is Joseph Kony, he is currently at the top of the International Criminal Courts Most Wanted list above many War lords and Terrorists, not simply because of the number of deaths that he is responsible for, but because of the perversity of his crimes. From forming an Army of child soldiers (who are forced to kill their parents) to selling children as young as eight years of age into prostitution, Kony belongs to the very select group of people who, to define as human, degrades our species. However what separates Kony from this group, is not the crimes which he has committed but the length of time he has been allowed to commit them by the international community.

Kony has been actively committing these crimes against humanity since 1986! That means that he has now generations of soldiers, all of whom started out as child soldiers and many of whom are now Senior Commanders in his 30,000 strong army. We have allowed this atrocity to continue for 26 years and to allow it to continue for a single day longer could only be described as abominable. 

How was this situation allowed to develop? Simple, Kony and the LRA were both born in Uganda, Africa. There is no oil in Uganda, it is not part of the EU, NATO or any such body other than the UN. It is a very poor country and its inhabitants are Africans. If they were British, French, American, German, Russian, Chinese, Australian or any other nationality apart from African there would be international uproar but Africa has come to accept that in the eyes of the greater international community, they are simply irrelevant. Please do not mistake this as a claim of racism on behalf of the international community, this has nothing to do with the colour of an Africans skin, only the geography that persons birth. 

There is no argument against this point by the way. It is fact that during the last 18 years of Kony's rebellion over 1.6 million Ugandans have become internally displaced and a further 40,000 (over half of whom are children) walk miles each night to the nearest major city to try to avoid abduction in their smaller villages and towns, only to have to walk back to their villages at day-break. If over 20,000 children and their parents were sleeping each night in schools, hospital courtyards and Bus stations around London or Paris (or any city in Europe!) for fear of abduction it would be international news in seconds and it would be mere hours before we would be offered/be offering international aid. 

So far the only international aid that has been offered to the Ugandan Government to help stop the LRA is 100 US Military personnel, who are "consultants" to the Ugandan Government but are not going to be conducting any direct or indirect effort to try to bring to justice Joseph Kony, their remit is to "remove Joseph Kony from the battlefield".

This, rather token act, is the socio-political equivalent of giving someone a litre bottle of water to help fight a forest fire. Yes it will help, but a lot more is needed and its needed now! 

We need to find a way to limit and stop the activities of the LRA. We need to find a way of counselling these children and adults back into society after, what could have been, years of fear and forced atrocities. We need to find a way of making sure that this never can happen again. 

I will not claim to have the answers, I do not know whether removing Kony will just lead to a new leader of the LRA or whether as it was born with him, so it would die with him. What I do know is that Kony must be brought to trial, he must be seen by the world as the vile filth that he is and most importantly we, Europe and the rest of the world must stop ignoring the internal issues of African nations. It was mostly our ignorance which facilitated the growth of the LRA and so it should be mostly our attention which leads to its ultimate end.

I eagerly await your reply as to what you plan to propose in parliament, to aid the plight of the Ugandan people and to bring to justice Joseph Kony.

Yours Sincerely

Mr Magic