Don't think I'm getting all egotistical, it was just a clever way of getting you to read something I feel very strongly about.
My friends, I have to confess that I started this year in a bad place. My aim for 2011 was to cheer up and enjoy life, and also to finally make this art thing work for me, full-time. The latter, I started to work on immediately by getting back to commissions, and I'm still going (though it's not easy, even now). The former... well...
As artistic types, we spend a lot of time in solitary. Not prison, of course, but in a prison of our own making. Slaves to deadlines, forever shunning social occasions and sunlight, sitting for hours with no thought of escape, a decent meal or anything beyond coffee and maybe Twitter. For me personally, I spend hours at the laptop, playing with Illustrator. This bookends the hours spent at a workstation, performing menial, monotonous tasks in a sterile office. I sit.
So, how to break this? I decided, in line with my (for lack of a better term) New Year Resolutions, to take a risk and sign up for a charity zip line event at Old Trafford football ground, just down the road from me (yes, Manchester United fans, I live a stone's throw from the Theatre of Dreams... but I support Hull City!). I NEVER do things like this, partly because I am stupidly afraid of heights (I can't exaggerate enough how much even the thought of what I'm going to do makes my stomach flip), but also because I'm a shy(ish) reclusive, unsociable type, even for an artist/comic fan.
Now, with that in mind, I want to tell you why I'm excited about it. It's in aid of Francis House Children's Hospice, which is a care centre for terminally sick children aged 16 and under. I know it's easy to become indifferent to charity with so many appeals around, but I can't help but think that every time one of those kids smiles, it's a wake-up call to everyone who doesn't have their burden. Certainly, it's made me think twice about how bloody lucky I am to live the life that I do. Guilt? Yeah, to some degree. Look at how many times I've moaned about lack of motivation or things going wrong in the last year (well, don't...)? In the grand scheme of things, it's nothing. A blip.
Considering I signed up to this ridiculous stunt for fairly selfish reasons, I'm now obsessed with raising a TON of money for Francis House, because that's why I should have signed up to begin with, and because they deserve it.
As an extra incentive, I've added a little competition. I will perform the zip line slide dressed as a superhero, and who that superhero is will be determined by the person with the largest donation by March 10th (deadline is so I can make the costume before the stunt on March 26th). Seriously, I will dress as whoever (currently winning with a bid of £21 is She-Ra), even your own creation if you want. Photos and video will be taken.
The target is £190, but I want to far, far exceed that. I hope some of you would consider donating and getting involved.
My justgiving page (if you would like to donate): http://www.justgiving.com/jamie-roberts0/
Francis House Children's Hospice site (if you want to read more): http://www.francishouse.org.uk/index.cfm/page/home