Corey Mwamba


Just a few days...

...before the petition ends.

It's been heartening to see the support it's received from all over the world. Although it's been put across in most reports as being for musicians, the petition remains [as it began] for artists in any art form: and has been signed by them as well as promoters, managers, agents; and all people that think that working for a living is not unreasonable in the developed world.

I suppose when I started it, I had absolutely no idea if it'd make any difference at all, and whether I had the right to start it. I mean, the issue of the petition is something that doesn't affect me directly: I had a paid gig through playing at the BT River Of Music—it was a LOCOG related gig.

But the fact that I was being paid didn't make everything all right—when there are cases of things being done incorrectly then it does none of us any good to just sit there and say "I'm all right, Jack".

Nor is it good to allow these things to slide by because we think it's the way of the world. Cynicism is aggressively mediocre: a default setting of rigidity that is all too common.

There have obviously been critics of the petition: some have said [unthinkingly, in my view] that no artist should feel entitled to be paid for their work, which for me raises the question why anyone anywhere should be paid anything for any work that they do.

Others have pointed out that athletes are not being paid as they are amateur, which not only is untrue [as professional athletes have been allowed to compete since around the 1980s] but also a logical non sequitur. Athletes compete at the Games; artists work. The two groups are not performing the same function. This is not an anti-sport argument—in fact, it has nothing to do with sport, like much of the organisation of the Olympics.

Nor is it against volunteering. Volunteering to do something is worthwhile, and when it's done properly benefits society. We're talking about contracting people for supposedly paid work and then telling them they're "volunteering" after the fact.

Thankfully, there are several thousand people that understand these things, and they are supporting us now. And I do feel it's making changes; not in a large way, but slowly. It's slow because we are dealing with a mindset; and in terms of how I see [British] society is shaped right now, we have one of the most dogmatic, self-centred and manipulative mindsets going. The situation with artists is just the very tip of the iceberg. I aimed the petition around that because it's my field, and prevalent in my field, but I know [and can see] that it's happening in other areas too.

It is a behaviour that is bringing the country into disrepute.