“Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.”
Debt is everywhere. Most of us are in some sort of personal financial debt. Our nation is in debt to the tune of billions. The global economy is in debt to the tune of trillions. Debt leads to sleepless nights, endless worries and despair.
So it’s very brave of Tina Sederholm; poet, performer, raconteur and author; to turn up at the Swindon Fringe in the hope of us seeing the funny side of debt. She’s unfortunately in a position to be familiar with the topic. As fellow poet Robert Graves pointed out: “There’s no money in poetry.”
Since leaving the traditional workplace to ply her trade as poet 19 years ago she’s learned, the hard way, to be sober about money. She started with the mantra: “Do what you love and the money will follow” only to find that love will only carry you so far.
I hope I’m not making this sound too drab. Tina Sederholm’s show is told in a warmly rueful tone. It’s also educational. I hadn’t considered that debt predates money, but was a seasonal necessity back in the days when we survived by bartering. And she demonstrates, very clearly, that money itself is in many ways an empty promise. Global finance has stretched things to the point where international currency itself is a fiction. A house of cards that could be toppled by a single ill wind.
The end of the show takes the subject of debt into a rather sober and personal direction. A personal debt can hold a value beyond diamonds and a small human kindness can be the sort that can never be repaid. Money isn’t a monster, the delusion of need just makes it so.
Tina Sederholm is a deceptively powerful orator and a gifted wordsmith. Her weary yet wise conversation gave us a chance to view things in proper perspective; if just for a moment.
The Swindon Fringe continues until 15th April