Tracey Meek interview May 2013

Tracey Meek
Here goes, please tell me if I sound like a twat at any point:
* Got any good jokes you want to share with us?
Ok. Its not a joke but more of a trick that my daughter played on me the other day. I was sat there watching telly and she was like (with a shocked face) ‘Mum… whats that big pink thing in your mouth??’ …’open your mouth…’ so i did and she sat back, proud as punch, like ‘oh its ok, its just your tongue..’ Mum – 0 Milly – 37million
Oh and my mate, Mooney just told me this:
– Did you hear about the guy who told his girlfriend he wanted to build a car out of spaghetti? She laughed at him…..
-She wasn’t laughing when he drove pasta.
*What do you love most about your life?
I love my daughter. I love my friends and I love my family. I love the fact that I am not killing myself doing a horrible job that I hate just because society tells me I should. We don’t have a telly in every room, go on holiday twice a year, we don’t have plush furnishings and laura ashley curtains. We don’t have a sweety drawer and fizzy pop of many different flavourings but we do have a healthy, modest lifestyle. Milly still get’s to do the things she wants to do, instead of going on holiday twice a year, we visit family in different parts of the country, get out in the peaks and we work a couple of festivals. It seems to me, even people working crazy hours are broke. Its like the more stuff you acquire, the more hours you work, the more stress…. There is a freedom in having little.
At the moment I am freelancing, work comes and goes and sometimes I don’t know when the next ‘pay cheque’ is coming in but with a bit of clever budgeting I manage to keep a roof over my head and I am able to spend quality time with my daughter, making sure that she has the right amount of input to make her future magnificent. That is the most amazing thing about where I am at this moment in time. And everything ultimately changes, and as long as you are strong in your thoughts and ideas, everything will change and grow for the absolute best.
*What have been your highlights of 2013 so far?
Just coming to conclusions about where it is I want to be really. I know that I will always have my art work, and I am so proud of what I have developed as an artist. But music is where it is for me. I get so excited about the events that I put on with Small Lies, booking bands and creating an event that has an exciting eclectic mixture, its like adding ingredients to the pot, I am not sure what it would taste like if it was soup though! I think there would be a bit of eye squinting going on. But that’s what makes it exciting. I don’t just book a gig and put the bands on and that is the end of it. There is decoration, free cds/artwork, comedy, stalls, mix tape swaps, live art…. I want the whole thing to be a feast for the eyes and ears. The last gig I put on, I bought a load of polystyrene aeroplanes and stuck them about the place. When the main band played I handed them out for people to throw. It was magical! 
This year is all about making connections. Small Lies is just me and I do miss working as part of a team. I want to be part of something bigger. So if anyone is reading this, hit me up! 
*If you could be paid to do anything in the world as a job what would it be?
Just what I am doing now I reckon, or something similar. Only I would like to be paid a hell of a lot more (please)
And I would like to get paid to dance (not in a sexy way)
*What do you think is the difference between spirituality and religion?
Spirituality is something you are born with. Its whats inside you, it is a feeling… an energy. I think it is to some extent, nurtured by your surroundings. It is the person that you are and are becoming.
The word god is created by religion. It is something that you are told. Your spirituality is this religion because it says so here.
*What are your favourite things about where you live and why?
The people. 
It does feel like Derby has suffered recently, like lots of places. With the building of big horrible boxes filled with expensive trainers and empty units and the opening of loan shops with a million percent interest small prints. There was a time when it was really good. Especially for music. You had Off the Hook, Mantis Records, Technique.. It was all going off. It does feel like all of a sudden people are coming together again and I dunno, like something is stirring, creatively. It would be incredibly good for this city if more of these empty shops were used in an imaginative way. Like places like Durham, Nottingham and Manchester. There is a feeling like space is being put to good use there. I think with things the way they are, like economically, now is the time to take on creative projects that involve and inspire the community just like these things right here:
*What projects or organisations exist in Derby that you would like to see more people support?
There are so many things happening: Artsmith, Belper Arts, Wirksworth Festival, Bloom, Y-Not, Holysmokes, Hatch’d, Small Lies, Cityzine, Geofest, Soundbites, Yafflecafe, BabyJ, Cycle Derby …. I would really love to see some collaborations happening. 
*What does it mean to be a good parent?
It means having fun and doing your best and making positive changes from your experiences with your parents and your childhood. And guidence. Its just holding their hand a little bit in certain parts of their life and in others giving a gentle push for them to go it alone. Like I am experiencing with my 10 year old daughter at the minute, a reminder of how mean girls can be. They’re all at it, friends one day, the next tears and she did this and she did that. All I can do is listen and guide in the right thing to do and say. My basic principal for Milly and what I keep pushing for her is  that if someone is being mean you can retaliate and say something just as bad but at the end of the day that makes you just as bad and wastes vital energy and doesnt make you feel good at all. Its much better to try and consider why that person is behaving in such a way and in understanding that you can gain strength for yourself. Of course, that doesn’t mean to take shit off everyone and be a door mat. But where you can. Rise above it.
*If you could go back in time is their anything you would do differently?

What, and upset the time space continuum??

*How do you think the education system could be improved?
Millys education so far has been really good. She is doing well on most things, Maths is not her best subject, though through a lot of hard work and having a good teacher she has managed to remain in the high set. That was until streaming came into play. Streaming is when, at year 5 they split the children up into classes based on their ability. So where as before, there would be a class of mixed ability, some children would need a little help and some a bit more. Now the children who are in the higher set have the amazing teacher and the lower set are given the not so good teacher who from what I can see now and what I remember so well from school, is not able to control the class. But with everything, it seems, it comes down to money, if the school had the right amount of funding they would be able to afford more teaching assistants to lighten the load and have more resources for these situations.

*Do you have any good advice on how we can save money and survive these testing times?
Grow your own veg where you can. Don’t buy processed foods. Freeze home cooked meals. Drink cheap cider. Keep dancing.

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