Jo Cave, Support Act.
Support Act does such great work supporting artists and music workers in crisis. How important is it to have an industry-specific organisation that understands the challenges faced in a music career?
Frankly it's essential. A career in music has many rewards, but the challenges are also enormous: late nights; irregular/low/no income; separation from friends and family, increased exposure to drugs and alcohol; anxieties associated with performing; fierce competition; feelings of isolation; physical demands; high levels of stress. And that's before anything goes wrong!
Support Act exists because so many people in music simply cannot afford a crisis: fewer than 3% of our service users have superannuation and fewer than 1% have health cover, which can mean there is no way of dealing with the bills that accompany a car accident, a cancer diagnosis or a bereavement. Support Act is the safety net. We provide our service with understanding, without judgement and in complete confidence
Tell us a bit about what you do day-to-day. What would people be most surprised to learn about your job?
Given that Support Act is national charity delivering crisis relief within 7 days (and more often within 1 or 2 days) which helped 199 people last year, people are always surprised to realise all 5 staff Support Act staff (all of whom are women, by the way) work part time. Together we represent fewer than 3 full time equivalent employees. We don't operate an office, we all work from work and it is the dedication and flexibility of our team which enables us to achieve so much on such slender resources.
What obstacles do you think face women in the industry today?
30% of Support Act's service users are women, 70% are men. Does that tell us that there are more men in crisis or fewer women in music? Possibly both!
Who is someone you draw inspiration from, male or female?
Our service users inspire me every day. The people Support Act helps invariably live very modestly, without the comforts that many of us take for granted. They come to us because they are facing great adversity, sometimes in the worst possible circumstances. And yet, they are almost always humble, dignified and grateful. There is a lot to be learned from someone who has heard their music played on the radio every day and ends up living in their car, but who can still tell a great joke or write a moving thank you note.
Who would you like to nominate to be the next Five A Side and why?
Assuming you have already interviewed the powerhouse that is Support Act's social worker, Lindy Morrison, Narelle Butterworth would be my pick. An unassuming tour de force of calm, consideration and great capability who helps Support Act achieve great things from our fundraising events (without which we could not survive) whilst all the while holding down of the most demanding jobs at APRA-AMCOS.