Making ends meet as a creative with 101 Part Time Jobs

“I’m a creative, but right now I’m a bartender.” It’s at the very core of Distortion’s mission to get London’s hidden creative talent seen. While most of us are still in the middle of this collective daily struggle, some have managed to escape. Giles Bidder’s podcast 101 Part Time Jobs focuses on the side jobs musicians and artists have had to make ends meet between touring and recording, and quite frankly, it’s capable of even giving those with minimum wage hospitality jobs hope.

Giles Bidder is a journalist and musician who discovered radio as a means to do both those things in duality. After years of writing for various publications, he started his own company, Mighty Moon Media, where he focuses on radio and podcasts, combined with his love for punk and indie.

Like many of us, his path to get where he is right now was not completely straight forward and took some serious hustling to make it work. If you find yourself in creative circles, you have most likely surrounded yourself with artists, musicians and creatives who have jobs on the side to make ends meet. For Giles, that meant working in a supermarket, garden and renovation work, spending countless nights behind a bar and slowly working himself up to working for magazines and companies in the music industry. 

101 Part Time Jobs

He eventually found himself working at Soho Radio and found his true passion: radio and broadcasting. He looked back at the long road him and his friends have taken to land where they are right now, and a concept was born: 101 Part Time Jobs. A podcast on the sometimes insane side jobs that musicians and artists need to fill the financial gap between touring and recording.

“The idea came about seven years ago. I had moved away from London after my band got a booking agent, and it felt like I was spending more time working garden jobs and running errands than I was doing the thing I wanted to do – play music. The initial idea was a book of short stories about my encounters with people I was working for around that time. I felt like I had two options: being numb and sad, or enjoy how ridiculous it was. I realised that this must be the case for a lot of people in bands, and it has a humility that can create good stories.”

“The first big name I got was Dane Baptiste, who’s a terrific comedian. That was really early on and he gave me the impetus to carry on doing this, thinking it actually wasn’t too bad an idea, when he had some funny anecdotes about working at a betting shop. At that point I was like ‘how many other people has he talked about this too?’. It had a sense of vulnerability but also perseverance. I find that fascinating.”

Two years and 47 episodes later, Giles had the pleasure of having chat with everyone from Creeper’s Will Gould, the Menzingers’ Tom May, Paul Smith from Maxïmo Park and many more.

Speaking to a wide range of musicians and artists at different levels of their careers, he got to hear about an even wider range of experiences. From the more mundane and relatable jobs in hospitality, to sometimes plain ridiculous situations. “My recent favourite is Shawna from Baltimore hardcore band War On Women answering an ad on Craigslist, and discovering the job was dancing for Spinal Tap acoustic. For a wider audience, I interview IDLES guitarist Bowen, who’s a registered dentist.”

Not giving up

“Doing whatever you can to do the thing that makes you tick. We have an obsession of people being young – you’ve gotta become successful at an early age or you’re a failure. That’s just not true. IDLES were a band for seven or eight years before that first album. It’s about being smart, too. If you know that tour or project will bottom you out of money…. don’t do it. Think about what would be healthy for you. Not to say that I’m the healthiest person, but I’m trying to be.”

In need of some inspiration or a motivational talk without the cheesy quotes? You can find the 101 Part Time Jobs podcast here.

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