Australian Arts Workers Create ‘Everything Is Fine’, A Song And Dance About Getting Left Behind

A protest bop.

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There’s only so much a mantra can do, but maybe ‘Everything Is Fine’ will make you laugh. Made by four down-and-out Australian creatives, the (incredibly catchy) song offers advice of things to do to pass the time while social isolating and running low on funds.

Sung by Sydney artist Shalane Connors, the song — part Shania Twain, part 2010s indie-pop banger — sees her go a little mad while treading water. She does the usual COVID-19 busywork: you know, does her finances, throws a one-woman disco, marries a pickle, starts a cult. You know how it is.

The song does have an undercurrent of anger though, as Connors and her isolated team (Nicky Bomba, Vic Emilio Abbonizio, Ulysses Oliver) are all arts workers who are falling through the cracks of Australia’s Job Keeper scheme.

Where the scheme sees the government pay employers $1500 a fortnight per employee to be then passed along as a way to keep them on the books, many in the arts have already lost their jobs and have no chance of recovering them, even with Job Keeper.

Due to the freelance and contract nature of arts work, many artists only have cancelled events or paused calendars to point towards — I Lost My Gig, a site were artists can log their cancellations, is currently sitting at $330 million of lost revenue.

Currently, just 47 per cent of Australia’s arts businesses are operating, and is easily the most heavily hit industry by COVID-19. But as The Guardian point out, our arts industry has been given no direct bailout. Compare this to aviation, which was given a $750 million bailout: yet the wider creative and cultural industry contributes $111.7 billion to our GDP, against aviation’s $18 billion.

Many arts organisations are also not eligible for JobKeeper. With many relying on philanthropy, fundraisers or grants, they can’t prove their loss of income in the ways the program stipulates. Meanwhile, finance bros and the wealthy are saying work must return to normal — oh, and people must die — as the economy is more valuable than some lives.

It’s enough to make anyone mad. Watch ‘Everything Is Fine’ below, and, if you can, consider tipping the song’s team by downloading the track.