It was the fortnight that changed everything really, and now we face a very uncertain future. As I write this all pubs and clubs and events are closed for the immediate future, and there’s no point in speculating on when they will come back for now. We are all first and foremost concerned with keeping everyone safe and healthy, so sacrificing some gigs is a small price.
Sadly, it will leave many artists, singers, staff, venue owners, promoters and many more broke, and I’m sure many won’t survive. All we can all do now is stay indoors and try and keep some degree of community spirit alive online or in other ways. Personally I’ll still write and do radio shows and I’ve also started to do some online mixing from my studio at home.
There are many others doing similar and it’s a reminder really, as if we needed it, that music is very much an important part of our lives. The mental health benefits of dancing and socialising can be seen very strongly here, and we also see how we take even meeting our friends for granted. Going for a coffee with a friend, buying a record, jamming to some music or whatever else, are some of the things that we can’t do freely at the moment, and for those depending on music to survive, it’s an apocalyptic time with a bleak future ahead.
On the positive side some will be able to use the extra time to create. Producers and many others are already joking that self isolation has long been the name of the game for them, but most people will be facing a new kind of reality where they might even have some extra time to do things they could not previously. Sadly, monetising this is gonna be more difficult than ever, and music and the arts will face many challenges during and after this current crisis, whenever it does end. It was already a struggle, but this is likely to make it worse for most.
At the moment, missing that rapper at a festival seems like a very trivial problem. We’ve all had to take massive hits but ultimately, health and survival is more important than anything else right now. Keeping the spirits up might be difficult in these weeks and months, but we might also remember that there are many out there who live in these circumstances 24/7 and most of us here are privileged enough not to be starving or living in the streets or sick all the time.
The sharpness of the change has been remarkable, I was performing at the Electric Picnic launch a short few weeks back and normally we would have then been discussing that line-up in this Echo Downtown column. Hopefully by September things will be better but at the time of writing it all seems very irrelevant now. The uncertainty is gonna make a lot of people even more anxious, but it’s important we try to keep ourselves busy in the next few weeks and months.
Personally I’ll try and write more, make more music, continue DJing online and sort out that record collection that has been waiting for attention for many years now. It is somewhat of an opportunity in this regard but like all of us the fear and anxiety is present too, and there will be dark times where we are wondering what will happen even if this whole situation does get sorted in the short to medium term. At the moment all we can do it take it day by day.
That community spirit I mentioned has been very evident in stories of people out helping the elderly and vulnerable, and in fairness, the music community are doing their thing too. The scenes of gigs and parties from isolated balconies are pretty heartwarming, and I’m sure there will be many such events that try to foster some degree of socialising, even from a distance.
Many of us love going clubbing and gigging and listening to music together, and as a DJ I always maintain it’s a great job to share music you like with others. It’s not always a bed of roses even at the best of times but i think many people are appreciating that we love music and it’s one thing we still have when it comes to gaining some sort of escape. We may not be able to escape physically at the moment but music will hopefully help us to escape from the terror of all of this in the weeks and months ahead.