Saturday, 20 February 2021

A(lmost a) Year Indoors

As I write this, it is February 20th 2021, which means in 3 days it will be 11 months since the first lockdown was announced in the United Kingdom as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Admittedly, saying the lockdown was as a result of Covid-19 is probably something I didn't need to write, but thought it worthwhile to provide some form of context, just in case we all forget (laugh out loud). Whenever I renew the domain name linked to this blog, I always promise myself that I will sit down to write more and then inevitably never do. More often than not, it is because I can't be bothered. A small part of it is because, aside from a tweet now and then and quietly having the links on my social media, I don't promote the fact it exists (and so, no-one reads what I write). However most recently my excuse has been there is nothing happening (which I feel is a perfectly valid one). I've considered writing full blogs about new albums I've liked, or books I've read that I've enjoyed, but I always decide against it. The Albums of 2020 post would give an example as to why, just picking something and saying "I like it" isn't exactly enthralling reading (and a bit pointless to write, in my view). 

The point of me writing this now is because I've just completed an update of a spreadsheet I keep, which records what bands I've seen and where I've seen them. A recent update before I bought my Chromebook was to add the years I saw certain bands at festivals. When I purchased the Chromebook, and imported the excel sheet across to my Google Drive, I saw that the comments I had written could now not be edited, and if I wanted to add to them, I would have to reply. This was something I considered a minor annoyance but nothing more. That is until the pandemic started and the only form of live music I was getting came in the form of live streams. Without question, for my tastes at least, the most prolific live streaming artist that I am a fan of is Frank Turner. I asked the question of myself whether I could include the live streams on the list and concluded that I could provided I watched them when they happened (as opposed to a replay of it). How this is all linked is that I was adding the comments on top of the exported comments that were there and it looked ugly as all hell. Given that I am not exactly what you could call busy right now, I decided to re-do the list so it was a fresh list on Google Drive and rewrite all the comments. If you are bored like me, you can look at it here

Doing this was an arduous task, because the list has 817 individual entries on it. I decided as I started to also include, where possible, the year the gigs all took place (to match the festival sets). This isn't always possible (mainly for local band gigs where I don't have tickets, and there are no records online of the gig having ever taken place). but I think the list is as accurate as it can be. The main takeaway from doing it I think is how bad my memory is in terms of thinking when gigs took place. An example of this was me trying to find the year I saw Madness at the O2 Arena. I couldn't find the ticket in my ticket scrapbook, and there were two cleat entries on for Madness gigs at the O2 Arena that I thought either could be plausible - 2014 or 2016. I immediately thought it was 2014, but there was something on the setlist which just didn't look right (that thing being they played My Girl and then immediately played their new sequel for the song, My Girl 2). It was my memory of this that eventually enabled me to pinpoint the gig I went to, and in fact it was actually in 2012 (and sure enough, the ticket was there in my scrapbook, but I didn't think to look that far back). This also happened in reverse as well - I couldn't remember when I saw Stiff Little Fingers in Portsmouth and didn't have the ticket, and again gave options, and at first I chose 2016, which is wrong as it turns out because I saw them in 2019. 

It wasn't the most fun of tasks by any stretch of the imagination, but I am glad it is now done. I did have a few moments of sadness when doing it though because I am still very much missing live music. It is coming up to one year since I went to my last proper gig, a day I imagine I'll be a bit sad on. The chat about when gigs can come back isn't exactly filling me with joy either. That said, I am of the view that everything that needs to stay closed should stay closed until it is safe to open (and the government should support the businesses in this position). I would not be happy if removing restrictions happened too early and shit hit the fan again. I saw some chat the other day about a potential 3rd wave, and yet there are voices in government saying this lockdown needs to be the last one - which isn't exactly reassuring. I guess we'll see what happens. 

Anyway, ramble over. 

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