Monday, 17 August 2020


I was reading back the blog I published on 6th April (I say published because I wrote it in small chunks over several days rather than just in one day and pushed send). That, in of itself, isn’t that remarkable - I do occasionally read back over what I’ve written after the event. That particular blog was a summary of the gigs I have been to so far in the year, written from a place of not knowing what was going to happen with regards to the Coronavirus pandemic. I wrote it not knowing for sure if I would go to another gig this year. I can tell from what I wrote that I didn’t hold out much hope for going to a gig then. Over 4 months on from writing that and I am all but certain I won’t be going to a gig in the conventional sense for the rest of the year.

I have two left that are yet to be postponed or cancelled - Bury Tomorrow doing an album launch show at the Joiners on Tuesday 1st September and Nightwish at Wembley Arena in December (I forget the exact date). I cannot imagine a world in which the Bury Tomorrow gig will go ahead - the latest missive from the Government relating to the pandemic has said that indoor gigs could resume from Saturday just gone, but that social distancing must be adhered to. The Joiners is not a venue that would lend itself to social distancing at the best of times, and this gig is sold out. I think it is a case of when, rather than if, this gig is postponed/cancelled sadly. I did email the webstore email address thinking they might have some insider information but it essentially is run by Ticketmaster and they had no information to suggest it would be. The Nightwish case is interesting because this is a case of the gig being part of a wider UK/Europe tour, with different countries having different rules etc. If some gigs start to be cancelled/postponed by law, you have to assume they all will be? Alternatively, a situation could develop whereby the gigs could happen, but touring bands would have to quarantine in between gigs which is just not practical at all. I’m not confident this will go ahead, which is why I’m not that concerned about not knowing the exact date right now.

Life itself hasn’t actually altered that much since the start of the pandemic for me. For most of the lockdown, I haven’t been able to go to the gym, and I haven’t missed it. I froze my membership when it reopened but I have no desire to keep going. I find the journey to the gym the absolute hardest bit and I’m not entirely sure why. It would make me feel anxious, as if I was going somewhere I had no right to go to, which is obviously absurd. When I was there, I was fine. Maybe it is this semi-regular battle with my brain that I am not looking forward to resuming? The battle hasn’t entirely gone away because there have been times I’ve felt anxious in my regime of more regular running - usually at the beginning of a run although at other times as well (usually when pavements are crowded, or when there is a dog off a leash etc). I think the battles have been less frequent though because I have a certain degree of confidence with running - one which takes the odd occasional knock if I have a bad run but I think that happens to all people who run.

The absolute biggest change and challenge has been working from home (which I guess is a big life change, really). This is something I’ve never done previously (because I’ve never been in a position to do so). Working from home, with my home being essentially a 2 room flat, has meant it has been difficult to escape work. I’ve mainly stuck to a regime of working my standard contracted hours but my work equipment has taken over the desk in my bedroom. This means whenever I am in my bedroom, I have, will and do think about work, which is a bit of a shame. Sadly, there is no suitable alternative and I am sure some people have it much harder than me. Living alone does mean no distractions when working from home, which I guess is a plus. On the balance of things, I’d rather not be living alone but hey, it is what it is.

One of the main changes that has happened since the start of lockdown for me is how I consume music. Before lockdown, I was very much a playlist person. I would find music I like, throw it all into one big playlist, push shuffle and be away. Because of remote working, I have listened to more albums in full than probably at any other point in my life. The two out and away favourite new releases of the year for me have been Code Orange - Underneath and Run The Jewels - RTJ4, both of which I’ve gone back to repeatedly since they’ve been released. Due to watching all (or almost all) of the Frank Turner streams, and supporting the various live music venues he has been doing the stream shows for, I’ve also found myself listening to a lot more of Frank’s back catalogue, to the point that over the last 180 days (bit longer than we have been in lockdown but not by much), I have listened to his music more than anyone else's (by quite a long way, if Last.FM is to be believed and it should be). One big change I’ve made, moving away from favoured songs in playlists, has been choosing bands or artists and listening to their entire discography (or most of it, at least). I note, looking at the list of bands I’ve listened to the most over the past 180 days, Half Man Half Biscuit are 4th (with 187 listens). That is basically their entire discography once, and Vatican Broadside a lot (because it makes me laugh - thanks to Frank Turner again for that because he played it on a stream).

There is no purpose in writing this blog really. I’ve almost stopped and deleted it a number of times. Maybe I’ll do another one when I have something else to write about (not that I had a lot to write about here, admittedly!). Amusingly for me, at the end of the last post (the World Cup of Frank Turner), I speculated doing an FA Cup style draw for the songs in the March Madness bracket I used (making changes which were more suited to my tastes). I did the prep work for this and saw the first draw, and saw some of the decisions I’d have to make and just closed the window. Some of the first round clashes would have involved making some very difficult (but in the grand scheme of things, inconsequential) decisions. I could write more about nothing of note, but I’ll leave it there.