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Back out with the team

I’ve been feeling pretty low and demotivated. Chatting to a musician friend about it helped. We agreed that not knowing the end date made it so difficult. At what point do we decide we have to find another job, along with everyone else? Rather like waiting for a bus that never comes – when do you decide it’s time to find another way of making the journey?


I cycled to Ben, a double bass playing friend in Acton, for a chat and a play which was really fun. We’d normally meet once a month to play in a cocktail bar with ‘The Lapazoos’ - four friends playing swing, New Orleans, blues and revelling in entertaining. We jammed through some tunes I’d recently written, some classical rounds written by Telemann, one of Ben’s songs, some standards and a Tunisian song called Parfum De Gitanes. The long cycle ride in the sunshine, playing music and meeting a friend did wonders for my mood.

Last Sunday I had my gig in Bicester Village, a designer retail outlet. On the day I slotted back into the old routine – getting dressed up in a suit, packing my double bass up and putting it in the car, checking the traffic, long drive, finding parking, meeting the others and the organiser... We were playing on and off between midday and 4 pm. I was pleased that they had organised food vouchers for us, although it meant spending our first break tracking them down and trying to upload them onto our phones (two of us were eventually given old-fashioned paper vouchers). We were playing acoustically outside around the shopping village. Most people were wearing face masks all the time, and being a designer shopping centre there were many with masks to match their clothes!

It was really great to be playing: The musicians I had booked are all amazing musicians and when we are playing together it feels like there’s a little bit of magic floating between us. People would stop and watch, many took pictures and videos, some would clap. Most just walked past, but that didn’t bother us – we were there to create an atmosphere, a backdrop to the shopping experience, and when we had finished many people told us how grateful they were.

I had spent much of the four hours either playing or carrying my double bass around, so after the drive home (during which I accidentally found myself driving north up the M1 rather than south at one point) I was exhausted: All I could do was sit and stare. It was as if I had spent the day walking up a mountain. A few months ago I would have been shooting straight off to another gig but I could barely summon the energy even to make a cup of tea! The other musicians said they felt the same – one said he had sat down and fallen straight asleep.

So this week is back to the usual routine – shopping for the week on Monday morning. My sister came round on Tuesday and I cooked for her. Writing and recording. I cycled up to my mum’s for a coffee. Practice has slipped a bit, as has my exercise routine.

On the international scale, there are warnings of a ‘second wave’ of the pandemic in Europe. Quarantine restrictions have been resumed for travellers arriving from Spain which has caused a lot of upset for some. The virus seems to be spreading rapidly in some countries – the USA, Brazil and others. Some people are getting very upset about mandatory face masks in shops in the UK. It goes on.

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