Gigs allowed? Hmmm...
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
It felt like it should have been good news: as of last weekend outdoor performances were now permitted (within certain ‘social distancing’ guidelines). Given much of my work in the summer is outdoors this should have been very welcome. In reality most of the outdoor events that I perform at are months in the planning. All the events I had been booked for have been cancelled. I searched the internet for contacts for outdoor venues and emailed a few people, but the one email I received back told me the venue (a bandstand) was still closed and I should contact them next spring to be considered in next years programme. The demoralising game of hustling for gigs – even if I did remember to email them, and was lucky enough to do it within the week that they were actually considering the programme, I suspect they wouldn’t be expecting to pay a professional band. If a cheaply and widely available vaccine for the virus was suddenly available today it would still take months for my work to return to anything close to what it was before the crisis.
I’ve been chatting with friends about just getting together for a play, discussing where we might do it. In theory we’d still need permission to just get together and play in a public space, and some musicians in the band live one or two hours drive away so they aren’t really up for such a long drive just for a play. Although I’ve been invited to join three others to play in a local park this afternoon which I’m looking forward to.
To replace the mattresses and duvets draped around my music room to turn it into a recording studio I decided I needed to make it look and sound a little more professional, and look a little tidier. So I’ve built myself some acoustic baffles – using sound insulating rockwool, wooden frames and curtain material. I pulled out my power drill / screwdriver, dressmakers scissors, saw and tape-measure, bought a staple gun, and two days later had six nice baffles.
And while I was in my DIY frame of mind I set to with my sewing machine and made a couple of face masks, following a design downloaded from a website. The UK government had announced this week that face masks would soon be compulsory in all shops.
In the meantime, I continue to practice my instruments daily and have sent off parts for my latest tune to a trumpet and a sax player to record their contributions and return to me.
I was also very grateful to have my first haircut in nearly five months. A friend who is a part-time barber visited for lunch and gave me a trim in our back yard last weekend. On the actual day that hairdressers were allowed to open there were long queues outside every shop.