When this lockdown started I pictured endless time to do all the things that have been on my list for months and years. I talked about re-writing the pad for my bands – tidying up arrangements and putting together new ones. I’d put together a small pad for other band ideas I’d had – a swing pad for dances, a pad with versions of pop songs I was happy to play for when I’m requested to play “something we know”… and I’d practice lots. Particularly the trumpet to see if I could get this up to gigging standard. I’d tidy the house, re-paint the doors. I’d get to grips with recording and mixing at home. I’d speak to friends and family over the phone and video calls. And I’d write this blog.
It didn’t cross my mind that this was being a little optimistic. So looking back two months in, how have I got on? I did do a bit of tidying. I have spoken to a few friends. Trumpet is coming along nicely. I’ve written one new arrangement for The Sunshine Kings. I’ve written lots of new tunes (primarily aimed at the ‘production music’ market, but some might be useful for my bands). I’ve really got to grips with my home studio – recording my own songs and also adding parts to other people’s songs. Some of my instruments are slightly going by the wayside though, and the tidying has now gone a backwards – my music room / study / studio has become a bit of a dump!
Also, this blog, which I originally imagined being a daily post, has shifted more closely to a fortnightly post. Somehow my days are as busy as they ever were when I was working. Although I get to bed at a sensible time now, am eating more healthily, seeing much more of my wife and feeling a whole lot less stressed. We've enjoyed joining the throngs of people across the country that are using their time to do some baking. Our latest shortbreads...
We've done some cracking walks. We hadn’t realised what lovely places there were within a short distance of our house - up and over the hill through woodlands with twittering birds in Crouch End to Alexandra Palace park with fabulous views across London, and back along the Parkland Walk, a disused railway line. We just miss being able to stop for a coffee and a cake en-route.
Boris Johnson’s anticipated announcement last Sunday of ‘easing lockdown measures’ wasn’t received universally well. Many feel that it’s too early to be changing anything, and many felt his statement was vague and confusing anyway. He encouraged us to go back to work if it was possible and safe but try to avoid using public transport. People would be allowed to meet people from other households on a one-to-one basis outdoors and at a distance. We would also be allowed to play certain sports – golf and tennis. So I’ve got a game booked for next Monday afternoon with my mate Roy, a drummer who lives nearby. Neither of us are very good but we enjoy it and appreciate the exercise.
Last night a bunch of musician friends (from the gipsy jazz scene in London – a scene I flirt with a little on double bass) are got together for a video conference chat and a quiz. We’d normally get together for a ‘duck dinner’ (involving crispy duck – that’s a whole story of it’s own) once a year, but the on-line version involved pot noodles, wine, beer, technology glitches and plenty of laughter!