Over and out
It's nearly a month since my last post and I think it’s time to sign out of my Covid blog, so this will be my last post.
I’ve spent the last month working for the Office for National Statistics trying to encourage people to complete their census in Upper Holloway. I’ve spent 25 hours a week knocking on doors and trying to provide polite encouragement. I was surprised by the general positive reaction from people, although as time went on the job became harder and more draining. It was a miracle that in the 6 weeks I wasn’t rained on once. It was very cold on some days though – an unusually cold and dry April this year. Now it’s done I’m very appreciative of the income, and it’s been a good reminder of how glad I am to be able to make my living from playing music.
I’m continuing to do shifts in the vaccination centre. Still not actually vaccinating people myself, although I hope to be trained up in this fully soon. The availability of volunteers is apparently dwindling, so the need for paid staff to man the centres is going up. Another useful source of income as the music business gets going again.
I spent last weekend doing a ‘bread and butter’ type gig, playing a duo with a banjo player entertaining people queueing to get in to Bicester Village Retail Outlet shopping centre. Not glamorous by any stretch of the imagination, but fun to be playing for people. We got an occasional bit of applause, people took photos and videos of us and one couple took a card off us because they were getting married in a few weeks and they hadn’t sorted out a band.
Cases of the virus are still dropping in the UK despite the restrictions being eased, and there is talk of all social distancing guidelines being relaxed in June. Although in other parts of the world the virus is raging out of control, so there is a note of caution in any suggestions of optimism. We have been warned that Covid will be an issue for many years to come.
Venues are starting to open up again and bookings have come in through the year. The bands are smaller than they would have been previously in some venues, but it does feel like we’re coming out of the tunnel in the UK.
Looking back, there’s plenty of things I might have spent time doing last year. I’m now using what spare time there is to re-write and refresh the pad for my Brass Volcanoes band. A job that will take weeks, but I’ll be very grateful when it’s done. A slight feeling of panic is starting to set in as all that spare time I had last year to spend composing, recording, practising and catching up with things is disappearing!
I think I spent my time well though. I managed to keep myself generally positive. I learned new skills – multitrack recording and mixing. I developed my technique on my instruments and improved my understanding of arranging music. I did exercise – walking, cycling, tennis and windsurfing. I composed new music and created videos, updated my website, wrote this blog. I created an album for a production music company (that may provide me with a small income for years to come). I kept in touch with friends, and supported my wife and family (who also supported me) …
I wonder how I’ll look back on the experience in years to come.