I played my last gig on Tuesday 10 March. By the following weekend, all music venues were closing. I also had to abandon work in the studio on my album Ageing With Attitude which was 75% complete. Everything else I was involved in, including the football matches I attend and the social football I play twice a week with friends, also disappeared and the strange world of lockdown began to take shape.
The next 10/11 weeks of total lockdown also coincided with some remarkably fine weather so I found myself, for the first time in my life, enjoying passing time peacefully in our beautiful little garden (all the credit for which goes to my wife) in warm sunshine. The only sound to be heard was birdsong, and I became fascinated by the routine of blackbirds and starlings ferrying food continously to the fledglings in their hidden nests. A songwriter takes inspiration from anywhere and soon enough a little song emerged on the theme that it should be a perfect day but only the birds were free to make the most of it.
For two months during the lockdown I posted an original song on Facebook every day, as a way to create for myself the illusion that I was still performing for an audience. It turned out that there was indeed a receptive audience and I really appreciated all the people who engaged with the posts though Likes, Shares and Comments. This particular song, which I called Any Other World, caught the attention of Chris Onos who presents a weekly show on Ben TV on the Sky platform, and he invited me on the show for a chat and to perform the song. All done from home, of course! Here’s the video of me performing the song on the show.
The song looks to a time when normality can return. We know we’re still a long way from that, but we can only hope that bit by bit we’ll move in the right direction. Sadly, live music, especially indoors, looks as if it’s going to be one of the last things to return – social distancing will be very challenging for bands on most stages, and also of course has a huge bearing on the viability of venues putting on music. But musicians are, by nature, creative, and you can expect to see creative approaches being found to enable us to get back, one way or another, to where we are at our happiest – onstage entertaining you.
Happily, I’ve been able to return to the studio and the recording is now finished, apart from the addition of a string quartet to eight of the songs, which I hope will happen in July to keep us on track for the scheduled 12 October release of the album.