It doesn’t need saying that these are very strange times: stuck at home for most of the day, allowed a trip to the shops, and a daily amount of exercise. Very grateful that the family are all healthy, our employers are being sensible, and we live in a house with enough room for three of us to work, rest and play without being on top of each other all day. Very aware that plenty of others are in a far worse situation.
We’ve been working from home for a fortnight, and that works fine (most of my colleagues are in Ireland and the US; our clients are spread all around the world). Schools closed last Friday, though, and homeschooling at the same time as working is challenging. The days and week felt very long; it’s a good while since I last slept 9 hours straight on a Friday night, but I managed it last night.
The sudden removal of all routine from the weekends is particularly strange: no Parkrun (and the realisation that I won’t get to 100 Parkruns at the turn of the year as I’d hoped); no dance classes or guitar lessons; no popping into cafes or going out for dinner; all gigs with the band cancelled; no Sunday afternoon trips to see kids’ film at the cinema; and no simply going to the pub for the evening. We’re even being discouraged from spring cleaning as the council’s bin service is under pressure (as an aside, Greenwich Council seem to have risen to the challenge and are coping well with extraordinary circumstances – it’s to be hoped that all this will result in a change of Tory attitudes to the importance and funding of local authorities…).
At the same time, the many encouragements to write a book/read a classic/take up calligraphy/learn a language/generally self-improve on social media have largely raised a hollow laugh; Monday-Friday I felt like I had even less spare time than before, even without commuting. There have been some diversions, though:
- A live-streamed Alasdair Roberts performance from Cafe OTO. I expect they’ve stopped doing these now, but it really worked – and made me glad I dragged myself there back in the cold days of January for a couple of gigs
- Working through a couple of records that have come in the post:
- Shabaka and the Ancestors’ ‘We Are Sent Here By History’. Not bad, but no banger like the last Sons of Kemet album; a lot of it feels a bit tentative.
- J Jazz Volume 2, from the BBE label. Really good Japanese jazz compilation from, as a friend on Twitter said ‘a parallel universe where the classic Coltrane quartet never split up’
- The Miles Davis documentary on BBC2/iPlayer. A familiar story but some new footage and interviews I’d not seen before. Would have liked a little more on the In A Silent Way era (a more important and significant album than Bitches Brew, if you ask me), but you can’t have everything.
- Working my way through ‘Bass, Mids, Tops‘, an oral history of UK soundsystem culture and related music scenes.
I’ve been trying to get out for the evening government-approved walk each day and have taken the opportunity to take some photos around the neighbourhood. I’m not sure how long I can keep this up without too much repetition, but it’s something to do and I’ve enjoyed the instagram interactions while stuck indoors afterwards – nice reminders that there’s a world of people still out there.