Saturday, March 23, 2024

A Changed World

Four years ago today, the Prime Minister announced that we would commence lockdowns here in England. That was Monday evening, and by Thursday we were working from home.

I recall the Tuesday morning, where we met in the office and made plans for relocating. We had known this would likely be coming so much preparation had been done in advance, but now we were organising equipment, stationery and other needs.  It all had a sense of gravity, of seriousness and urgency. 

For some reason, we were under the impression this would be around six weeks, that it was quite temporary, and before long we'd be back in the office. Certainly, at that time, we didn't realise it would be at least 18 months, and that would not be full time in the office. In fact, in our case, we would never return full time to the workplace. 

Not only working practices have changed since those days.  The world has changed too - noticeably in many cases, much more subtly in others. People have changed, our behaviours have changed, relationships have changed. And I think the full effects of all this will not be recognised for many, many years.

I know I've changed - perhaps for the better in some ways. Certainly these lockdowns and changed work practices have affected me and those around me.

There were, of course, some lovely aspects to these lockdowns. It was a beautiful clear spring, with no traffic, little noise, clear skies and lots of insects and birds. Would that spring have been beautiful anyway, or was it the result of less pollution from cars and industry?

Not that I would want it to happen again, but I did quite enjoy the peace, the walks each day during set times, and the sense of "all in this together" and "doing it for the community".

I've recently read, over in tin-foil hat land, that there could be an event in March or April which could cause something similar to happen again. I don't think I place much credence in these wild theories, but just in case it happens and you aren't of a conspiracy mind, you read it here first! 

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Live Music. Again.

It has been a long while since I went to see some live music. I think the last concert I attended was in London, about a year ago. I regularly check to see who is coming to Lincoln, just in case, but for the past couple of years, pickings have been slim.

Partly this is due to the size of Lincoln. We are a small city, with a small population, well off the beaten path. The venues we have in town are also small. The main one was in financial trouble, and was having problems attracting artists. as such, it promoted a lot of comedy nights and the like. The other, probably understanding what sells, seemed to focus on tribute act - something I've never been too fond of.

But there has been a turn around, The main one was taken over, remodelled, and has started attracting performers of note - or at least artists I'm interested in seeing. 

Recently, in a matter of days, I went to see live music at both these venues.  And I loved every second of it.

First up was Something About George, a tribute to George Harrison.  I hesitated for the longest time, but then read some reviews. It wasn't a tribute act, but a band paying tribute. The frontman talked between (and sometimes during) songs, telling George's life story, and the relevance of the songs being played. And it was good fun. Really good fun.

The second was Fairport Convention.  Someone I know told me they'd seen them in the early 70s, and figured none of those originals would be there. Of the five he saw in those days, three were still part of the band. And they were wonderful.  I have seen this lineup before, but Dave Mattacks didn't play with them last year, so it was great to see him back on drums.  And, being the lovely chap he is, he signed a couple of XTC and George Harrison albums for me.  Bonus!

Oh, and a huge shout out to Plumhall.  This wife and husband pairing were the support act, and they were fabulous. I became an instant fan.

And so I am going to go and see more live music. I've been exploring British folk music since I was a teenager, and I am aware there is a healthy live folk music scene here in Lincoln. I have thought about attending some of these events for some time, but they generally clashed with other regular activities I undertook. That has all changed, and so from this month I plan to see more live music.

And that's the way it should be!