Music Comforts through London Lockdown
Writing this from my home office, slap bang in the middle of Epping Forest, London, England I look outside and and see none of the usual dog walkers, cyclists or runners making heavy weather of exercising up our hill. Welcome to Lockdown London. In fact our whole world feels like we are now part of a global concealed community; concealed from each other as we try our damn hardest to get through and crack the pandemic that is Coronavirus. The news is too heavy, the unknowing of when we’ll next see friends and family quite discombobulating and I’m still in pajamas. I don’t know about you but on the gut wrenching anxious moments as we try to adapt to a “new normal”, I am turning to music for comfort.
Ahhh, music my best friend. Classical crossover, jazz, pop, rock and even some ska provides my mind with not only a very welcome distraction but also memories of what now seem like simpler times when we could all go out and be together. “Happy Hour” by The Housemartins transports me to a crowded East End Boozer where the band were immortalised in claymation, “Common People” by Pulp has me sitting in Jarvis Cocker’s trolley from the promo video in a busy supermarket and “Ghost Town” by The Specials just makes me think of happy Halloween times with friends.
These music memories are so important for us all now. Music transports you to the good, the emotional and the craziest of places in your mind and as we open our doors, windows and hear very little, we need that soundtrack to lift our spirits, punch the air and know that once we’re all through this we are going to have one hell of a party, and music will be dead centre of the celebration.
It’s incredible how people have used music as their way to reach out during isolation, lockdown, quarantine or whatever you want to call it. First we had the uplifting version of Nessun Dorma and the window choirs from Italy, next we had Andrew Lloyd Webber with his orchestra performing “All I ask of you” and then “battling” Lin Manual Miranda online with versions of each other’s compositions and as I write this today, Matt Lucas has raised nearly 3/4 of a million pounds for the NHS though his Baked Potato Song. For me, I’m personally loving watching Gary Barlow where he performs with someone else online, in particularly where he had a young boy drummer join him. Seeing everyone perform makes you realise that it’s not just you inside, it’s not just our close friends, it’s everyone….even The Queen.
If there is one moment which encapsulates a feeling of togetherness when we are otherwise all alone, it’s, well for me in England at least, at 8pm each Thursday as we open our doors and windows and instead of hearing the silence I talked of earlier, we hear a chorus of clapping, saucepan banging, cheering, instrument playing and singing as we salute our key workers and hospital staff heroes who put themselves at risk to help us. It’s music to my ears; a song so unique yet so random with no sheet music but freestyle beauty belted out with PASSION and LOVE. Yet again, music is helping us in its most basic form and I for one am extremely grateful.
So, wherever you are reading this, you are not alone. We may not be able to physically be with each other but wherever there is music there are friends. And, to quote Toy Story, “you have a friend in me”.