GUEST COLUMN – James Phillips – Hurrah For Lockdown?

Hurrah for Lockdown?

I’m joking right? While we’re all mourning the loss and, according to some commentators, the death of live music, what have we got to celebrate?

Firstly, whatever Facebook might like to think, we’re all still out here and, with the ubiquity of digital equipment, we all have an opportunity to spread our music about online and to find and enjoy the stuff that others are still sharing. No, of course it isn’t the same as a gig. You will miss the chance to pay too much for bad lager (obviously does not apply to the Skerries) while someone heavy dances on your toes, a six foot ten monster blocks your view of the singer and a cloth eared soundman does his best to give you terminal tinnitus. These things are irreplaceable and are part of what makes gigs fantastically exciting, but at least you can still get a fix of fresh new music.

Secondly, there are still ample opportunities to support the acts you love. Most of them have an online outlet like Bandcamp where you can buy their music. Some of them even have proper merchandise. You get to look swish in a questionable t-shirt (where is Betws Garmon again?) or at least keep warm, while helping your favourites to keep their heads above water.

Thirdly, I am producing the most varied and experimental music that I have in decades. One reason is that there is no prospect of playing any of this stuff live in the near future, so I don’t have to worry about whether it’s feasible to reproduce any of it on stage. Another is that I have much more time while I’m locked up at home avoiding all you plague bearers, to actually sit back and try new and interesting stuff.

Fourthly, and talking of trying new stuff, lockdown is a chance to branch out. Practice that guitar riff that you could never play, or even attempt to play. You won’t have to produce it on stage for a while yet, so you’ve got a chance to take your time and really nail it down. I have already taken this a step further, by expanding my collection of odd instruments that I can play a little bit. My future recordings may well feature an alpine horn, and that, if nothing else, should prompt you to say “Hurrah for Lockdown.”

James P M Phillips on Bandcamp