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J O U R N A L Lockdown Uncategorized

Weird Times 2

It’s Thursday evening, I made my way downstairs to lock up the house. I look out the window up to the night sky, in the darkness hangs the moon, or the super moon as I would later learn it was called. I’m stunned at how clear it is. I wonder if my eyesight has suddenly improved or perhaps…with the planes no longer flying above us, that I haven’t been aware of how polluted the sky above my home is. It’s a reminder of the weird times that we live in.

As I write from the heartlands of Scotland I think this is week seven of the lock down. Many people now believe that the pandemic has been with us a lot longer. Slowly and silently creeping unseen through the streets, workplaces and homes of our nation. 

It was just a couple of weeks ago when I learned of the passing of my friend, colleague and manager Stevie Leslie. He was a gentleman, he guided me throughout my career with a calmness that I have always wanted to emulate. He had a brilliant sense of humour. He knew I was a keen runner and would often drive past me on the way to work. His small car had a sharp horn that he liked to beep every time he passed me as I ran. Every time I would jump three feet in the air. I would look towards the offending car to see Stevie’s broad shoulders shaking with laughter as he drove down the road. I will miss him greatly and my heartfelt condolences go to his family.

It was a brutal reminder of how horrible this disease is, it can touch anyone, this made me more determined to follow the lock down guidance as much as possible. When I look in horror at the daily increase in the numbers of people sadly passed, I think of all the loved ones that will be forever affected by this tragedy. 

Weird Decibels, like every other musical artist has had to adapt. We have put out another LiveCast and we are currently stitching together all the live performances for LiveCast 4. It’s our wee effort to try and pass time for people. It’s the most active we’ve been for months! 

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Just a few days ago I went for a run, I run a lot, but I had been injured so exercise was curtailed for a couple of weeks. As I ran my belly shook, not just a wee wobble but a proper wave. It was like my stomach had a time delay from the rest of my body. Then the wind caught my hair, my growing, peppery barnet that, for some reason I’m refusing to cut until my favorite CrossCuts in Linlithgow reopens. I find myself sweeping my hand through my locks like some washed out middle aged rock star…it feels like I’m growing my hair again, just like I did back in the 90’s when the band started. 

Its Friday I open the blinds. It’s another morning, the news lasts five minutes before I switch it off. I’m trying my best to home-school. I never took school seriously when I was young, now here I am as a stressed out parent hoping my kid will realise his potential while I’m trying to work out fractions. He’s correcting me. 

I still have to go to my place of work, I like my job but the thought is always at the back of my head. What if I catch it…It’s good to speak to people, everyone speaks as normal, there are some laughs but every conversation eventually returns to how bloody depressed I looked in Live Cast 3

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That was a pain to perform, but yeah I wasn’t in a good mood that day and I think the songs were quite sad. It was however great to get Stu and Greg involved. Derek is laying parts for the next one. I’m loving playing the old songs though. Stripping back the tunes to a bare minimum seems to give them new life.

The doorbell goes. I open it to find a small man walking to a white van. He returns staggering with a heavy box full of beer, he keeps his distance before cheerful shouting ‘That’s you sorted for the lock-down eh?’. I look around the street hoping the neighbours aren’t watching. I store my lock-down booze in my secret vault. I do some more verbs and nouns with the boy. The door goes again. Another box of booze sits on the doorstep. 

The 3rd LiveCast has done quite well some people actually liked the more reflective mood of this one,  this lifts my spirits. Shuffledown had a virtual festival online, they played acts from festivals past and it was nice to be included. I got in touch with family and friends and things seem to be ok. There are things I like about the lock-down. The silent skies that give way to birdsong, the clear air. Even just being away from busy roads and masses of people. I worry a little that I’m starting to like being separated from society. That thought leaves when I phone my family and then it hits how much I miss them. 

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I’m going to keep busy with work, family life and the band. It seems like some people think the lock-down is coming to an end, the roads are getting a little busier and people are going out more. It’s not the end, we have to see this through. Please stay in as much as you can, join us on LiveCast 4 if you can, we are playing some songs from the HMR vaults and our Derek will be involved. Take care.

Oh the house martins (not the band…the birds) have returned! All is good! 

Pabs

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Categories
Lockdown Uncategorized

Weird Times

The Covid Lockdown: Weird Times

I often shake my head in disbelief when I comprehend the times that we life in now. Things will get back to normal they say, not so sure about that. Anyway, closer to home I had started to think about the band.

Before this all kicked off (trying not to be flippant at how serious Covid 19 is) we weren’t practising too much. Greg and Tina had given the world the most beautiful baby boy, his name is Ben, he is a wee gem. That rightly curtailed our practices for a while. After that though, I must be honest, it was easier to not practise, a habit we seemed to be getting into.

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Then, like most of the population, we were forced to be apart. We had a brand-new album to promote and twenty-five years to celebrate. All this was insignificant in the unseen menace of the corona virus. We cancelled practise and, on the text thread, I think I said, ‘see you in the summer’, that might he a wee bit optimistic now.

We had to adapt. Like many bands have, we now do everything online.

For some reason, at the start of the lock-down, I remember thinking I was lucky enough to have a garden, but it wasn’t enough. I was growing anxious. The state was telling me I couldn’t do things and my world started to close in. The usual shit started to happen, the shortness of breath and my horizon went a bit slanted. I put it down to the drink, that probably didn’t help, but yeah, I get anxious and yes, I hide it.

I hide it well.

The solution? I had to keep busy, picking up the guitar was a good idea. I flicked through the songs that the band have written and, to be fair, there are a few. I had to practise everyday to re-learn the songs. This gave me focus and it felt good. Then I recorded the first session; I didn’t care how it went down. I hoped it would pass some time for people.

Then ‘I’ll Always be Here’ happened. It was always going to be a single, but now the lyrics seen so relevant, so much that I started to wonder if I was self-isolating before all this shit happened. Maybe just in my head… Anyway, the band couldn’t shoot a video, so we had to catch a theme and it was the video calls that everyone was forced to do in order to keep contact with loved ones.

I recorded bits of footage in the studio, but Derek took it to another level. He got the kids involved; I was nearly in tears when I saw what he had filmed, I was so happy. Then Greg sent footage of him playing the bass with Ben and I swear I did weep.

I asked Lewis if he wanted to be in a music video, he said, in kinda pre teenage way, ‘yeah’ but once he got into the studio, he was in his element. My heart danced at his footage.

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I put all the clips together, now I was really missing my friends and my family. We all are. But we hoped by doing this video we would give folks a wee bit hope, that this will end, and we will meet up again. (some won’t, and this breaks my heart.) It was well received, and we were happy about that. Fecking miss the guys.

I started to rehearse a new set of songs for our second LiveCast, I knew Stu would be in the hoose (how did I know that?!) so I asked him if he’d like to get involved (I would love all the band to be involved but I haven’t worked this out yet) to my delight Stu said yes. It took hours to line up all the clips, any recommendations for decent video editing software are welcome.

I had been worried about one of my best mates, I was concerned that he was finding the lock-down difficult. I was so happy when he got involved. He sent MP3’s back to me with his guitar parts and I manged to put most of it onto our live performance. It felt like we were jamming again. Seeing him on the screen with the guitar was very comforting, the dude hasn’t lost it.

The second LiveCast went out and it is doing well, I’m happy folks are enjoying it and that it is passing their time. Now here is the weird thing, I’ve felt more connected to the band than I have done in the past few months. Its funny how these things work out.

We will continue to record mini gigs and as Stu suggested we may put a CD album of the sessions (hell why not). As I write this, I’ve had a few beers (hey, don’t judge, I’m on a weeks holiday) and I know I’m going to sleep (later). Last night I didn’t, I was sober. I lay in bed looking at the ceiling, fighting with my thoughts…one of which was a game of tig. Wondering when the virus was going to tag me and how it would affect my family, my wife who was sleeping peacefully beside me and my son sleeping in the next room. How do I protect my family? Something we are all asking.

We’ve put out a lot of stuff over the years and we have written lots of stories. If this helps pass some time, then that’s great, have a wee look around the site.

I recently saw a picture where Chuck Norris was drinking Covid out of a carton. The man is nails. I would normally say we should be more like more like Chuck Norris, but nah that’s not a good idea. Stay in yer hoose, stay safe and help the NHS.

Before you head off, I would like to give a big shout out to the staff of the SPS. The forgotten service.

Pabs