Hey, how are you? Oh, dear. Really? That’s awful. But we’ll be alright.
That’s the only conversation I’ve really had in the last months, in different guises.
Remember at the start of this and we all kinda loved the fact we could buy an unholy amount of Pringles, and get through all that TV we’d been neglecting?
Those, my friends, were the glory days. When States still believed in herd immunity. When toilet paper was a luxury. When this was ”just like a flu” and no one had watched that youtube documentary on the Spanish Flu yet, that sent shivers down your spine.
I wrote an article rehashing some ideas about patronage, and a few new patrons joined the fold.
So, well, it’ll all be grand! Sure, some much needed time off is called for! , says I.
But, it just didn’t. People started dying. Stephanie’s mother would ring from ground zero, working with patients of Covid-19 in intensive care in the UK.
“It’s worse than anybody’s saying in the media, it’s truly frightening” she said.
Oh dear, really?
Then, of course, as we live in the post-truth era, the flat-earthers started talking out their confirmation biasses (emphasising the last two syllables) and somehow 5G was to blame, reminding you weed & youtube, though both glorious individually, can be a lethal combination.
Reality dawned, for those living in it.
This was truly bad.
We were in trouble.
Italy & Spain broke our hearts. Their harrowed tales of doctors having to essentially choose who lives & dies on a whim – as there simply wasn’t enough time, or resources to save everyone.
After a few weeks there was a glimmer of hope in Germany – the mortality rate was low, very low compared to our neighbours.
Was our 5G less lethal? Was it the fact that German’s aren’t really touchers, or rule breakers? Was our strain of covid less intense?
Who cares, all that matters – we thought – is we may just get out of this!
Restrictions slowly started to lift.
There were whispers that they may even let bars upon again – aka, my livelihood may just come back.
An Italian booker wrote me for a string of dates in October.
The world was bouncing back!
I booked a Cabaret.
Slight aside here, please bear with me:
I’ve been trying to put on a cabaret since I moved to Berlin. I’ve been trying since before I even knew what a cabaret was. When I was about seventeen I wrote a song called Cabaret. No idea why. Only recently did I go back to Ireland, rummage through my old gear, and found the brand of my speaker was called “Cabaret”. Case closed! I osmosed it and puked it out in a song.
But, ever since I’ve always been compelled to call all my live nights where I host bands a “Cabaret”.
I’ve put on about 4 versions, without dancers, with a bunch of bands playing.
“You know this isn’t a cabaret, right” someone would eventually tell me as the night dwindled to a close.
“You would be dazzled by how little I do know” I’d say martini in hand, chomping on a fine cuban cigar – as they walk away perplexed, and ever-so-slightly-disgusted.
Only recently, have I actually attempted a true cabaret.
We had an exceptional burlesque dancer, my full band, and guest musicians – all following a murder mystery storyline that somehow came together despite me having very little clue what I was doing.
800a, a beloved venue of mine in Wedding, Berlin, decided to host it and we were adamant we’d stick to the tight restrictions.
We did. And we sold out. We turned away those who showed up after capacity. We put on the show. And it was glorious!
I finally did it! Things were back to golden! Money was coming back in slivers into my life. We booked a gig in Magdeburg that payed well the following weekend.
I woke up the next morning chuffed and inspired.
A few days later we got the call.
Someone we love who was in attendance at the Cabaret was found to be Covid-19 positive.
Turns out there was an outbreak at an event the night before the cabaret.
We told everyone at the Cabaret there was a confirmed case in our midst that night.
It was a small venue, so anyone who talked to him got tested.
You quarantine for 14 days after that regardless, as symptomless or not you could have it.
The folk community is so small in this city, the knock-on effect, shut down all events for this period at least.
And scared the living shit out of everyone.
We cancelled Magdeburg. We got tested. In those two sentences alone, I lost rent for the month.
But, better that than getting sick, or worse, anyone else sick.
Our community was wrought with guilt, suspicion and fear.
But, looks like everyone’s okay, still bad coughs here and there – and we wish them well.
But, again, we’re scared shitless. We don’t know what this beast is, we simply don’t have the science yet. We don’t know the long-term health affects, and we have no clue what shape the world will be in when we come of this.
This is far from over. Going forward is near impossible if we can’t guarantee all events are playing it safe. And how can you guarantee that?
We simply can’t.
The sad fact for the new normal is music isn’t even in the picture.
The good news is we’ll adapt.
Until there’s a vaccine, all the artists, musicians, hosts and event organisers are suffering. You can help by thinking on the people you care about, and looking into what type of patronage schemes they have up and running.
Least I finally managed a cabaret.
Until the next one,
(p.s. if you believe 5G is responsible, please, we’re all worried about you. Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery, and lay off youtube.)
Find out how you can support Kilkelly music here: https://kilkelly.net/support/