I do hope you are all keeping well and becoming a little more accustomed to life under lockdown and have established a good daily routine – easier for those of us who are working, but not so easy for those of you on furlough or quarantine. I also hope you managed to enjoy a VE Day Celebration in some way with your neighbours!
I often wonder how young families are managing to juggle ‘home schooling’ and working from home and answering the questions so many children will have about what is going on in the world. This article Helping children to adjust to a ‘new normal’ might be a helpful read for you.
One of the few good things about this period of lockdown is that it gives each of us time to think. One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is the importance of touch. We are living in days when any physical contact is frowned on, if not forbidden – rightly so – we need to be careful about what and who we touch.
I find it interesting that although we talk about managing to ‘keep in touch’ with people, the irony is that the one thing we aren’t doing is touching. We link up with people through sight and sound, but not with physical contact. We are reduced to bows, hand waves or facial gestures. This absence of physical contact is a particular concern for those who find themselves living in isolation. I know how much a ‘cuddle’ or a ‘handshake’ means to those who live on their own.
We can’t underestimate the value of touch. When ‘this is all over’ might we value touch a little bit more and be ready to share it with those who need it and, of course, receive it ourselves?
As Her Majesty the Queen reminded us a few weeks ago:
We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.
And so we will.
It’s no surprise that many of my events have been cancelled: Joe Slater, GITG with Danni Nicholls and Georgia and the Vintage Youth etc., WGT should have informed you and returned your money. It’s not easy to book artists for later in the year either as we simply don’t know what restrictions will in place then. I’m hoping Tinderbox might still go ahead in September. Most musicians have written off 2020 and are rescheduling for 2021. However, I know I’ll have no shortage of musicians wanting to come to Billericay and no shortage of you wanting to enjoy live music after being cooped up so long!
I’m disappointed that the Leeds Festival have just announced its cancellation, I say that because I’m on the management team for the 24/7 Prayer Café with Festival Angels and we had some great things planned – I was there last year!
These are tough times for musicians and if you’d like to buy a ticket for The Event That Never Happened as a way to support cancelled events here in Billericay, I’ll ensure proceeds are distributed evenly to artists whose events have been affected. Some of you are awaiting a refund from me – I’ll contact you personally to arrange re-payment.
THE PANTALOONS: TWELFTH NIGHT This is one event that hasn’t been cancelled – yet! We are hoping this event, planned for Sunday 26 July, may be able to take place in some form – even with restricted numbers and with social distancing in place. More news nearer the time.
It’s been good to engage with some of you via social media or interacting on some of the fantastic ‘house gig’s I’ve been watching over the past few weeks. Tuesday Night Live at 7.30 pm with Lauren Housley is simply one of the best gigs out there at the moment: Great songs, original and covers, great set up, great musicians and a great couple. Be sure to check this one out. Talentbanq are promoting several up and coming artists on Facebook and this is well worth checking out too.
Many artists are taking the opportunity to livestream 30-60 min ‘concerts’ from their home on Facebook and some of these have been fantastic. I’ve enjoyed: Megan O’Neill; Robert Vincent; Ashley McBryde; Georgia and the Vintage Youth; Joe Slater; Rob Halligan; Hamilton Loomis to name but a few. In fact, there’s no shortage of amazing gigs taking place. Little Rabbit Barn are also releasing some of their favourite tracks to celebrate 10 years of their gigs. I suddenly realise I’ve been arranging gigs in Billericay for 11 years – I might compile a list of my favourite artists during that time.
A recent poll in The Guardian suggested that 20% of the adult population in the UK (that’s about 16 million) have tuned into a church service on a Sunday morning since lockdown, which is quite amazing. I guess going to church in your pyjamas and with coffee and toast in bed is proving pretty popular.
We’re still experimenting with a livestream service from the Rectory (a house gig with a difference) on Sundays at 10.30 am with Ben, Annabel and Beth (and me) providing the music – depending on shift work – and with pre-recorded services, too. More details can be found here – you can also download a service sheet so you can follow the words and even sing-a-long!!
The same survey suggested the same amount of the population have turned to prayer in this time of crisis. I can couch for this as the most popular post on my website in the last two months (7500 hits, 160 per day) is on prayer! If you’re not quite sure how to pray, even though you might want to, this article might be of some help Are You Struggling To Pray? I’ve also included a very interesting two minute video of Russell Brand talking about prayer. If you’re interested, this is, currently, the most popular post on my website about prayer Daily Prayers For The Armour Of God
Many of you collect ring pulls for the Purple Community Fund. Can I ask you to collect them at your place of work and either send them direct or bring them along next time you’re in Billericay. More details can be found here
I spent part of my sabbatical here in 2019. They really are some of the poorest people in the world. Every little helps.
I’ve had a bit of fun recently and put together a COVID-19 Lockdown 2020 playlist on my iPod – I have about 80 plus songs at the moment. I thought I’d post a ‘top 20’ for you to seek out and enjoy! I’ll leave you to use your imagination as to the (tenuous) link with COVID-19. In no particular order:
LIVING ON A PRAYER Bon Jovi
FIX YOU Coldplay
LOVE WILL KEEP US ALIVE Paul Carrack
WITH OR WITHOUT YOU U2
STAYIN’ ALIVE The Bee Gees
MERCY NOW Kathy Mattea
TIMES LIKE THESE Foo Fighters
DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME The Police
THESE DAYS Jackson Browne
TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT Spandau Ballet
THREE LITTLE BIRDS Bob Marley
DREAMS Fleetwood Mac
I WILL BE THERE Paul Brady
WHAT’S GOIN’ ON? 4 Non Blondes
ALONE AGAIN (NATURALLY) Gilbert O’Sullivan
TIME WILL BE THE HEALER Glen Hansard
WE WILL STAND TOGETHER Russell Watson
WE’LL MEET AGAIN Vera Lynn (of course)
YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE Michael Ball & Captain/Colonel Tom (I had to include this didn’t I?)
In recent times I’ve been nominated on Facebook to nominate my 7 most influential books. I’m day 4 into nominating my 20 most influential albums. I wonder how many of these you would agree with? Trying to span a whole lifetime of listening to music and with 1000’s of albums to choose from it’s been a difficult task. Do give me a like or pass a comment!
Do keep your eyes on my website revpacman.wordpress.com for some interesting (honestly) articles – there are some amazing coronavirus poems posted!
Be sure to be ‘in touch’ with me, if there is anything I can do for you at any time and in the meantime, be safe and be blessed.