Thursday, March 26, 2020

'Nobody told me there'd be days like these...'

Well I don't know about you (obviously!) but I seem to have rather more time on my hands than I was expecting to have at the moment. Maybe you have too? So what better time to (a) write one of those blog postings that I keep saying that I must get around to writing, and (b) play a game of Spot The Difference. Well, why not eh?

Here are two posters - the one on the left is for the first ever acoustic tour by (ahem!) up-and-coming young London dub rock band Ruts D.C., while the one on the right is for The Punk Rock Bowling Festival, which takes place every May in no lesser location than Las Vegas, USA. 

Now here are two more posters - the one on the left is once again for the first ever acoustic tour by (ahem!) up-and-coming young London dub rock band Ruts D.C., while the one on the right is once again for The Punk Rock Bowling Festival, which takes place every May in no lesser location than Las Vegas, USA.

So can you - yes, YOU! - spot the difference between them? Tricky isn't it?

Actually it's not very tricky at all is it? I must make the next competition more difficult...

I first started this blog all those years ago as an attempt to become more computer literate, to improve my typing skills - which if I remember rightly were pretty much non-existent at the time - and because I thought that it might be an interesting thing to do, not least as it gave me a way of documenting my increasingly unusual (and often rather obscure) attempts to play the guitar for a living. I gave it the impulsive title 'Leigh's Mad World Of Guitars' without very much thought; I've often wondered if I should change it - maybe one day I will - but it's been hard enough to find the time and if I'm honest the inclination to contribute to it over the last few years, let alone to wonder whether it's name should change. As previously discussed I tend to use Facebook for music-related stuff these days, and as a result the blog feels a little bit like something from another time in my life - which I suppose in many ways it is. Looking back through it I don't really know how I found the time to write as much as I did in the early days, although maybe a more interesting question is to consider what I used to do with all those thoughts before I started writing them down here... but if ever there was a Mad World it's the one that we have 'suddenly' found ourselves in now.

Coronavirus. Was there ever a time when it wasn't the most used word in the English language? It's hard to remember isn't it? And how about terms like 'self-isolating' and 'social distancing'? From people saying things like 'I don't know what all the fuss is about, it's only a cold' to the same folk crossing the road with a look of abject terror on their face if they see anyone within several yards of them has taken a few weeks, but it's certainly happened. As I write this all restaurants, pubs and clubs are closed and gatherings are limited to two people - that's certainly something that I never thought that I'd ever type! All but non-essential shops are closed, the streets are as empty as they are on Christmas Day - well, they certainly are around these parts - and with many people working from home the World seems a very different place to the one we all now only dimly remember from just a couple of weeks or so ago. Supermarket shelves are empty, people are fighting over bottles of hand sanitiser and toilet rolls are suddenly the rarest thing on Earth. I was in the Post Office around the corner from me the other day, and when one of the lads behind the counter mentioned that they would be receiving a delivery later in the day I heard a voice from behind me say 'I'll 'ave 200 of 'em'. It was a giant, not-particularly friendly-looking man, and he wasn't smiling - now that's an upset stomach... all this panic buying has of course resulted in shortages of all sorts of things, which isn't too clever from the point of view of, say, an NHS worker who can only visit shops at a certain time of day due to shift commitments, or an unemployed or elderly person with limited financial resources at certain times of the month. Still, I'm sure that doesn't bother Mr. 200 Toilet Rolls, or indeed any of the other blockheads who work on a similarly self-centred level to him.

As for me - all gigs are fairly obviously postponed or in some cases cancelled altogether, my work at Balcony Shirts is on hold and as a self-employed person I've long since stopped joking about bankruptcy. I began the last blog posting with the words 'as Ruts D.C. ready themselves for a return to showbusiness' - well, that seems a very long time ago now too. We've got things to do - there's a live album from last year's '40 Years Of The Crack' tour coming out soon, there are songs to write for a projected 2021 release (I do like a bit of unashamed optimism, don't you?!) and more, but who knows when we'll next be able to get together? We're looking at sending song ideas to each other via The Internet - time I finally learned how to work GarageBand properly then... we were due to be playing a Rock Against Racism show in Brighton this coming weekend with another one in Brixton early next month so these are now being rescheduled as are quite a few other shows. And we're once again accompanying The Stranglers around Britain on their 'Final Full U.K. Tour' in October and November - tickets are selling well, and surely we'll all be back to 'normal' by then? There are also dates for Alvin GibbsThe Disobedient Servants and The Slogans that need changing - but when do we reschedule anything for? How long is our new Mad World going to be around for? And how much madder is it going to get? 

Hmm... the answers aren't there, but the questions most certainly are. 

Wherever you are, stay safe and stay cool. We'll meet again, don't know where don't know when - but I know we'll meet again, some sunny day...

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