First things first, some good news inspired by some bad. I’m giving away The Ballad Of Fat Labrador for free until Thursday. It features Legends – one of Brighton’s best LGBTQ+ venues that was forced into liquidation last week, spurring me into making this free offer. I spent many happy hours dancing there and mourned its passing over the Easter weekend.
But enough of that, it’s been less than a month (rather than the year and a half it feels) since I wrote this. How have we all been? Are you stuck at home? Are you still going to work? Do you feel safe?
I’m still working, both at the day job, and the writing and the music. In fact, I’m busier than ever. My day job in the jigsaw manufacturing industry actually feels worthwhile for once, people are glad of the tat we peddle in these locked down times. We are able to work with a reduced staff and odd shift patterns to facilitate social distancing and I am ignoring the fucking idiots who keep passing round boxes of cakes and holding doors open for me. You know who you are, I love you, but stop it.
Musically I have revived my old Dave Not The Cat persona and facebook page to post videos of my favourite poptastic cover versions both there and on my Youtube channel. I’ve even done my first ever Dave Not The Cat gig for the Taunton Gay Group’s second anniversary party. I did it from my kitchen and it sounded like a man shouting into a phone with a guitar, because that’s exactly what it was. It has, however, inspired me to maybe take the show out of the shed once this is all over, and if you’re a promoter looking for an idiot in a stupid hat to sing Miley Cyrus covers then do get in touch.
While I’ve been filling time I should be spending writing on that, some friends of mine really got their shit together and recorded this album in a week. It’s a collaborative project which I enthusiastically agreed to be part of and then procrastinated over for so long I didn’t get anything recorded in time. Luckily they’re doing a second volume for which I have recorded an inordinate amount of banjo parts and a small amount of guitar.
Isolation. Vol. 1. by The Man Room Sessions
So what with all of that, alongside modelling for my wife’s Facebook art challenge addiction; the deluge of phone calls, video calls and people I never normally speak to suddenly desperate to keep in touch and the usual looking after my small army of pets, it’s amazing that I’ve found any time to write at all. (I have though, even if it has mostly been editing things I thought were already finished).
I have – like many people worried for their mental health – been trying my best to avoid watching news as it leads to me writing rants like the following:
(Please scroll to the end for something funny and calming if you don’t wish to be enraged by my political point-scoring, incoherence, self-contradiction, overlong sentences and lack of punctuation/grammar.)
Prince William said that Britain was at its best under this kind of pressure, pulling together and supporting each other. I saw that as a damning indictment of Britain as usual rather than the compliment he intended. But then when you live in a country whose democratically elected leader tells people to stay where they are and not travel to their second homes, before travelling to his second home to recover from the disease he contracted by not following his own advice what do you expect.
Clapping is the new poppies and doesn’t fund vital services. Proper taxation does, in an interview with the Guardian last week, the folk musician Donovan bemoaned the massive taxes he exiled himself to avoid in the 1960s that led George Harrison to write ‘it’s one for me nineteen for you’ while saying it was the principle of the thing and he still had plenty of money thus arguing against his own point entirely. There are a lot of people with hope in their hearts expecting us to come out of this a kinder, more generous and better society. They are going to be disappointed when the magic money tree calls in its debts to stick a big fat capitalist union jack on the grave of their utopia.
Me, I expect the worst, we are cheering pensioners raising money for the NHS rather than seeing it as proof that it has been chronically underfunded in order to allow trickle-down-bastards to keep more of their profits on their private islands before laying off their workers at the worst possible time and still not paying anything like the tax they should be which would mean your war hero grandad doesn’t have to run five thousand heart-warming laps of his garden to the flag waving cheers of Dan Fucking Walker’s stock-photo-generic face.
Don’t even get me started on the pricks posting memes suggesting Greta Thunberg should be doing something about this. I don’t expect Tony the Tiger to come up with a viable plan for anything other than selling insane amounts of sugar to children, why should you expect an environmental campaigner to suddenly be a virologist? Your whataboutery will not stop legitimate questioning of your questionable government’s questionable response to this unquestionable crisis.
Still at least I don’t live in the USA.
Anyway, rant over, sorry.
I spent the Easter weekend editing this video of my wife, kids and me recreating our favourite singalong of 10 years or so ago. It should have been filmed in the kitchen of our old house with the kids appearing at windows and doorways on cue. But we don’t live there anymore, and we can’t all be together until all this is over.
Stay safe, and good luck.