As we find ourselves in the difficult sophomore lockdown, I find myself musing that while some increase in restrictions was inevitable given the season and lack of a cure (though better news does seem to be on the horizon), there still seems to be plenty of blame to lay at the feet of those in charge (or indeed, those until very recently in charge). In times where knowledge and expertise are becoming ever more specialised, it is interesting to note the very wide ranging ignorance and incompetence that our leaders are able to bring to bear on the pressing issues of 2020. I’m sure the heady mix of ambition and venality which they seem to be mainlining must be acting as a skill multiplier…
So, once again my excursions must meet some (poorly drafted and thought-out) definition of essential and I cannot see friends in the flesh for the foreseeable. I am once again forced back on my own, unleavened company. The weather is rather less clement than during the debut lockdown but I am still managing to get out reasonably often on the bike: this very morning I had a glorious ride to the north, slightly diverted thanks to some very impressive flooding which I saw a more foolhardy cyclist attempt to traverse and come very wetly a-cropper. The remaining leaves, still clinging to the apron strings of their arboreal parent, were looking quite stunning in the slanting winter sunlight. While my waterproofs have been earning their place in the squad in the last few weeks, today not a drop of precipitation marred my ride.
So, while the storm clouds gather and wind and rain lash my garret, I must find ways to entertain myself on the dark winter afternoons (and indeed, mornings, evenings and nights). The piano accordion is really coming into its own and I am definitely making progress with both hands. As a mark of my level of mastery, to the best of my knowledge, none of my neighbours has yet sought to depart this veil of tears at their own hand citing my instrument in their exit note.
However, I need more to keep the psychological wolf from my straw-built mental fortress and to provide fresh (or at least tolerably stale) content for GofaDM. Talking of the tolerably stale, last month’s Quaranstein has had a rather a major impact on the oldest foods in my larder: my cornflour (best before August 1999) and hoisin sauce (best before September 2013) have both passed to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns. It has been an oddly moving experience, like saying goodbye to a faithful companion: that cornflour has moved with me four times in its life and I literally have younger friends! (I have kept the packet for the memories and because artistic friends seem to rate it very highly!)
So, I found myself pondering new, somewhat idiotic projects, which I could run from home over the coming weeks/months. Last year I had the Lundiary to keep me occupied but where is equivalent inspiration going to come from in 2020? As luck would have it, into my life has just come Music to Eat Cake By from the excellent Lev Parikian (imaginary bird and orchestral maestro). This was funded through Unbound and comprises forty essays, each written on a subject proposed by a funder. The essays each have a fixed word count, starting at 4000 and reducing by 100 words per essay until the final one has just 100 words. I have no particular need of external funding, unlike so many at this time – so please support as many local artists, bookshops, venues, pubs, cafes etc that you can: I can only eat, drink and read/watch/listen to so much. However, I quite fancied stealing the idea as a way to externally source content for this organ. Forty essays might be a little ambitious and a limit of 4000 words would only pander to my tendency toward digression and rambling on, so I was thinking of a more modest ten essays with lengths varying from 100 to 1000 words.
So, I am throwing down the gauntlet to you, the GofaDM readership, to suggest topics on which you would like (or would be willing to endure) me writing a blogpost (the word ‘essay’ does seem rather too grand for what I do). These can be on any topic: whether you believe me to know or care about it or not, researching in some of my many areas of ignorance may prove to be much of the fun (for me, it may be torture for the wider world). I shall feel entirely free to select ten topics that appeal to me and may take the title/topic in whatever way takes my fancy. I may also share this request with my other social media ‘friends’ to increase the pool of suggestions.
This idea occurred to me a couple of days ago but this morning, in an entirely unrelated development (unless my flat is bugged) I was commissioned (no fee involved, in case HMRC are watching) to write a review of a new EP which came into my hands a couple of weeks ago. This could act as a useful testbed for my latest stupid idea and open up a new career as a music reviewer. Certainly, I am taking it as a ‘sign’ that this is one of my good ideas…