We are each other’s wind resistance, a human skein.
And we’re not going to make it on our own.
from Wind Resistance
I hope you’re with the ones you love, in the places you know and understand best.
My week long theatre run of Wind Resistance in Edinburgh next week is cancelled, as, of course, it must be. Undoubtedly, all other public performances across the country over the next few months will be cancelled too. This is not a time for “the show must go on” stuff. It’s a time to stop and look after each other, to support those who offer us protection, and who need us to protect them. It’s a time to know what, and who, we need to survive. And what matters most.
The impact on my extended community of music, theatre and arts is already profound. Most of our work depends on real bodies gathered in space. It’s what we do best of all. And there’s nothing quite like it. But it’s a scene that’s precarious at the best of times for many, many people. And right now, it’s over. I’m witnessing the distress and bewilderment of pals and peers who’ve lost literally all of their gigging, teaching, sound engineering, festival, and choir leading income overnight. They’re under tremendous immediate stress.
Be kind please. Be thoughtful. Support those whose work you value, where you’re able. Musicians are creative people. Lots of beautiful, connective digital happenings, born of necessity and precarity, are beginning to emerge. Keep your eyes open for Patreon pages, live streams on Instagram and Facebook, and artist auctions.
Of course, there are still others for whom the impact is vastly more visceral, and dangerous.
I send my love and thanks above all else to those of you who’re medics, pharmacists, cleaners, security staff, and emergency workers, those of you staffing the grocery tills, meeting the full brunt of societal panic and bodily risk.
Thanks to our teachers, kitchen staff and nursery staff, still expected to work when everyone else is being told to go home. Bless you. Today I kept my kids at home. It’s one of the bittersweet privileges of having no live work and no work place to attend.
I extend a hand in solidarity to those of you on day to day wages, in decimated hospitality work, and on freelance contracts that are disappearing by the hour.
Donate to your local foodbank, if you can. Stockpiling for two weeks is financially possible for many of us.
Keep connected with those for whom isolation holds its own mental health dangers, as well as with those who are vulnerable on account of age or ill health.
But remember also, as one of my dearest loved ones reminded me yesterday, that many of our elders have knowledge, ideas, technical skills and experience to share with the rest of us too. Our elders can be part of a solution, or at least part of coping, alongside the rest of us. They are not only a problem to solve, or a risk to mitigate.
I’m proud of my local village community which, like many others, has set up a volunteer help system for food and medicines to support vulnerable people in self isolation.
Wind Resistance is essentially a praise song for our National Health Service, and a blessing on previous generations whose craft, graft, suffering, invention and kindness gets us to this point in human history. What happens now, I don’t know. But it will be a mirror to everything we believe in, and trust in, and to all our fragilities, vanities and follies too.
Watch. Listen. Hold those with power to account. And be powerful and generous where you can.
thanks be to those, little one,
who went before us
whose fingers and toes, little one
lie in the old clay
kingdoms come and kingdoms go
beo, beo, beo
rivers run and rivers flow
On Saturday I bought a wee bird feeder for our garden, in anticipation of this time to come. This morning, we have blue tits and dunnocks, coal tits and a spry, wee wren. They are still singing. Through all this, however it unfolds, let’s strive to keep singing too.
I’ll keep in touch with stories, songs and makings as I’m able.
Love to you all meantime, and keep safe. And most of all: remember the geese.