On June 12th this year, I’ll be 80 years old. I was looking forward to it. I had a surprise for everyone. We had The Royal Albert Hall booked, and I was going to play one last gig. I was going to call it ‘The Last Gig’, but then ‘The Great Lurg’ hit. At first it didn’t alter our course. There was a hope in the first couple of months that we’d somehow miss it, or that it could be confined in some way. Or it might be the same as SARS, and just peter out. I was going for once a week physiotherapy at the time.
Things start happening to the body at this age that need to be caught, like, for instance, muscle mass departure. While joints that have been abused for decades, like the joint between the thumb and the hand, are getting into new realms of pain. Perhaps playing electric guitar is more gentle on the hands, over time, because the strings are lighter and easier to put down onto the fretboard, although I wouldn’t like to be wearing a Les Paul custom for a few decades. That’d be a necklace too far.
For the majority of my life I’ve played a steel string acoustic guitar, which I suspect is the most telling of all guitars on all body parts. An acoustic guitar is forgiving if you’re just strumming chords, but if you’re using all of your fingers on both hands to bend strings and crunch out post-blues finger-style emotional events, then effects are eventually going to be felt, at which point, cures for pain might well be sought. Reluctantly at first perhaps, but as discomforts become fixtures….
So, after ‘The Last Tour’, a little repair work was needed. I was just a little worried about it because it was cramping my style, my ability to deliver in the traditional manner. But then there was this background of noise coming from China, where authorities were practicing what they usually practice there when they want to stamp something out. Ruthless Tyrannical Takeover.
One particular Chinese doctor, Dr Li Wenliang, was telling the world, or trying to, that a dangerous disease was on the loose. He was soon dead.. We became cynically circumspect, and life went on, for about another month. Until there was news that this bug, unlike the SARS thing they’d had over there a decade previously, was spreading to parts outside China, and seemingly quickly. I ordered masks the same day, and told my physio that I wouldn’t be back until.. That was March 3rd2020.
She shook hands with me over someone else’s shoulder. Another female who was rooting in her bag. We were all at the pay point. I remember thinking that it was the highest handshake I’d ever had, and as it’s turned out, it was the last handshake I’ve had until now.
2020 was going to be such a brilliant year…. but things weren’t going to plan. Here I am a year and 3 months later, and we’ve been out to the shops together about 5 times, we’ve been out to eat twice, and I’ve been to the doctors’ twice for both jabs. Grim. But I did want to live; and I am vulnerable. I have things to do yet. There’s stuff to write, and a record to be made. I like to make recordings with tech-articulate friends helping me to do the heavy lifting, so recording has been put on the backburner until current restrictions can be lifted. I suspect that no one wants to kill me, leastways, none of my immediate conspirators.
Vaccinations have been difficult, and will continue to be. The shops have opened for the first time in months today, but T, who has been doing the weekly shop, hasn’t had her vaccine yet. It’s due, and she is in the queue, but I don’t want her taking undue risks.
So times haven’t been that easy…
This is the understatement that everyone now needs to make, except for smarties who’ve managed to earn an extra couple of billion Bitcoin using malware. The truth is that house arrest isn’t too much fun after the first year. It’s necessary, and we’ve had to do it, so it’s been a bit like National Service. There are places on the planet where apes who describe themselves as people, have been trained by politicians to believe that SARS-CoV-2 is a myth. Death from SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t necessarily change their opinions on their deathbeds, which is a form of death by propaganda. Hey-ho.. Myself, I’ll take the first vaccine available, and have done, because thatscience has worked for me all my life. And because I’m a pragmatist.
I miss my friends, and it’s beginning to look like no one is going to be allowed to come over from Britain for my birthday.. My great big 80th party, where I would be tipsy on people, company, drink and substance, and give a half cut speech to the room about everything and nothing; which would last for at least a week due to constant interruptions, heckling, and any manner of brain fade.
Where I would at last be able to stand as living proof that, contrary to ‘popular’? opinion, I’d been responsible, and taken care not to throw my life away stupidly, at an earlier age, even though my conscience had constantly thrown my career away at all stages.
That, after all, I had been responsible enough to own a Ferrari, though a. I couldn’t have afforded the debt, b. It had never occurred to me that I should own a Ferrari, Dave, c. My ego has never needed that kind of a silly toy and d. Decreasingly so.
So it looks like it’ll be just the two of us sat down to fish and chips and a bottle of Prosecco on June the 12th. Maybe we should invite a magpie, a couple of jackdaws and four and twenty blackbirds to partake.
Love and Pestilence
PS. I did own a second hand tank at one stage..