Ready, here we go again
We are not in reverse. It's irreversible. But it sure feels like we've left the handbrake off and are rolling backwards down the hill. I had thought this would be my last letter before restrictions were done away with but like so many of you reading this, my optimism was misplaced, and Monday July 19th is now the all new irrevisible terminus of the journey.
This means that social distancing remains in place, we are still limited to meeting up to six people or two households indoors, pubs can open but for table service only, watching football in pubs is permitted, but cheering is not, theatres and restaurants are limited to 50% capacity, and nightclubs (which includes indoor gigs like ours) must remain closed. Fortunately, we decided against holding our Klub Kakofanney resumption gig at the earliest opportunity, in case there was any postponement of reopening, so even with the maximum four week delay, we should still be okay to go ahead in August.
In a slight change to our previously published August line-up, we are delighted to announce it will now feature Peerless Pirates as the headline band. Our plan is to hold gigs in August and September at the Hubble & Home on Abingdon Road, and this is the line-up for those two gigs:
Friday 6th August, 8pm to 11pm
The Mighty Redox
Mark Atherton and Friends
Friday 3rd September, 8pm to 11pm
Dance like no-one is watching, because chances are no-one is
If you were intending to visit any open-air events or festivals during the next few weeks, it would be a good idea to double check they are still going ahead before you set out. I have heard today that next weekend's Boundary Festival in Didcot has had to be cancelled, apparently because the organisers will be unable to ensure social distancing etc for the numbers expected to attend. However, as far as I know, a three-hour non-stop Danceathon in Didcot, to raise funds for Headway Oxfordshire and other disability causes, is still going ahead on 4th July. Donna, who has organised gigs for some of you under the name Rainbow Promotions, is promising to jive and boogie her way through it, so if you'd like to encourage her by sponsoring her attempt for any amount, large or small, here is the link you need:
Giant wasp? No, just a yellow motorbike
With so much blue sky in June, I took the opportunity to dust off the cameras and see if I could remember how to use them. When the sun comes out, the New Forest horses like to stand in the middle of the road where it gets warm and they get sleepy. Fortunately, most drivers are very patient with them. This is a few clips of horse life presented in the guise of the three minute video format:
I shared that video with you all because I wanted to show you how a few mundane clips of video can be brought to life and given character by music. Character is also added to that video by using dropout, a portion of the video which lacks music and just uses ambient sound to create a change in the storyline. The music is "Roadtrip" by Silent Partner from 2014 and fits well with the cadence of the horse movements. The video wouldn't have been nearly as much fun if I'd opted for a dreamy summertime blues number instead of a pacey and slightly punky soundtrack? Why did I choose punky? Well, for a start, have you noticed that horses always have mohawk haircuts?
Shadows, filled up with doubt
It works the other way too. Just as great music can bring video alive, so too can great visuals can give a whole different slant to music. There is a song called "Bad Things" by Jace Everett, which one reviewer described as "not very menacing". It would probably have gone under the radar if it wasn't for its use as the theme tune of the US vampire series, True Blood, and even then I doubt if it would have been so memorable if it wasn't for the truly inspired choice of imagery used in the opening credits of the first series.
Well that certainly adds menace and atmosphere to the song. Unusually, the montage of images used here are not drawn from the programme itself, and sadly, the series didn't really live up to artistry of the intro.
Saving Jane is a band from Ohio formed in 2001, not to be confused with the excellent UK band Salvation Jayne who are due to play at The Bullingdon in September, supporting the equally impressive Hands Off Gretel. Anyway, thirteen years ago, June 2008, Saving Jane released their single, "Supergirl", which reached position 40 in the US charts and went unnoticed everywhere else in the world.
Two months later, the Russian-born US gymnast, Nastia Liukin, was one of the stars of the Beijing Olympic Games, winning the gold medal for combined events. At the celebratory gala, she performed her bars routine to a snippet of Supergirl. Someone, and no-one remembers exactly who, picked up on the idea and made a youtube montage of Liukin photos to the full Supergirl track, and the idea took off, with many fans making their own variations on the theme. This is one of them. This video was made from pre-digital TV transmissions, so the quality isn't fantastic, even by 2008 standards, but still, you'll believe a woman can fly:
If you tried that today, the record company would pounce on you for copyright infringement, but back then Saving Jane positively encouraged it. Liukin went on to launch a clothing line called "Supergirl by Nastia", one of the major gymnastic competitions in the US is the Supergirl Cup, and thirteen years later, Saving Jane's single is still getting played and still getting used in TV trailers, documentaries, and sports promotions. Music and movement have synergy. Embrace it when you get the opportunity.
Unlike Supergirl, we are not bulletproof
The vaccines are brilliant, and the government is putting all its eggs in the vax basket, but please don't assume that's all we need to get out of this. Vaccines provide strong protection but they do not make you bulletproof, so it's a good idea to dodge a few bullets as well. Even if you have already had the jab, keep up with the other measures too, because the more barriers we can collectively create against virus transmission, the safer all of us will be.
A year ago, we were asking younger people to go through hardships to protect the older and more vulnerable. Now the pandemic is growing most rapidly amongst the under 30s, so it is up to those of us in the older generations to show restraint for a few weeks more. We owe it to all the people who protected us last year, to do the same for them now.