In honour of every tinnitus-inducing moment of my years of attending shows (I’ve been a devotee of live music since my first teenage gigs and also have more than a decade of experience as a music photographer) I’m gathering some thoughts and posing some questions to see how we get through this together.
Today’s question is whether we can make use of something akin to Jedi mind tricks to keep ourselves intact until live music returns to our collective arms. That should actually be a question. Can We Make Use Of Jedi Mind Tricks To Keep Ourselves Intact Until Live Music Returns? Now that reads like a title. Never mind, the point is, perhaps we can use some skullduggery of the cerebral variety to get us over the line.
Case in point: in October, a friend of mine bought tickets to a January 2021 gig and one of them has my name on it. Not literally – it’s unlikely she’s actually written my name on it with a pen. Or even that she has a paper version. But it’s destined for me. We decided that by making specific plans we would be reframing life as though gigs are just a very few months away and we can bask in the idea that we are Definitely Going. We have tickets, it’s ‘reality’.
Having a definite date for a musical treat takes off some of the pressure and lingering uncertainty amid voices telling us that gigs are a literal ‘no-show’ for another year.
It’s a good ruse, though you have to tell yourself (when you’re not looking, of course) that there’s a mighty chance the gig won’t happen, but at least when you find that out, you’ll be closer to the next rescheduled date. The reduced wait time is designed to help you handle the upcoming disappointment. Incremental disappointment bookended with happy days of anticipation of a great show. Colluding with friends to trick your mind is, under these extenuating circumstances, a sign of caring and solidarity. Whilst venues sleep to the sound of The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’, try to step over the tumbleweed, take care of each other and see you on the dancefloor of life in the future…and may the force be with you.
Photograph: Band members take to the crowd for the encore. (After months of social distancing, it makes me feel quite dizzy to look at this wonder of unity and celebration.) The Slackers performing at the Underworld in London, in 2014. © Imelda Michalczyk