Are you sick of the “2020 is cancelled” memes yet?
The last gig we played at Timbre before live music venues had to be shut was the most surreal night of my life. I’ve been at this job since I was 17, that’s literally half my life spent doing gigs almost every night. To not know when we’d be able to perform again is one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve had my pinky toe almost completely severed by my bicycle chain.
We’re in Phase 2 now and everyone is resuming some semblance of normal life, almost half the nation is back to work or school. But for me, life still feels like it did at the very start of the circuit breaker because all my work is still being done on Zoom and FaceTime. Yoga and vocal lessons are still virtual and LASALLE has now been pushed back a month to start in September instead.
When we were first put on a semi-lockdown, I welcomed the change of pace with open arms. I was massively burning out teaching 20 hours a week at LASALLE, and juggling performing and teaching yoga. I thought I’d be able to have all this free time to hang out at home with my husband and cats, but nobody prepares you for the fact that when you’re working from home, people expect you to be contactable almost 24/7. And because you’re constantly in the same space that doesn’t require travel time, you don’t realise that you’re packing your schedule with back-to-back appointments. Circuit breaker has truly taught me the importance of knowing when to say “no” as a freelancer. But to be very honest, I’ve been extremely lucky and blessed despite this challenging situation and I’m very grateful for it. Work has been coming in in various forms and we’ve been financially okay. Who could’ve predicted that the yoga teacher certification I got 6 years ago would prove to be such an important life skill?
But the hardest thing so far has been not being able to see our family and friends. I greet my parents with a hug and kiss every time we meet, so when I had to go pick up an item from their doorstep and give them air hugs from a safe distance, I wanted to curl into a ball and cry. It’s a constant worry whenever they have to go out for essentials (because they’re in the vulnerable age group) and the role reversal of children worrying about their parents has never been more apparent than right now. 12 weeks on, we’ve finally had some quality time with our families and I also finally got to visit my best friend who gave birth two weeks ago; something I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to do for a long time.
The day Phase 2 was announced, my husband Bani’s recording clients started texting to ask when they could schedule their sessions to continue working on their albums. So many things were put on hold because of COVID-19 and now everyone is anxious to get their lives back on track again. We’ve been extremely careful with our interactions with others but it’s so nice having people in the house again; it’s an energy we never realised was missing till now. Even the cats are excited about the new bodies and smells coming into our home.
I’m slowly beginning to accept that this virtual world is going to be a new normal for a long time to come but the worrying thing is that we don’t know what’s going to happen to the music industry as a whole. A lot of the venues we play at depend on live music to draw a crowd for business, but if we can’t have crowds, how do these places survive? And with the rising number of community cases since the start of Phase 2, it looks like we’re still gonna have to “Stay Safe, Stay Home” for a long time to come. I’m honestly just extremely thankful to live in a country where the government GIVES A SH*T – it’s the biggest reason why we can even be in Phase 2. So let’s not mess it up for each other and continue to abide by the regulations, because I’ll be damned if we have to go into another circuit breaker.