Happy New Year!

In the meantime, may I wish you in advance every happiness for the New Year. If it’s anything like the old one, I, for my part, would sooner consign it to the devil.

Karl Marx, writing to Friedrich Engels, 27th December 1861

Gimme the vaccine, Maxine.

John Cooper Clarke, Walking Back to Happiness 1979

My late father would say keeping body and soul together. I never really gave the phrase much thought at the time but it’s a fair summary of the challenge that’s faced us all this year: the struggle for sustenance for our bodies: food, housing, medicine, employment; with none of that nutrition for the soul: live music, football, pub, socialising. At the end of the day a Zoom1 call is only so rewarding, particularly if that’s what your day-to-day work has become, and it can be a poor, though necessary, replacement for real human interaction.

Being in a band is all about that interaction, sharing the creative process, the synergy of playing in time and in tune with one another (like flapping your arms and finding out that you can actually fly) and the shared experience of band and audience that makes a great gig, well, great.

We’ve spoken elsewhere about what we’ve done to compensate for not being able to gig: the make-it-look-live videos, the live streams where we could and, of course, my sprawling COVID-19 drama set out in nearly 150 songs and poems, and while there’s no substitute for the real thing, online shows are here to stay and we can reach people that way who would otherwise never get to see us live.

But it’s New Year’s Eve, so let’s look forward. It’s big pharma2 (of all people) to the rescue and with a fair wind and a following sea the return of real football, real pubs, real music, and real people is coming, but with lessons learned, continuing to reach out to those who can’t get out, and not leaving newly created mutual aid structures3 behind.

Onwards into 2021, friends. Look after yourselves, look after each other and, in the wise words of his holiness, John Cooper Clarke:

Gimme the vaccine, Maxine.

Happy New Year!


  1. Other online meeting software is available.
  2. More on that another time.
  3. The extraordinary efforts of We Shall Overcome with Pauline, Joe, Matt and Pete at the helm have continued throughout the pandemic. We’re not going anywhere until we’re no longer needed.

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