What role do music and performance play in the present crisis of a broken economy, broken by Covid-19? Coming at a time when live venues for performers are shrinking, one can imagine that the crisis of Covid-19 is also a crisis of modern performance.
The damage done to our live performance outlets has been steady and painful. But suddenly, with the advent of the pandemic, it’s obvious it’s suddenly got a lot worse. Can we reverse the erosion of people standing up and playing for us? Away from the mechanical and digital?
Could we possibly come out of Covid-19 more fully aware of the role of music and performance in upping our wellbeing? All I know is that if anyone whips out a guitar or a penny whistle, or anything musical, the mood tends to change. We all come together. We stop talking and start moving and singing. We become completely different. We probably return to an earlier, less complicated emotional world than the world we now live in.
To lighten our load during lockdown I told you the story of my old mate Phil Ryan, who was the first person I asked to help me start The Big Issue. Phil ran a cable out of his third-floor North London flat into the front garden. And there for 10 weeks he played guitar and sang to the street. The street responded and hundreds turned up to be lifted and lightened, to be inspired, and to shake off the blues of lockdown.
I am pleased that the government has listened to calls from RORA, The @BigIssue, @Shelter and @genrentuk amongst many others, and has extended the ban on evictions. But 4 weeks is not good enough: we need long term solutions to protect people from poverty https://t.co/4taMEWcbzF
— John Bird (@johnbirdswords) August 21, 2020
Professional guitarist, singer and songwriter, performer internationally, he has nonetheless now thrown himself into the struggles of all musicians. Because of the shrivelling up of opportunities to perform, as Covid-19 has knocked the ballocks out of countless numbers of music venues, Phil is now working for their reinstatement. How? By playing and campaigning.