Despite what has already been widely leaked as more of the same in today’s announcement there were a couple of novelties over the weekend. Given that my sojourns in London are few and far between at the moment I popped next door on Sunday morning to play a board game with my neighbour, the first time we have done so for ten and a half months. I was kind enough to let him win, a story I am going to stick to.
In the afternoon and early evening I kept the trend going and did something else I have not done for ten months, as I spent the latter chunk of the day in rehearsal with Clyve and the rest of the band, working on some of his album material in preparation for some gigs later in the year, we hope. I tweaked my setup a little more and found it much improved, and the entire experience was easy and productive, as if we had never been away.
It did not escape our attention that the core of the band – keys, guitar, bass and drums – was either current or former RetroChic members, which says something either about our turnover or about our abilities as a group, the latter I hope. It genuinely felt as if we brought some of our RetroChic tightness to Clyve’s more soulful stylings and we all went away from the session in a good mood.
As happens when musicians get together at the moment, we spent some time discussing how things have been for the past fifteen months and how things look in the immediate future, and the general feeling was that the arts have been left more or less to fend for themselves, especially when compared to, say, sport. The gradual drip of information about today’s announcement, presumably to keep the newspapers more or less onside, makes me convinced that things will stay as they are for another month, so no meaningful in-person choir rehearsals and no audiences for gigs.
Personally this will mean the likely cancellation of two RetroChic concerts and the loss of the associated income, and it will also mean that Parliament Choir, long-suffering and patiently impatient to get back together, as are all groups of amateur singers, will have to wait yet more. Still, Twitter proved once more last night that those in charge really do know what they are doing, the Culture Secretary’s original claim (below) swiftly deleted without comment. Good to know that we are in safe hands.