Ok, I've gone for the clickbait! Just back home from an incredibly enjoyable Blazin Fiddles tour of England but to be honest the only thing anyone was talking about was Corona Virus. Our initial reaction was amazement. Amazement that anyone would be stockpiling toilet roll or even fighting for it. Amazement that people didn't wash their hands before any of this and amazement at some of the bloody awful scaremongering headlines in the newspapers.
We had a lot of sold-out gigs on the tour but there were some seats that, although paid for, were left empty as bad news spread like wildfire (When did the wildfires in Australia end? Never heard that good news story...maybe they've not?!)
As more information has emerged it is very obvious that the self employed are in a pickle with this one. Looking at it as a publican, musician, tourist provider....it's bad news. However for every dark cloud there has to be a silver lining as my granny used to say. You've just got to find it!
The Blazers caught a glint of silver on our recent tour when two gigs were cancelled at the last minute. Initially there was much gnashing of teeth and thoughts of heading home but then we decided to get down to some work. Two days were spend in a Travellodge Hotel getting new material together (Sorry if you were in adjoining rooms!). It was brilliant. There were no distractions. Noone had to nip off early, noone arrived half a day late (my forte!). We were focused and we got a hell of a lot done. A complete album's worth of material was put together and four tracks debuted on the remainder of the tour. We're delighted
We're looking at what we can do with our pub "MacGregor's". We had huge numbers of American and European visitors last year and our projections for this year were based on a similar (if not even better) situation. Corona has taken those figures and tossed them out the window. This week we're having to reassess all our figures and our plans for this year.
It may well be a short term blip - maybe things will be closed for a few weeks of containment. However we can't fully appreciate the longer term affect on tourism and gig going. Maybe it will result in a huge surge of people desperate to get out of the house? Maybe people will change their habits. Getting people to gigs is already difficult.
So what can we do? Well we can look at our local market, we can add to the events that our locals (who may well put a pause on their own summer travel plans) will enjoy. We will have to be creative. If we are in lock down we may have to prepare for the massive burst of energy that will come after this ends. We may have to look at different ways of operating. It's a challenge.
What's the alternative? Is there any point in panicking? No, everyone is in the same boat. Doens't matter if you are royalty, multi millionaire or a traditional musician, the virus doesn't care. This is a massive test of government - UK and Scottish, not just in the containment but in the aftermath. Things can't just immediately go "back to normal". A lot of businesses will struggle to pay Business Rates and VAT. Those who are self employed don't have a safety net of sick pay.
I'm lucky. I have an incredibly positive and supportive partner. We sit and discuss everything, but always looking for the positive. Try and be that positive person. It's too easy to be Dad's Army's Frazer proclaiming, "We're all doomed".
It's very easy to be scared and negative during this time but it's far more important that we personally don't all fall into the easy trap of scaremongering and sensationalising things. It's also worth thinking about the things we can do. Worst case scenario? Two weeks lock down? Maybe write some new tunes, maybe learn a new skill or perfect a new recipe for Spam fritters!
Here's some music from the tour