These have been strange times for us all, the world over, all ages and backgrounds. This pandemic has made an impact on us all. Back in the 50s there was a polio epidemic which gave me an experience. It took my mother when I was 3 years old, a wonderful woman I am told, I was too young to retain any real memories, all I have is one image of a kitchen, a stove and an old lady bringing her bicycle into the room through the back door. Covid has given me a reminder – one friend has passed because of all of this, two others have been infected adding to their existing deep health problems – one in seemingly endless pain, another wheelchair bound. So many fiorends have been lost to me – moving away, passing, being lost to me for other reasons.
Roughly 5 years ago I made a chance meeting with some guys – Rite Trax – who brought life back to me. Having had a background in clubnights, entertainment, music and visuals, they gave me a chance to relive what I had considered to be life itself. I resumed performance, they gave me reason, purpose, a chance for new creativity and once more a real social life. That social life was not just an ordinary, everyday life of a few minutes chatting with the odd friend, minutes or perhaps an hour at my local pub. This was a social life of real connection – real life with depth and purpose, as I said. For someone in their 60s this can be unusual, for me it was reason, foundation, solidity. Then just a while ago their venue – Plot 22 – was shut down because of noise problems and major work had to ensue so that basically one complainer could be assuaged alongside the local council – neither of whom are particularly nice nor helpful in any way. Just as work was coming to a close, having enlisted an academic specialist, an engineer of sorts who had real experience of sound proofing technology, and thus an end to roughly one year of not being able to live that life the hope I had of resuming performance and living that joyful element of my life, guess what? Covid appeared and dashed those hopes. My heart was emptied and given everything that was to happen I had that imminent thought that I would not be able to return to that life with at least moments of energy, that combination of solid foundation and brightness, soft smiles and companionship. I had every sad thought of this pandemic finishing the job of leaving me to gradually waste away into a sad life of just the local pub, no friends and just occaisional visits from family. But then a moment or two of meeting with the guys from the Plot and suddenly I am told – you are one of the crew. That welcome dismembered those feelings of low key horror and suddenly after helping set up an outdoor party feelings of belonging returned.
After all of this new thoughts have sprung to mind even though so much of my equipment and software has died on me, thus a new project – an audio-visual art piece cum collection ‘Biblionaut’, he who walks with words [(c) 2020 Derek Bate] – is currently being given birth.