Sunday, June 28, 2020

Six Metres Away (Locked-down, Mutually-Masked Love, Doomed by Zoom)

I liked the Oscar Marzaroli photographs in her room

That I saw when we first had that meeting on Zoom

There was Rankin, McDermid and Banks on her shelves

Though oddly, a few Barbara Cartlands as well

It seemed almost a meeting of minds

I sent her a message online

And after some Facetime and Whatsapping we both agreed

That it might be time for us

safely distanced to meet

She said there is just one thing I have to ask

I never go out without wearing a mask

Rubber gloves and usually a hat

Are you comfortable with that?

I said I will see you in Kelvingrove Park

By the statue of Thomas Carlyle

I model my fashion on the late Alistair Gray

And I dress for both safety and style

And I am quite sure that you'll understand

If I make no attempt to to reach out for your hand

I promise you that I will stay

Six feet away

I stood there for hours but she never arrived

She messaged me finally and fulsomely apologised

She said our relationship had better stay

On a digital platform, it was better that way

And to an extent I agreed

Well, virtually

And so we never wandered through Kelvingrove

At the Stewart memorial fountain

We never drove to Loch Lomond

Or gazed at the hills and the mountains

When lockdown was eased I saw her I think

In the Oran Mor beer garden having a drink

Really there was nothing to say

I stayed six metres away

From the Northern New Zealand to Infection Park

So what's it like down here? Everyone behaving?
Well, on the hottest day of the year I was aghast to read of a young female acquaintance, walking through a packed Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow (evacuated on police orders later in the day) who was hassled, cuddled and breathily harangued by sweaty groups of drunk youths. Albeit "good naturedly".
Unacceptable in any circumstances - yeah, even at football matches - but in the middle of a pandemic?
I've been given grief by teenagers for wearing a mask in the street (it's simply not possible to maintain a constant two-metre separation in an urban setting) though interestingly, I do (in the west end of Glasgow) see a good number of young (under 30) folk committedly face-covered. In supermarkets (I've only been to three, Big Tesco in Dundee, Wee Tesco in Glasgow, Medium Co-op in Ayr) I'd very roughly say the day starts with serious shoppers, about 50 per cent wearing face coverings, and that figure drops as time passes. One-way systems, hand sanitising and plastic screens for cashiers are not universal but usual (especially at Tesco). The only shop where I've seen any (not all) staff masked was the Co-op at Greenan in Ayr, which has been a lifeline for my elderly dad and stepmother. Who are doing OK, thank you, after some fairly major hassles.
Coffee shops and restaurants have been adapting at speed. On my single walk through Kelvingrove, it looked at one point as if every picnic group was eating takeaway pizza from Paesano. One top restaurant has turned itself into a street bakery, and flat whites with fresh pasteis de nata are available if you (socially distanced) queue at various hatches. And oh, are those tables and chairs on the pavement for sitting at? Goodness knows who put them there. Nothing to do with the cafe owners...don't mind if I do...DON'T PAT MY DOG!
From what I've seen, there's a significant, younger, dumber element who couldn't give a rat's arse about the pandemic (and to be honest, it's the same in Shetland with these 'secret' house parties and the like) who know they're unlikely to be badly affected and who are desparate to socialise exuberantly and carelessly. The old and the vulnerable, as ever, don't figure in their thoughts. There are older people clearly operating on either bravado or a resigned 'come-and-get-me' attitude.
In Shetland, in the Highlands and Islands generally, there's space to be apart. In the cities...well, frankly it's a miracle lockdown and social distancing has lasted and been effective thus far.
And there's a sense that everything is moving towards a fatalistic Belfast-in-the-70s, 1952-Farnborough-Air-Show attitude: Shrug, take precautions if you want, take the risk, get on with it. Second spike? Roll with it. If the over-60s have to die, well. Pass me a Capstan Full Strength and a large Grouse.
Or in my case, large amounts of vitamins C, D and omega three fatty acids, probably in vain. Don't forget the aspirin and Clopidogrel. Oh, and I'll have a double Respro activated charcoal cheery Bowie fishing boat mask as well. Possibly goggles.
I'm heading back north, if possible, at the end of next week. It will be a sorrow to leave loved ones but I know the tension of constant vigilance will lessen (and even in Shetland, I haven't been in public indoor spaces without a mask since the beginning of March). I'll be taking full safety measures and isolating for a fortnight after coming home. You won't see me on the boat. I'll be in my cabin, eating sour cream Pringles (it's a rule for sailing north).
By the time I get home, the tourists will have arrived.
𝘊𝘰𝘱𝘺𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘛𝘰𝘮 𝘔𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘰𝘯, 2020. 𝘕𝘰 𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘹𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘸𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘯 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯. 𝘚𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘯 𝘍𝘉 𝘖𝘒.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Beatcroft Social 6 June, with full playlist

Here's the Mixcloud stream for Saturday's (6 June) Beatcroft Social. You can also find it at the 60 North Radio archive.

From the Holy Modal Rounders to Little Feat isn't that circuitous a route...

Johnny and Mary -Robert Palmer
Rock'n'Roll Disgrace - Sweet
Take Me To the River - Syl Johnson
Suddenly - Solomon Burke
You have to be Chased- Rupert Hine
Happiness - Blue Nile
Fine Lines - John Martyn

Davie's Delightful Asides:
Satisfaction- Otis Redding
Tumbling Dice - Linda Ronstadt
Sympathy for the Devil - Bryan Ferry

Elvis Presley Blues - Gillian Welch
The Older I Get - Primevals
You're gonna Miss Me - Thirteenth Floor Elevators
Psycho - Sonics
Manic Monday - Kate Rusby

Drew's Dodgy Doodles
Knockando - Michael Hurley
Euphoria - Holy Modal Rounders
The Belle of Avenue A - The Fugs

Going Down - Freddie King
Going Down Slow - Long John Baldry

Clive's Collection
Mercenary Territory - Little Feat
These Dreams of You - Van Morrison
(I don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock'n'Roll Shoes - The Band

Record Player - Teddy Thomson
Buckfast - Nadine Shah
Speed of the Sound of Loneliness - Alabama Three
Time to Pretend - MGMT
When You're Falling - Afro Celt Sound System

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Lockdown Love in the Alcohol Aisle

Lockdown Love in the Alcohol Aisle

I saw her in the Tesco queue she said don't try to kiss me
I'd love  to talk to you and I know that you've missed me
But this is much bigger than us, think of the community
I don't believe all of this bullshit about herd immunity
And I didn't get a chance to ask
As she adjusted her designer mask
Which she wore with insouciant style
Who it was she'd been holding hands with
By the alcohol aisle

Her trolley was heavily loaded and tricky to steer
It was full of Moet et Chandon and  Mexican beer
A bottle of Grey Goose vodka, some Isle of Harris gin
I didn't like the look of the relationship she'd found herself in
I'd believed her when she would say
How she loved single malts and craft IPA
But clearly I had been in denial
And the truth had been revealed during lockdown in the alcohol aisle

I saw them in the car park heading for a Toyota hybrid
And I had to admit, he looked much better than I did
He had the aura of a personal trainer or a tennis coach
I was filled with inferiority and self reproach
But I knew I'd be having more fun
With my Talisker, my Innes and Gunn
My resemblance to Bobby Carlyle
I went back in to buy some Buckfast
In the alcohol aisle...