And I look forward to these things because the thought that I could have to work for a living instead of doing this, makes me very grateful that I'm a musician - in good times and in very bad times.
There has been a lot of publicity given to the plight of musicians and performers through the ongoing pandemic restrictions. The fact that our work is wholly reliant on people being able to gather together in close proximity whilst we show off at you, meant that the ability to earn money vanished in a heartbeat, with no warning. The majority of us work on a self-employed/freelance basis and as such many have found there to be no finacncial support.
It has been a challenge to stay mentally well - maintaining fitness, physical and musical skills with no sign of a date when me might need them again has been hard, but entertainers and perhaps freelancers generally are typically resourceful and there has been an uplift in creativity; people writing and recording, learning new skills, adapting to teaching etc.
Even as restrctions begin to ease - the gigantic machine that has to come slowly back to life before shows can resume means that it will not be an overnight recovery for us. Theatres book their acts well over a year in advance, the acts need to promote and are at the mercy of publishing deadlines etc.. patrons may still have concerns about paying for tickets for a show in the distant future, in case a producer goes bust in the meantime, and the government have so far refused to offer any insurance against this fear.
But through all of this negativity, one thing struck me very early on - and that was that I didn't necessarily mourn the loss of income, so much as the fact that I was prevented from doing the job that I absolutely love! It occured to me that there were probably people who were delighted to have been sent home from work, with pay, for months, which means they probably hate their job.
I look forward to being on the road at 4am to travel 3 hours for a Sikh wedding, knowing that the client will keep us waiting 2 hours anyway. I look forward to spending 18 hours - on the road, lugging heavy gear into a theatre, pounding the streets of some random town looking for a place to eat, before waiting patiently during soundchcek for the engineers to locate and kill an intrusive hum which no one has ever suffered before, just to be able to be part of a show again. I look forward to rocking up at club - carpets so sticky that I'm reluctant to put my gear down for a second, and I look forward to being crammed into a pit or onto a stage so small that my trumpet hovers precariously over a ride cymbal and we're forced to take it in turns to breathe because there's no room for our expanded torsos. And I look forward to these things because the thought that I could have to work for a living instead of doing this, makes me very grateful that I'm a musician - in good times and in very bad times.
The best job in the world!