The world around us is beginning to move again. It’s a tentative and uneven shift, with the opening of theatres, comedy clubs, and live music venues sadly still a long way away. However we’re now moving towards the stage we all yearned for at the beginning of lockdown. When lockdown was in full effect, we began to realise the level of gratitude we owe to our cultural industries. We’ve come to understand that the importance of our cultural experience reaches far beyond what we can see, and touches upon what we perceive. It’s a substantial part of the connective tissue that bonds our conscience together as humans. We need that shared experience.
It could be argued that, before lockdown, we simply took the arts and our communities for granted, we always expected them to be there. It extends further than that. It’s more than being thankful for a particularly fantastic night, or even the excitement of live music, live theatre, or a mouthwatering meal in a new restaurant. It’s spiritual and incalculable. It’s the very thing that binds us.
Powerful enough to intervene in our lives, the smallest encounter can change everything: that random chat at the bar before a gig that blooms into a lifelong friendship, the inspiration to do-it-yourself that a fantastic or terrible performance can equally spark. From the familiar stranger you catch on the train to work, to the awkward small talk with a random while waiting for friends that unexpectedly develops into a memorable conversation. Each of these seemingly individual moments are what brings us together.
Take for example the moment at the end of watching an astounding piece of film in a sold out cinema. For a few seconds, after the final scene, not a single soul daren’t move. Why? Is it a fear of breaking the hypnotic spell, fear of rupturing the comforting blanket of darkness? I’d say so. It’s also a longing to simply enjoy for a few seconds longer that harmonious feeling of connection before being ejected back into the harsh reality of our day to day existence.
As we come out of lockdown, the coronavirus still threatens the very thing we hold dear, it threatens to take away our humanity. Every act of selfishness or unnecessary risk we take as individuals, jeopardizes our chances at once again enjoying those moments together in the future.
There’s very few better feelings on this earth than the anticipation of an upcoming gig, or even being at the gig itself. Waiting for that song, your song, the song that inspired your fandom. And when the first bars are played, and you instantly recognise that beautifully familiar track. Looking around wondering, hoping that others are aware. You catch the eyes of a stranger and, in that second, you’re connected.
Moments shared with strangers and loved ones alike, empathy for others, a willingness to sacrifice short term pain, for long term gain. We’re fighting for the future of not only the younger generation, but also our parents, grandparents, and society’s vulnerable. We shouldn’t dismiss anyone’s life as less valuable than our own. Our determination and empathy could still be the defining characteristics of this turbulent time. Our reward will be a return to the moments and experiences that we each hold as our greatest treasure. Wear your mask.
Image credit: Foodie Explorers