I didn’t do a June daily diary video. I filmed a bit of stuff but actually, although June was full of lovely things and some very different moments to March, April, May it didn’t really show in 3 second snippets of each day. It all looked a bit like a Groundhog Day, which is something I think most of us want to move away from in this lockdown/limbo time.
I really enjoy those diaries though. I like making them, looking back on them and I also enjoy watching other people’s (Charlotte Campbell’s being a favourite!) So maybe I’ll bring them back sometime. Maybe for August -as July is already galloping away with us.
My videos also didn’t show the thing I have most been searching for in my days so I thought I could put that in a blog post. The videos show a lot of noise. There’s workout videos and library stories. Live performances and baking. Crafty making and socially distant gatherings. Song after song after song… but the thing you’ll often find me doing is searching for the silence. Where is she?
This is the most time I’ve ever spent alone but silence evades me.
Since lockdown I’ve been doing a lot of my work and my music from home. My work also involves a lot of music making, which is nice. This last month I’ve recorded
- A drill beat, a Beyoncé style ballad and a gorilla style funk beat (for a wonderful charity project I was able to work on)
- vocals on friends tracks
- a song for every single team coming back to the premier league
- more traditional folk song ideas for future projects with Said the Maiden
- several cover songs for campaign funders.
- Demos and ideas for my own music
- library videos
- video tutorials for most of the sessions I used to teach as a music tech teacher.
Recording and filming and editing over and over and over. My own voice grates and I make sloppy edits as I tire from hours of it.
I don’t usually record things at home, I do them at work or in the studio with a producer. I make rough demos, sure, but really outside of lockdown I either do things at work where the software and equipment are much better or I hire studios to work in and I think that’s ok, as a solo artist I think it can be important/fun to work with others regardless of your home studio set up or skills in this area.
But being an audio engineer/producer/mix/mastering engineer are skills people spend years learning. It is funny somehow that musicians are expected to successfully wear a lot of hats to be PR, Social media, tour Manager, agent, promoter, distributor, producer, engineer, live tech, merch designer etc etc., and that during lockdown it has come as a surprise to people that not all musicians have the equipment/skills/funds to just have a home studio/stream live.
But I digress, my point was just to say that this recording at home, like so many other things we are all having to adapt to across the world, is not something I normally do – it has been a positive of lockdown to be able to embrace it and learn more, I don’t have great equipment – running free software on a PC with a mic donated to me by a friend – but it is a poor workwoman who blames her tools and I have been proud of the skills I have developed and the things I have created.
Working and learning and making the best of what we have got is sort of 2020s tag line in a lot ways. So if I had shared a video of June it would have mostly been snippets of
- Clearing desk space.
- Ordering new mic stands
- watching You tube tutorials
- Trying to control what noise gets in and out of my space.
- Controlling the space as much as I can.
But I can’t control the noise. The noise is
The children outside in the school playing field that backs on to my house
The tree strimmers from the lockdown garden project a neighbour has undertaken
The lockdown DIYers from all around the close
The arguments from next door
The dogs…the four dogs my neighbours have
The cats…my cats!
The phone pings
…And so I am
Always chasing the silence.
Waiting for the moment she arrives to catch the elusive recordings
She is a Moving beast BUT You can predict when she’ll be there. ..or you can at least predict precisely when she can’t.
I look out of my window for her.
I note the days the children are not at school or the times the neighbours leave the dog out in the garden to bark
I try to trap her in foam squares and duvets. She is elusive.
She does not want to come over for tea, she does not even want to sit in the garden at a social distance. She hides. I can’t decide if she holds no regard for lockdown rules at all, that she is entirely doing her own thing, or if she is still unsure, just beginning to step back in to normal life, so you can catch her cautiously stepping out when less people are around, at times where there is less activity that is when she decides to take her daily stroll.
When I look at it that way, I understand her reluctance to make an appearance and I patiently wait to catch the elusive silence so we can make recordings together again.