Another missive from the lockdown - Nick Triani's second life during quarantine playlist - with reference to a formative musical experience.
Welcome to the new normal. My week was characterised by an anxiety-strewn trip to the local supermarket (Keep Your Fucking Distance People!) Meanwhile, four weeks into lockdown and my own personal grasp of reality is slowly deteriorating. Paranoia, moody ticks, unreasonable reasoning all reared their heads this week. We are coping outside of our comfort zones and taken for granted spaces no longer exist. It’s the new normal again. Others plough ahead as if nothing is happening, happy in their little bubbles, perhaps it is the best coping mechanism. The fragile and facile consumerist facade of life that we privileged westerners knew, has been seriously exposed and shattered by COVID-19. Meanwhile, as if on an alternative plain, as worldwide societies ponder what to do next and how to ‘restore’ what was before, the planet’s ecosystem lets out a massive sigh of relief as nature starts to blossom again. Humanity watches on from behind glass windows and doors. This lockdown has the cruelest of benefits for our future. If only that sobering thought could get us through this moment. It should.
My quarantine playlist this week doesn’t have any particular theme, just a random selection of music I’ve been listening to the last few weeks. You’ll find on the playlist the late African musician Hugh Masekela and his track ‘Zulu and The Mexican’ – this has a special place in my formative relationship to music. When I was around five years old my parents (avid radio listeners) bought one of those massive sideboard stereo systems. In effect a record player, speakers and radio housed in a piece of furniture (these were very popular in the late 1960s/early 70s.) The Sideboard came with a few albums. By the mid 1970s I was the only one in the household using the record player and one of the only records we had was Hugh Masekela’s self-titled album on Fontana from 1968. The album has a rich, wild and groovy feeling, a sound of freedom in effect, epitomised by ‘Zulu and The Mexican’. Masekela’s free-form blaring, rarely sounding in control, yet brimming with passion and youthful exuberance taught me that some of the best music isn’t about hitting the right notes, but about finding the best emotional expression. In these times of tight self-discipline, hearing Masekela’s free sounding music brings warm memories of a past I took for granted.
Nick Triani is an editor and contributor to One Quart Magazine