A new quarantine playlist arrives at OQM HQ as Nick Triani ponders dithering responses to COVID-19 and his remembrance of The Stranglers Dave Greenfield.
You put your left foot in, your right foot out, you do the Hokey Cokey and you shake it all about. I’m trying to frame the rationale from governments everywhere on easing the lockdown. It’s a gamble, it’s a risk. Or is it? Should we just get back to it? Dip your toe in the poisoned pond. Am I Ok to suggest that I’ve become a little comfortable with the lockdown that I like this new normal? Do I really wanna go back to actual human interaction? Can we be excused and get on with our individual routines? At this stage, from my superior, isolated vantage, I’ve unreasonably decided I hate most people. Only my immediate family mean anything, and I’m happy with my lot in this new situation. Can I say that? The last few weeks of quarantine have conditioned me to be less tolerant of other people’s imperfections.
As VE DAY comes and goes, I wonder how we’re unable to cope with a lot less than our former generations were able to. For a lot of people consumerism and personal pursuits of cultural thrills seem pretty untouched by the hand of COVID-19 in general terms, they just bring all you could want to your door or through your screen. How tough is it to have to stay clean and keep your distance? It’s not like people are voluntarily infecting strangers on the street. One could get accustomed to this level of isolation service, which has actually been there previously. Perhaps that’s what I’ve learned from this quarantine: the urgency to resume the capitalist system that privileged societies are slaves to, just ploughs on, regardless of the obvious dangers to each other.
It’s been a bad week for exceptionally talented keyboardists or exponents of the art and influence of the synthesizer. Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk passed and Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers left us too. Both were important in the general historical-pop- fabric, but Greenfield meant more to me personally. The Stranglers were ever present in my mid-teens and part of my fascination with punk and post-punk. The Raven album has remained a deliciously strange and weird left turn from a band that were chart staples at the time. They were one of the strangest mainstream bands ever, capable of crude brutality and breathtaking beauty. Greenfield was the difference, a multi-faceted musician who looked beyond the vagaries of fashion to instil his own sonic fingerprints on The Stranglers sometimes bludgeoning oeuvre. At the time of writing Little Richard passed away too – another loss during the time of Covid-19.
Nick Triani is an editor and contributor to One Quart Magazine.