Week nine for Nick Triani's Life during quarantine playlist at OQM. Some thoughts on lockdown blues whilst remembering The Beat's debut album.
This week of lockdown in Helsinki feels less so – official or not – a new lease of social interaction along with the warm weather has arrived. My youngest child has been to school, I visited my work place [once], my partner went to a garden centre. Remnants of the old normal. How long will it last? Fingers crossed a significant amount of time. The reopening of borders in Finland will quickly show how realistic this easing is. The young Finnish government can feel some justification to their handling of the pandemic so far.
Other countries meanwhile continue to struggle with Covid-19 . My old home of the UK still suffers from a high daily death rate, a seemingly part-time PM way out of their depth, now backing his senior advisor’s obvious breaking of lockdown rules. The country fumes. As the UK prepares for an easing of restrictions which aren’t really justified, a second wave of the pandemic could be imminent.
Those purporting to support Boris Johnson were warned. Admittedly that was most of the eligible electorate last time round. His Brexit dream feels like an indulgence at this time, but hovers behind the scenes, waiting to add to the sense of insecurity and misinformation. The much heard mantra“It’s one rule for them and another for us” should be a worry to the majority living in the UK.
In the USA Donald Trump overseas a country in turmoil, as the black community rightly rise against another brutal and public murder committed by the police. Where are the safe places for POC in the US? And why should minorities be preoccupied with having to feel safe in the first place? Basic rights are still not established after centuries. Now the country is in curfew as well as lockdown.
Meanwhile, Trump is distracted, taking on an increasingly nervous social media, whilst lambasting China and pulling America’s participation out of the WHO. What a time. Trump simply can’t reflect with any dignity or empathise with a nation that has suffered over 100,000 pandemic deaths. America must remove this fool so healing can begin.
I Just Can’t Stop It the debut album from The Beat turned 40 years old this week. Yes, more anniversary music. It was a big album for me as I was so engrossed in the Two Tone movement of the time. The Beat’s debut eschewed most of the obvious influences of that scene and instead opted for an interesting cocktail of pop and post punk guitars with a hint of ska’s verbalising skat. I paid for this album myself, from my weekend job – something that was beginning to happen more regularly. At the time the school playground was split between skins and mods, with a few of us neutral. The Beat with their more pop focussed sound crossed over. Fine Young Cannibals were not so far away from this.
Meanwhile my friend Billy posted some great old music online this week, The Bluebells and Colorfield (thanks for the reminders Billy). Elsewhere, some sweet AOR pop from The Carpenters, some indie gems, northern soul, a few new releases with a forgotten hit from Carole Bayer Sager rub shoulders with Crayola Lectern‘s timeless ‘Slow Down’. This weeks playlist is all over the place (as is my mind in these times). I would have added Kevin Rowland‘s ‘Rag Doll’ reissue, but it’s not available, so you can watch the new video instead.
Nick Triani is an editor and contributor to One Quart Magazine