This week's Life during quarantine playlist finds Nick Triani looking back on past endeavours and a former life whilst re-connecting with distant friends.
Living in a Bubble
As this week saw the pandemic infection rates rise again across the world, I can only feel grateful that I live in Finland. That doesn’t mean a certain complacency has set in (or gloating), quite the contrary; over three months into this I’m accustomed and careful of avoiding other people and keeping my distance when outside. The Finnish authorities and public have acted responsibly with lockdown mesures till this point and I hope this sensibility continues.
The last week has shown how far from containing Covid-19 some other countries are. The pandemic is spreading from interaction within modest or large gatherings and young people are amongst the biggest spreaders now. This isn’t going away and the fact that governments are putting economies ahead of people’s safety exemplifies how little we’ve learnt. Whilst capitalism dictates over actual lives, don’t expect a safe new normal anytime soon. My new normal means finding things to do at home, so last week I bought a tape deck.
Re-evaluate and reconnect
As my homebound holiday begins, moving music from cassette to digital is high on my ‘to do’ -list. I have hundreds of unreleased tracks, demo albums and finished but unpublished albums of my own music, some dating back to the mid 1980s, all on cassette. Listening back to this stuff can be excruciating: did I really write that awful lyric? Relating to the songwriter from a long time ago can be difficult.
It takes me back to a former life of learning to play and sing, working on songcraft, 4-track tape machines, rehearsal rooms, recording studios, tour vans and buses, venues all over the world, tight friendships, hard work, disappointments and missed opportunities – the accumulation of many rich, wild and wonderful memories. This nostalgic listening has reminded me that sometimes I could write a good tune and I did teach myself things about sound.
Zoom to another world
As human interaction has moved online it feels like I’m living in a Bladerunner moment – it’s a virtual fictional world. As I reconnect on Zoom with friends I used to play music with and we reminisce on old times it strikes me how strange life has become: this new world affords me the opportunity to look back on a past life with old friends in distant countries. After almost 20 years in some cases, we’re all looking for signs of ageing across our faces through the prism of a computer screen. We’re looking for that difference since we last met. “She’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist, She don’t look back” Bob Dylan once sang, but nowadays Bob spends a lot of time doing just that. So do I – it’s the perfect thing to do these days; reflect on who we’ve been, who we are and where we’re going.
Nick Triani is an editor and contributor to One Quart Magazine