Let’s stick together

Part of the ‘Life’s What You Make It’ series

I saw a quote from Ricky Ross, singer of Deacon Blue, “Cities are places where stories happen”. For me this is so true. As I’ve got older, I’ve really developed a love for exploring cities, along with trying to capture images that tell a story.

And, of course, I do love a good story. So, welcome to another View From The Ground. A weaving path of words, to a destination that has something to do with the title and a lot to do with how I see things in the world.

For the title, I was going for ‘in music we trust’. My thinking was around some the constant love of music. I still want to reflect on music. Wow, it’s got an important job over the next few weeks. But my instincts suggested a title which relates to where my head is, right here right now. Well, not literally as the title would be ‘pillow’.

Instincts go a long way and I think we could all do with trusting them. What’s the worse that could happen? At the moment, let’s not think about that.

I hope you are all well, wherever in the world you are. One thing is for certain, we are united for the first time in living memory. I just wish it was united for better reasons.

Coronavirus 19? 6 months ago, we hadn’t heard of it. Now, hundreds of thousands effected by it. Thousands killed by it. Beyond sad. Beyond worrying.

How did it happen? How is it spreading? How can it be stopped? Questions I can’t answer and this blog isn’t for me to spill forth with a tirade of conspiracy theories. I’ll leave that to others.

The media spews forth it’s vile opinions and fear laced nonsense. In the U.K., the Daily Depress expresses words of panic and sends the hordes into the supermarkets to clear shelves of everything. The Daily Wail spreads their version of fear faster than the virus itself. As for the rest? Only fit to replace the toilet roll that we are running out of.

And yet, in a time of such concern we all need a hero – and, they line up one by one to lead us forward with hope.

In the U.K., we know how magnificent the NHS is. But, bloody hell, if it’s not hard enough for them at what is always a difficult time of year. And there are staff shortages. And our government have constantly failed to provide adequate funding. But, they are absolute heroes. Take a bow everyone NHS worker. Every doctor, nurse, specialist, auxiliary worker, ambulance driver, driver in general, paramedic, kitchen worker, cleaner, administration etc etc. Whilst idiots have crowded the pubs, these heroes have worked tirelessly to fight on our behalf.

The sadness thing I’ve seen recently was a video of an NHS worker in tears. She had worked 48 hours. Needed to buy food etc and the shelves had been cleared by the hoarding, marauding morons. Do they really need to do it? I hope they enjoy their chick pea, bread and rhubarb casserole. That’s all I can imagine they can do with the stuff that’s gone.

There are so many other heroes. I take my hat off to the delivery drivers who must think they might as well park their trucks at the supermarket entrances so the idiots can just take it all home.

Supermarket workers? Heroes! They put up with the abuse of the idiots who can’t take home their 50th pack of toilet roll, and their 20th pack of chicken. Abused when they get paid not a lot more that a minimum wage. I hope they have managed to grab some food before the maniacs lurch forward. One I spoke to hadn’t. I’d found a solitary pack of pasta and she was amazed.

A request to the marauding morons. Look at what you’ve got. Then, look at it again and acknowledge you are an idiot. Say after me, ‘I’m an idiot’. Then, collect, let’s say 20% of it. Bag it, find you’re nearest food bank and donate your booty. There are pure evil people breaking into food banks and stealing much needed food and other things intended for the poor souls who can’t afford to buy them.

I know we are all in a state of panic. I know we want to provide for our loved ones. But, come on, get real. Even when we go into lockdown we will be able to shop. Surely?

The list of heroes is endless and will grow. As the title suggests, now is the time we need to stick together. We are moving towards things like working from home. So, rather than been together in offices we’ll be working in isolation. Employers need to take steps to safeguard their people.

I’m lucky to work at a company that really – genuinely – cares. Colleagues are placed at the forefront. Clients are priorities. It all comes together to provide the best possible platform. Our own CEO makes himself available every night for any colleague to call him on a personal number. He did this in the USA post 9 / 11. Unbelievable compassion and care for him people. A big shout-out to Marsh Commercial. I’m truly proud of the company and the people.

Let’s make sure, though, that we take care of ourselves when at home. Don’t become a prisoner in our own homes. Remember, it is your home which is a temporary office. Remember, to get fresh air, hydrate, eat the right stuff (assuming you’ve managed to get some), take a break and so on. Talk to people every day.

Let’s be aware of our family and neighbours. Is there anyone who needs help? Be aware of our health. If in doubt, check the symptoms online.

Overall, take care. And keep positive. I must admit, I struggle with the latter at times but I know I’m lucky to have #TeamDurky to check in with.

And, when you need a lift, there’s always music. As I’ve written about before, music is one of my great loves. I’m going to pull though some recommendations in the next few blogs just in case ideas are needed.

I start the process, I want to flag up a couple of massively underrated bands who have released new music this year.

Victories At Sea. A band from the Midlands who we first saw supporting the Slow Readers Club at King Tuts in Glasgow. What a band. 3 musicians making a sound that filled the room. I guess, since the, I’ve become a bit of a fan to say the least. We’ve also seen them support Boxer Rebellion at my favourite venue in the U.K. – Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.

It’s one of those cases when you find music which just pulls you in.

So, when the released their new album – Everybody’s Lost and All I Want Is To Leave – I listened with hope. That hope, turned to awe. And that awe has turned to constant plays of this album.

I honestly think these guesses should be being showcased on mainstream radio and being taken out on tour by a major band so that they achieve the exposure they deserve. Someone has to pick them up.

Until then, as you’ll be at home for a while – get downloading; look them up; order online; buy the tee shirt.

By second recommendation are named above – Slow Readers Club. I first discovered them 3 years ago and they’d already been round a bit but, with the first song heard to the last. Bang – brilliance on a CD, or vinyl, or download. We’ve seen them rise from playing to 100 to a sold out 3,500 in Manchester.

They’re latest epic, The Joy Of The Return, is a joyful return (see what I did there? Yep, I know. Very poor).

Now, this one took a couple of plays to get but once I did get it, it’s brilliant. A combination of 80s vibe, a modern twist, decent lyrics, and a real step up in overall musicianship. It’s great to see a band really develop and show they should be performing on the big stages all of the time.

A bunch of blokes who are really connected to their fan base and that forms a strong union. Again, should be on mainstream radio on a regular basis. Get downloading and buying. Once you hear them you’ll understand why those who have followed them for a while believe enough to lose control.

Music is the best therapy. And, right now. I think that kind of therapy would help us all.

We really do need to stick together and make life the best we can. Let’s be grateful. We have life! Let’s drop the greed. Let’s help others. Let’s make our cities a place where we can tell stories in years to come about the way we united in the face of adversity. I certainly want to make Leeds United (😇).

Take care. Stay safe.

Jon

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