At Least We’ll Always Have Guitars

OK. So things are looking pretty bleak at the moment. I have been joking to colleagues that I little realised my 30 year career with Fife Cooncil was the tiny thread holding the fabric of the universe together, but I do appreciate that it’s not all about me.

People have been incredibly, indelibly, kind in their words and actions towards me as I approach my last two working days at Fife House (Tuesday and Wednesday of this week). However insignificant really my leaving a job is in the vast, towering global shit storm hammering at the gates of civilisation, I can’t help feeling a little weird about padding about a nearly-empty office, shutting down the steady-blinking lights of my current employment as the world prepares to hunker down in the face of the pandemic.

On Friday I took time out to walk over to the near-empty shopping mall next to my office to order a t-shirt printed with one of my wife’s photos of my guitars. Going to collect it later in the afternoon, I had one of those conversations that has been replicated countless times recently across the developed world: ‘How long do you think you’ll stay open?’ ‘No idea, we’re waiting for word, and getting ready.’ Yeah, same with us.’ It was a strange feeling, talking to this woman who’s printed images on mugs and t-shirts for me for years, not knowing what was going to happen next – and knowing nobody did.

That night in the UK, restaurants and bars closed until further notice, as another part of our daily life went dark.

The guitar pictures? They started as a project Alison and I could work on together, inspired by a couple of images in a clothes catalogue that comes through the door once in a while. We prefer to make our own version of that sort of thing. They might end up as album covers, or t-shirts, or neither. Either way, they feel like a tiny act of creative up-yours-ness against the tsunami of hopelessness engulfing us all.

We’re amongst the lucky ones: I already have work lined up after Wednesday I can do from home; as long as the supply chain holds up, there will be food and wine in the shops (and perchance even toilet paper); I have four working guitars in the house, not to mention harmonicas, a kantele, the three-string blues box, a keyboard, and functional recording equipment. Oh, and a mandolin I haven’t learned to play yet.

You’ll be hearing from me. Although I won’t be writing corona virus songs. Bono’s beaten me to it anyway.




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