Well. This isn't how I'd envisioned 2020 going!
These truly are UNPRECEDENTED times. Yep, I'm as sick of that word as everyone else. The first time the world has had to stand still for over a century. For the vast majority of us, life has changed immeasurably and I look forward to a day when we can bring forward all that was good about the time BC (Before Covid), leave behind the messy bits and and work towards a kinder, sweeter world.
I can but dream...
I can't tell how fortunate I feel - I'm healthy, as are my friends and family; I have a roof over my head and food (and wine!) in abundance; while I've had to tighten the purse strings substantially I have the essentials covered; and I've had a bucketload of support, both personally and professionally. People postponing rather than cancelling gigs; marketing mentoring and website auditing; liking, sharing, tipping and commenting on my live stream videos and tutorials....
Working on what I can has really helped keep me sane during lockdown, and my videos have helped me stay in touch with all of you lovely people. I've challenged myself to learn new music every week and so far have done sets based around the 80s, the 60s, divas, musical theatre, and this week I'm heading to the dreamboats and petticoats of the 1950s!
But my favourite gig so far was last Friday. VE Day.
VE Day is one of the biggest days of the year for any vintage vocalist, and this year was going to be even more special, it being the 75th Anniversary of the end of the year in Europe. As I wasn't able to sing and dance with everyone in person, I decided another live stream was the way to do it. The sun was out and street parties are the traditional way to celebrate, so I pitched up outside my house and sang for the neighbours!
First problem - where on Earth was my bunting??? I've moved five times in three years (long story) so it really could be anywhere - wherever it was, I no longer had it. Keeping with the make do and mend mentality of the War, I cut up strips of an old blouse and tshirt - they weren't long for this world anyway - and tied them to some Christmas ribbon... Voila! Strip bunting! Not to be confused with strip poker...! My dress, loaned from Frocks in Swing Time completed the red, white and blue.
The neighbours started bringing out their chairs, tea and prosecco and listened all afternoon (while maintaining social distancing, of course!).
I was reading Dame Vera Lynn's autobiography in the lead up to VE Day - it's really lovely, highly recommended! - and in it she talks about how much she loves the unabashed sentimentality of the music from that time. I don't think I appreciated it until now. Singing We'll Meet Again and thinking of all the people I cherish who I haven't seen or hugged in months... It puts a lump in my throat just thinking about it now... Call me a silly fool, but the words and music mean so much more at the moment.
One of my neighbours told me afterwards that there hadn't been a street party since the silver jubilee in 1977, and just like that we were talking about organising a big get-together for the whole neighbourhood to celebrate when this is over. Moving forward to a kinder, sweeter world...
I have hope.
Marketing help: Alison Jobson, Straight Marketing
Website Audit: Simon Fincham, It'seeze Websites
Photos: Will Reddaway, WR Photography
Dress: Frocks in Swing Time