Midweek, And A New Video

As I shared in a previous post, I’ve found the last five weeks difficult to handle. I would almost prefer the strict regulations of Lockdown to the chaos that has since ensued.

I’ve kept busy at all times, however, and am pleased to share my latest video recorded from my flat tonight using a Zoom handy recorder.

The piece is Brahms Hungarian Dance no 6, played on a digital piano.

Happy listening!

The New Normal, And Do We Even Want It?

In less than twelve hours, pubs in England will be able to serve drinks, albeit under strict conditions. Likewise, many small businesses will reopen and life will return to normal after several months of Lockdown.

People will still adhere to some level of Social Distancing and we, the public, will take tentative steps in rebuilding the ruined economy. A new normal will begin.

So why do I have grave reservations, to the point where I would almost welcome the inconveniences of Lockdown?

I think Lockdown resulted in a degree of unity, at least in the initial stages. The whole country (most of the world in fact) shared a common and unseen enemy, one that reminded humans how helpless we are (or could become in the future).

Lockdown encouraged people to check on their more vulnerable neighbours and ignited a degree of interest in religion beyond walls (ie. prayer and contemplation outside of ritual or dogma).

Obviously, we must resume normality and rebuild the economy. However, I wonder whether in fact the easing of Lockdown has prompted less concern about the vulnerable or disadvantaged in society and allowed greater levels of selfishness. Take the scenes in Bournemouth, for example, where crowds showed a total disrespect for the locals and behaved in ways that could help spread the virus. Similar scenes occurred in other parts of the country.

I suppose there are no straightforward answers. But if people wish to avoid a resurgence of the coronavirus, they will have to wake up to the dangers and stop behaving irresponsibly and selfishly.

Just a few of my thoughts.

Through Testing Times

I haven’t posted for a while on this blog.

I went through difficult times during the easing of lockdown and found the adjustments far more challenging than the lockdown itself.

I still don’t know whether I will return to my regular position as a dance pianist in September and many aspects of life remain ambiguous.

I continue to study foreign languages most days; the studies acted as an anchor during the testing times.

Over the coming days, I will receive a zoom handy recorder – a more sophisticated piece of recording equipment than the one I currently have, so I’m hoping to record a follow up to the online piano recital I did during May.

That’s it for now.

Back soon.

Busy Wading Through Tech Stuff

Lockdown measures have eased.

At the same time, uncertainties mount, along with the pressures of not knowing what to do next. At this point, I still have no work.

I’m working on promoting the piano recital I recorded from my flat during May 2020. It’s a difficult and frustrating task. In choosing to release the recital once the measures were easing, I misjudged the public mood. I’ve encountered less interest, as people want picnics in the sun rather than more online events. People are tired of Virtual meetings.

Still, I persist.

The following contains a shortened video of a selection of piano pieces I recorded, along with brief verbal introductions on my part.

Happy listening.

Unemployed, Self-Employed?

I was one of the many self-employed people that lost all their work at the start the Covid-19 crisis and Lockdown.

Nevertheless, I stayed busy, maintaining a strict distant-learning curriculum in foreign languages. I actually enjoy studying Russian grammar before breakfast, surprising as that may seem. Next comes German, and then, French.

During Lockdown, I recorded a selection of piano works under strict recital conditions from my flat with the aid of an Android and a microphone.

I attach the complete online recital link here:

Happy listening!

The Lockdown Confusion

After a couple of months of adjustment to Lockdown, I’m finding the partial lessening of rules harder to come to terms with.

I would almost prefer a strict lockdown or a comprehensive setup that lets people resume normal activities without constraint. The current situation is neither/nor. People make up their own rules as they see best under the circumstances, but unfortunately this ambiguity could invite (or contribute to) a fresh resurgence of the coronavirus, in my opinion anyway.

I also feel that technologies that enable people to retain a level of face to face contact, such as Zoom or Skype, have lost a degree of popularity somewhat more recently, despite them having much to offer. As friends have told me, they find Zoom tiring after a while.

I enjoyed meeting a friend at a distance in the local woods, but I would admit that many appear to have lost the sense of urgency over the virus. A walk is fine (so is a carefully planned picnic or a spot of sunbathing in green space), but people seem to have forgotten the need for clear distancing and respect for others. It’s really annoying.

Meanwhile, I somehow managed to injure my right knee when I visited the woods the other day, so am dealing with a second physical problem within a week.

I leave you with a video of a performance-based recording I did from my flat in north London during Lockdown. The piece in question is the Fifth Hungarian Dance by Brahms. Pianist Lawrence Estrey.

My First Couple Of Social Distancing Events

A week has passed, and during that time I’ve enjoyed several social occasions at a distance.

Certainly, I valued seeing those friends and took considerable care in maintaining the required distance.

So what do I think, given the varying opinions on Lockdown and on how to ease it (if to ease it at all)?

I place great emphasis on social interactions (including those that take place online or via telephone), but ultimately I’m concerned about shifting attitudes that have become noticeable in the last three or so weeks: we’re bored, we want to get back to normal, most people who get the virus suffer little more than flu-like symptoms, etc.

In fact, during the first socially distanced event last Friday, I encountered a group of about ten people close together in the local woods, all of whom seemed oblivious to government advice. I had to take a different path to avoid direct contact. I felt angry over what came across as sheer arrogance, but I kept quiet.

Lack of respect.

Let’s have picnics and spend quality time together in the sun, but we must not forget the thousands of agonising and lonely deaths that have occured as a result of Coronavirus. And we shouldn’t assume that the virus has gone away and won’t return.

No one really knows what will happen next.

I continue a busy schedule from home, practising the piano, learning languages, and writing for creative purposes.

The video below comes from my online Lockdown recital.

The Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin.

Till next time.

Videos of Hungarian Piano Music Recorded During Lockdown

Nine weeks have passed since my last major social gathering – my birthday, exactly a week before Lockdown. Since then, I’ve discovered a new world of Zoom, Skype, and other apps that enable video calling.

Although I lost my job as a freelance musician (at least, for the time being), I’ve remained busy writing various poems and a short story, studying languages, and putting together an online piano recital recorded from my flat in London. Plus, plenty of exercise too.

Please find recital videos of the following attached:

Vittorio Monti – Czardas

Brahms – Hungarian Dance no 1

Lawrence Estrey (piano)

Happy listening, and stay safe!