Coming To Terms With The New Abnormal

By Hans Ebert

“Hey, what do you think: An online Members Only venue- a virtual club- and with ‘live’ performances via Zoom where the musicians- a mix of established and new artists- would be paid just as they would any ‘live’ gig”.

It was a friend who dropped by the apartment on Saturday night with a couple of other people in the creative field talking about an early blueprint for a new business plan of his.

He and his friends are well aware of the coronavirus and how it’s short-circuited many things. And though being realistic enough to admit that this pox on the world probably isn’t going anywhere until at least March of next year, it’s not letting this become a hurdle and a Pause button to stop creating.

If anything, all this talk of a pandemic and more useless updates from the Big Orange and his enablers are creating a new community distancing themselves from all the negativity that has too many too scared to do anything else other than swap sad stories with crying emojis. Where’s this getting us? The world has to carry on though perhaps not like shiny happy people.

Despite what anyone says, communicating online is never the same. There’s not that immediacy of ping ponging ideas and never knowing where things might land. There’s never knowing just how inspiring and perspiring and downright illuminating the end result could be. Brainstorming face to face doesn’t always work, but it usually results in food for thought.

These days there’s often the feeling of having hit creative famine. Perhaps it’s ageism creeping in, but the duelling banjos of “What if?” have been replaced with “Why bother?” or the deadly dull, “Well, we won’t be around to see any of that”. This then leads to a meandering journey through Melancholia Avenue and Echo Park. But, mummy, I don’t want to go there.

It’s the reason for constantly reaching out to people, both online and in the real world, hoping for some spark of inspiration and a light at the end of the tunnel that’s not another oncoming Facebook train.

Finding those who are not shy or don’t go into Mute mode when exchanging ideas are a rarity. It’s probably why there’s so much sharing and retweets and “likes” as opposed to something original and why it’s easier to say something can’t be done instead of exploring ways on how to make something new possible.

It’s no doubt also why there’s so much online angst. Is it about the subject being discussed or the frustration of knowing that one is not going anywhere? Or unable to create something other than what’s already here? Or knowing that one is doomed to be one of the- got it in one- sheeple?

This is what interested us about my friend’s idea. It didn’t stop with an outline. The others shared their thoughts and views. We helped the best we could to offer our thoughts. It wasn’t about turning a deaf ear to someone else’s idea because it didn’t come from any of us.

This was the coming together- and very organically- of our own little creative community and mapping out stops along the way that criss crossed with each other, but also came together to hopefully discover something new.

For example, the word “multimedia” has been used for so long that it’s pretty much lost all meaning. But what about the cross-pollination of ideas? These seem to be in short supply.

Knowing my involvement in horse racing, our “community” asked questions that were expected: Don’t the riders miss the cheers of being congratulated for their work?

“Their work”. I hadn’t thought about it that way.

Also asked was though it might be good that racing is continuing albeit largely behind closed doors and not open to everyone, is this only for those who understand the pastime and need to have a bet? And what percentage of viewers tune in to watch horse racing on television or via streaming purely to enjoy and appreciate the skill and athleticism involved?

That had me thinking twice about the wants and needs of different customer demographics.

We talked about music and how there’s really nothing new out there. But we all agreed that spending so much time online has reacquainted and even introduced us to brilliant old recordings that were suddenly new again.

We needed this education. We need to be reacquainted with the past to understand and create the possible future.

Someone mentioned dropping by a couple of venues to hear some ‘live’ music. We thought the better of it.

Being after midnight, JJ Cale would have packed up and checked out. Plus, some of us had just watched some vintage ‘live’ performances by Nina Simone and Billie Holiday and Mr Barry White and his Love Unlimited Orchestra, and the Chairman Of The Board.

There was Brian Eno’s reworking of “Ring Of Fire”. The new track by HAIM. That was about all the entertainment we needed.

These months of lockdown could work in many ways for different people. Sly Stone sang about that. These past few months have probably changed us and our lives forever.

The thinking about everything is no longer the same. We might stay in a relationship, but often it’s because old habits die hard. If that bond is still strong, it will survive. But that wanderlust is calling more and more. It’s an escape clause.

There are new connections and reconnections taking place. What didn’t work before suddenly seems exciting again.

As for work, well, is it work or “work” or creating the new abnormal? And if creating the new abnormal, there’s a need to connect with those who inspire you. Not those with the gypsy in their souls and no plans after tomorrow. Those we know. We’ve lived with some of them and it’s led nowhere.

It’s now about knowing exactly where you want to go and with whom and where you want to be.

No one’s getting younger. Even Peter Pan has aged. Alice never came outta the rabbit hole and the the town of Hamlyn is stuck with the Pied Piper.

We allowed all this to happen. We saw it coming, but we thought it could wait. And now, it’s a world in panic mode and with everyone an expert on everything.

The truth is that none of us know shit about anything. Not really. What we’ve collected are a selection of random second hand thoughts and which we use thinking they’re ours.

Realising this is a good thing. It forces us to look at ourselves, own up and then at least try to move onward and beyond.

#creativity #community #ideas #thenewabnormal #onlinecreativity #music #thewayforward #lookingahead #HAIM #ninasimone

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