“I Get by with A Little Help From My Friends!” Lockdown Edition
It goes without saying, we’re living in strange times, faced with many uncertainties. As we all are experiencing lockdown differently, I decided to create a project where I’d reach out to my friends and people I know from both university and the music industry and ask how they’re doing during these times. The project title is “I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends” As you’ll see and read in this article, as much as we’re in this together, we’re experiencing this period differently. To begin, however, I’d like to start by sharing my story, my experience as a student Raghad Jalal in lockdown.
Raghad Jalal- Student
“This lockdown has been in a way a blessing in disguise yet a challenge.
As a Film and Photography student with a deep passion and interest in working in the music industry things still look uncertain. However, what has kept me sane during all, is being at home with my family and spending time outside in the garden
enjoying the sunshine, while getting back in the kitchen again and practising new recipes while
mastering old ones. Though it isn’t all dandy. There were days where it was hard to get out of bed and find motivation in what I was doing. Whether it was writing about music, editing or just doing anything. However, I continued to brush off the negativity and bit by bit I slowly got back in the groove while allowing myself time and taking things slow. Other than that, I organized live streams on Country in The UK [Live From The Couch] online video sessions [Live in The Studio-ish] while continuing writing articles. In the meantime, at the end of April, I began volunteering with NGO Libya in The UK remotely. As a Libyan, volunteering alongside the organization enabled me to get more in touch with my culture and learn more about my own country and its traditions. Now, I create cooking tutorials with the organization by cooking some of our traditional meals to share on the organization website. Other things I’m currently doing is catching up on some readings. Currently, I’m re-reading Holly Gleason’s Woman Walk The Line. Which consists of amazing essays written by talented female musicians, writers and journalists talking about important female voices in the world of Country and Americana music. Other than that, I’ve been using my time to capture moments of my day to day life with a B/W camera I borrowed from my university right before lockdown. Aside from all this, my friends have been a huge part in keeping my sanity too. So, if you managed to get this far! I hope you’ll enjoy the following stories from my friends.”
My work: https://www.countryintheuk.com/. instagram @rtmumen1
Julian Baet- Employed
“I feel upset with the world, but not in a way where I constantly complain and actively get angry. Being upset has become a consistent state of mind, continually getting worse with news stories, stresses at work, and personal obstacles. Except when I'm playing Animal Crossing. The centre of my
quarantine tales, I've been playing this game during my free time every day since March. When I get to play city planner, catch bugs with friends, and meet others during trades, I forget any ounce of anger or disdain. The world inside my handheld switch is my quarantine sanctuary.” Julian’s work: https://julianbaet.wordpress.com/
Kaan Cakanisik- Recent Graduate
“Although it may take time for things to revert to a sense of “normality”, I hope and believe that this situation will lead to positive change in terms of resilience and adapting to more varied work patterns. Hopefully,
employers will make further efforts to prioritise employee wellbeing, and in turn, productivity to a greater extent than before. As a recent university graduate striving to form a prosperous career in film, any job, internship and travel prospects I had were made dormant for the last four months, and no one really knows what the future holds. It has been a time where I have been left to my own devices more than before. However, it has also compelled me, and hopefully, many more to realise the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the effort that they put in on the things day by day.”
Fahima (Fibi) Begum- Recent Graudate
“Quarantine has caused me as a student to move back home with my family. Even with furlough pay, I wasn't able to cover the payment of my rent. For a young queer woman more than my social freedom had been taken away. Forcing me back in the closet which is not somewhere I thought I'd
ever be again. Therefore, I spend a lot of my time in my room, with nowhere to go and no one to socialise with, it's best I keep to myself. Through quarantine, I stopped having a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. So my sleep schedule is off. There's no job to go to, no jobs to apply for. Instead, I binge watch TV series, maybe work out a little, eat food and learn how to play an instrument. Lockdown just feels like a waiting game for when things will get better. In the meantime just do what you can to keep yourself sane in the world of 2020.”
Jim Lauderdale- Musician
“Usually, I’m on the road a lot and working on a new record and so without doing that, this downtime has made me realise how exhausted I have been for many years. Since off the road I’m able to be more diligent with my daily physical exercise. The main part of this is my Tai Chi, and Chi Kung
practise while doing some walking and yoga, it has allowed me to get in a better place and helped me get through this period.
Like everybody else, I don’t know what the future will be like for playing live. I have gone into a semi-musical hibernation period and I’m enjoying and rediscovering music from my past and hearing new music from other artists which have been inspiring. Over the last few weeks, songs melodies are coming to me again and I am writing in a different way without the self-imposed pressure that I usually put on myself. As introspective as things can be it is also making me realise the importance of getting outside of yourself. I just hope that we as an international human race we’ll get through this and that through this difficult period we will somehow work together to make this world better. That is a small ray of hope that I hold on to.”
Jim Lauderdale’s work: https://www.jimlauderdalemusic.com/
Baylen Leonard- Radio Presenter
“Like everyone I’ve found this whole period to be a bit of a rollercoaster but I’ve kinda settled into it now. I love being able to do my radio shows from home and I think in some ways it’s helped me form a better connection with listeners since most everyone was working from home initially. Regardless of whether I’ve had a good day or bad day, it’s always made better when my cat Charlene has a nap on my chest. It’s my ultimate mood booster.”
Baylen Leonard’s Radio show: https://planetradio.co.uk/country-hits/
Sara Douga- Musician
“This pandemic was shocking at first. I dove head first into a state of "blahh" which actually was a really nice break. I hung inside with my family and essentially did... nothing. However, once we began to realize this was going to be sticking around for more than a couple of weeks, my husband and I quickly rearranged our life, our home, and our schedules to be able to function from home. Since then, I have been uber-productive. Of course, I miss playing music, seeing fans, and being out in crowds, but there has been a huge gift that came with this pandemic; namely, FOCUS. I am grateful. Also, as a mother of two young children, I have loved being able to turn on and off so quickly. I can be totally a mom for a while and then in an instant be back in my little zen space and hard at work on my career. It's actually quite fabulous. I am ready for this to be over, however, I am grateful for what it has brought. Sending you all BIG LOVE. I
hope to see you soon.”
Sara Douga’s work: https://www.saradouga.com/ instagram @saradouga
Emily Hackett- Musician
“I have been reading more than ever. I love waking up and grabbing my book before I do anything. The natural light in my house is great for reading in the morning. Finally, at last I had the time to start a vegetable garden. I had always admired people who had them and brought us veggies. It’s been so rewarding to watch these living things give back to us. Yes, the bed has been a place where we have spent more hours than we used to! Getting a solid 8 or more hours sleep is life-changing. Plus, we have a California King size bed, so why wouldn’t we want to have a lie in?!”
Emily Hackett’s work:
Frank Keith- Musician & PR
“So, quarantine has been an...interesting time for all of us. As a self-employed music publicist, I was already working from home full-time, so there wasn't a massive shock to my day-to-day routine. There was - and continues to be, of course - a significant downturn in the amount of work that came my way. Artists can't tour,
so their budgets suddenly became razor-thin, or they decided to hold off on new releases with the world in such a state of uncertainty. No new releases no work for me. I haven't seen things drop to zero, and have managed to stay afloat with what business we have brought in, so I am 100% counting my blessings being able to continue to make a living through all of this. I realize there are many that aren't so lucky, and I often find myself struggling with a sort of "survivor's guilt" with that in mind.
I live with my girlfriend and our cat (Winnie!) and we have, so far, managed to stay sane and keep each other company through quarantine. We love our apartment, which is renovated in an old school building. We're on the top floor with east-facing windows that let enough natural light in on a sunny day to the point that we needn't turn on any light fixtures until the sun goes down. I swear, we must have evolved to photosynthesize those UV rays on a daily basis - waking up to the sunrise is a beautiful thing, and if we're ever feeling glum we'll spend some time staring out over the eastern Atlanta treeline for a little mental reboot. It's magic.
Another thing that has kept us sane is cooking every meal of the day. It's a form of therapy, especially after a long day of work. We were already ace home cooks, but we've used the spare time lost from eating out to sharpen our skills even further. Having said that, I can't wait to feed a
large group of friends again when this is all over, let alone simply go out to our favorite bars and restaurants.
Oh, and this goes without saying, but I can't wait to play a show again with my best friends / bandmates in GREAT PEACOCK.”
Frank Keith’s work:
Great Peakcock: https://www.greatpeacock.com/
Sweetheart PR http://sweetheartpr.com/?fbclid=IwAR1SnwLe7zJOrBLZGP9En53dmu6pjVJXmGTJOYizGuM -EVCxxUMaBossT14
If you made it this far, thanks for your time reading this article. Who knows what the future holds so far in time. But, one thing for certain is to continue being kind, optimistic even when everything around is pessimistic. We’ll get through this, we’ll survive and we’ll all sing and dance again.
Until Next time....