What’s your go to Covid-19 music? – Here’s a little about mine…

I think if the world was in fact ending, nobody would actually say the ‘End is nigh’, I think there’d be better things to do. But ah…this song is about the people you might want around….and being from Dublin city there’s a lot of you here tonight…and..I know a lot of people are here….with those very people.

This is called the End is Nigh

– Paul Noonan, BellX1 – Live at Vicar Street


There are a number of differing thoughts swirling around in my tinpot head at the moment. My writing, often, seems to be an exploration of whether these idea dots are connected or just plain daft. Collectively and independently. The quote above comes at the beginning of a live version of the BellX1 song ‘The End is Nigh’, a performance that has a mere 22,162 views on Youtube – with at least 200 belonging to yours truly.

It’s a piece of music I’ve dipped in and out of over the last few years. Recently, it’s formed the background noise to many an evenings walk in lockdown. The recorded studio version has many more hits than this one but doesn’t have at all the same effect on me.

One factor, at the minute, is that the lyrics are particularly poignant for this period of humanity. Another is the sheer exertion of the lead singer and yes the sweaty meat of his performance. The damp, hot sweat too, of a bouncing crowd crammed like sardines into the can of a quarantine cupboard. The rivulets of perspiration leaking from brows giving it their all. I miss all of these things.

Will it be a fireball from the sky?
Or will we all take to the bed?
Laid low by a new pox
Or will the wrong guy get the codes?Whose arms would I seek?
Whose eyes would I meet in the final throes?
And say it was good to be human
To be a human with you here

The success of social distancing measures is that a mental instinct almost bubbles to the surface of the aforementioned tinpot head. Stand apart you fools! – Don’t you know that the end is in fact nigh!!

Quite a nonsense of a thought that I soon sledgehammer out of existence. But it goes to show how quickly and effectively the masses can be quasi – programmed. Proximity is not an evil.

The live version of this track has the intangible and magical symbiosis of band and crowd. A symbiosis that doesn’t come at a distance of six feet away. The song and performance are lifted exponentially by the melding of energies. I’m sure scientists will soon have a name for abhorrent wildness of this nature, but I don’t particularly want to know what the ingredients of magic are, that it still exists is enough. That it returns is a must.

Who would make the cut, when our time is up?
Everyone pointing at the sky
Screaming the end is nigh
I think you’d make the cut
When our time is up
And everyone pointing at the sky
Screaming, the end is nigh

Collectively, we’ve had a lot of time to reflect for the past few weeks. Maybe even too much. Isolation has forced a little more introspection perhaps – no harm in a little of that. But as the weather improves I think we are all itching for a little action. It’s etched on the faces of many of the men and women I see at the moment, power-hosing and painting their homes to within a inch of their lives. Creeping frustration in each brush-stroke of confinement.

Whatever is to come – we will eventually need to face it from a distance of less than two metres. And somebody need to get cracking on that. Whether in government or a lab. Immediately.

Some friends come in and out of view
Last time I looked we were dancing like dogs on fire
Now I’m laughing with your little girl
Laughing about my sunburn on that day

Oh it’s good to see you smile
I remember how you held me as I cried
And flailing like a landed fish
Trying to get back to before his day went awry

When the release arrives, and after the bucking bronco of emotions and craziness that will come with a herd of cattle being freed from a slatted house after the winter, many will attempt to pick up where they left off a month ago. They might be surprised when they try to do so. Whatever the world will look like, I doubt it will look exactly like what came before. No doubt there is good and the down right terrible in that.

Our leaders might be shocked when they encourage the confines of the old world upon some of us. Many of us won’t readily accept it again. Titans of industry don’t fully understand the implications of that yet I feel. The important and the unimportant has become crystal clear to many. We are in the calm that exists in the eye of the storm at the moment. The economic devastation won’t be held at bay for long. The swift, immediate crush of unemployment lays bare who has your back and who doesn’t.

Employer? State? Social media?

We might find, it’s down to ourselves and those relationships you have taken the time and effort to cultivate. Those who are closest to us in distance and in nature. I notice that the brainpower of Elon Musk and Tesla are a lot closer to going out of business today than your average beef or vegetable farmer. Maybe Elon might turn his attention to agriculture. Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold and a victory for the hungry too.

In March/April 2020, we’ve had a chance to observe how flimsy the mirage of a world we lived in is. In these terrible and humanity altering few weeks the curtain has been pulled back. Not one but many modern emperors have no real clothes.

The weeks ahead are as much about the race by elites to own the next mirage as they are about anything else. This terror of biology, when not scything us down in the hundreds of thousands has served one useful function. It has forced us to examine the world around us and our place in it. Lot’s of us had no desire to perform any examination of this sort. But it would be remiss of us to lightly forget the lesson.

Who would make the cut, when our time is up?
Everyone pointing at the sky
Screaming the end is nigh
It’s coming.

Like an explorer clearing ground
Swinging your blade, flashing in the sun
You cut right though my moping
Picked me up and then was on your way

In the future, as we look back, I doubt we’ll remember the boredom and the mundanity of it all. The confines of our back kitchens or bedrooms. Or even reminisce over the digital footage of our defiance in the face of this adversity.

No, I think the ordinary will remember the simple lessons. Who cared about us in that moment and who we cared for in return. And who didn’t. The more frank, may reprimand themselves for having too easily discarded people in pursuit of the next best new shiny thing. And promise to do better.

In our brief flirtation with the ‘ The End is Nigh’ I haven’t noticed people stampeding for Iphones or other gadgetry that enhances but also complicates our life, attention span and relationship with the world. Reality has retaliated for a piece of the virtual world. Thankfully, our human instinct is still a rush to help one another in the big and the small ways. The stampedes are to have an egg to boil. Food in the cupboard. Luxury reduced and focused on material to wipe our collective arses with. I find it very, very interesting in a good way.

I treasure the scars
We’ll always have, well I don’t remember where we were
Don’t think we’ve returned
These moments are fleeting as they are pure

But I think you’d make the cut, when our time is up

These day’s won’t last forever. These moments like all the others are fleeting and for those of us that make it through – We will indeed have scars to treasure.

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