Saturday 3 October 2020

24 Hour Blogathon - Some Thoughts on Missing Live Music And Mental Health

This post is part of a 24 hour blogathon (conducted after a 10 mile run) in support of Solent Mind, a mental health support charity. I would be really grateful if you would help by sponsoring me and help raise some funds for the charity. 

You can find my sponsorship page by clicking this link 

“I bet you really must miss gigs and festivals?”

It’s not a surprising question considering how many hours I spent travelling to, attending, documenting and talking about live music in pre-Covid times. 

So, it probably surprises quite a number of people when I answer with a shrug: “Not as much as you think I do.”

I feel pretty bad about this answer. It makes it seem like my passion for live music is false. I begin to feel guilty; surely I should miss live music more than I actually have done? 

Now please don’t get me wrong. I love live music. I absolutely adore it. And I’m really concerned about the effect this bloody virus is having on venues, staff, musicians and the like – especially those whose livelihoods depend on it to keep a roof over their head or feed their families. And I really hope that in 2021 it will return bowling head over heels into our ears and lives again.

But deep inside I’ve been shocked and surprised how little I’ve pined for the rush of adrenalin, the goosebumps, the joy, the discovery, the feeling of togetherness that live music at its best brings.

So why is this?

I’m sure some psychologist could offer me some sort of theory and explanation; but here’s mine; it’s much harder to miss something if you have plenty of other things to keep you occupied.

Throughout this global pandemic I’ve been incredibly fortunate to keep busy. My job (in local government) has probably never been busier. Then outside of work all that time spent journeying between mosh-pits, half empty halls watching support bands, standing in beer soaked clubs and fields full of dancing revellers has quickly been adapted to new passions; namely long distance running and cooking (don’t worry I’m not going to be posting any You Tube cooking videos on this blog). 

On the Dials Festival website there is a blog where a small number of artists and Dials Team members have shared their stories about their own mental health. I’ve never volunteered to write anything on that blog because it would feel a little bit false; my mental health has generally always been pretty good – a couple of minor blips along the journey perhaps but nothing too serious.

But I wanted in this slightly awkward roundabout way to write something today about mental health. And this is all I could really offer – an explanation of why my own headspace feels relatively healthy and hence why I’ve coped well with missing music. This is of course just my experience and I fully understand that for others its different.

I feel that my brain is wired to get on and do things rather than be overwhelmed with anything but fairly low levels of stress or anxiety. But it’s that doing things that helps. More importantly the types of things I do help. Music distracts from the pressures of the world. But so does running. 

There’s a brilliant piece (click here) on how running gives you a feeling of hitting reset and being able to better handle the rest of the day – and the reasons behind it. Yes, this is a music blog, but if you struggle with mental health I would 100% recommend giving running a go. During these weird times of the global pandemic running has been a godsend for me.

These are my experiences. I know it’s hardly the most comprehensive blog post on mental health but on what would have been ‘Dials Day’ – a day where a bunch of volunteers including me put on a music festival and help support a mental health charity I wanted to share something. I really do recommend the post on running I linked to though.

This pandemic won’t last forever and I am excited for the day that I can get back to gigs, but until then my running will give me that “yes” moment that keeps me going. 

1 comment:

Neil Morrell said...

I was ok until I went to the Wild Paths thing. Hadn’t realised how much I had missed it, felt really strange driving home , so much so that I had to pull over. Found it so much more emotional than I was expecting