How NOT to write about music in the time of Coronavirus – 2. Jim Bob

2020WTF jimbob

One year, two videos.


I wrote 2020 WTF! at the end of 2019. Back then I made an educated guess that the things that seemed so awful and negative – terrorism, war, knife and gun crime, school shootings, toxic masculinity, polarised opinion on social media etc – wouldn’t miraculously disappear with the final bongs, fireworks and boogie-woogie piano notes of the New Year.

So I took a punt and included the song on what will be my new album (out later this year). I’d always planned on releasing 2020 WTF! as a single around about now. Little did I know how lacking of a third verse it might end up sounding. How elephanty in the room it is. But the sentiment in the song remains the same. Uplifting and moving songs at difficult times are great. ‘Imagine’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ do their trick just fine. But sometimes what you need is 26 seconds of punk rock discombobulation and despair to scream at the wall.

Take care.
Jim Bob x


I wrote We’re All Going To Die in the mid of 2015, shortly before we moved back to England. Back then I made an educated guess that despite the celebration of life that goes on continually around us – Eamonn Holmes, Piers Morgan, Donald Trump, #boristhebutcher, Michael Gove, that far right twat who hides his posh double-barrelled name behind a prison sentence – sooner or later it would come to a close, perhaps not at the end of the year though.

So I took a chance and uploaded the song to YouTube, where it lay there festering for several years despite the inclement truth of it. I’d never planned on releasing it as a single, and still don’t. Little did I know how in its erudite composition and subtle key shifts, people might end up claiming it as prescient, timely, set to break the Internet one day (hopefully, before we all die). But the sentiment in the song remains the same. Maudlin and well-meaning songs during these times are crap, ‘Imagine’ triply so. But sometimes what you need is one idea, repeated 30 times – some claim 31 – of upbeat remonstrance to scream at the world.

Bit late to take care now, don’t you think?
Everett True x

With apologies to Jim Bob, whose 26-second thrash I enjoyed very much

How NOT to write about music in the time of Coronavirus – 1. Al Green

Al Green How Can You Mend

The last time I wrote on this blog was 12 March, over a month ago.

I have not given up listening.
I have not given up caring.

When the children are around (Daniel was here for three weeks straight, starting in March) then I shy away from playing music, same reason I have always done – too much competition. As Pete Shelley once sang, “Little girls/Little boys/Have you ever heard your mommy shout/Noise annoys”. There is one main room in this house, and at all times I need to hear the conversation that is going down in case it breaks out. Sometimes I might play a little low level Electric Light Orchestra or Sonic Youth, to give up in despairing frustration 10 or 15 minutes later. Easier to give in to the far more uplifting, cheering sound of children’s voices. No music in the world can match that.

When the children are not around, then I usually wallow in the silence. Let it feed over me, calm this sullen soul. This perennial lockdown is nothing new to me: if I but had a partner (a relationship) I think I could well be as happy as I have ever been. As it is, I have intense periods of work followed by intense periods of isolation followed by intense periods of work. And so on. The loneliness sucks but I draw comfort from the fact I cannot be the only person who knows this now (not like before). I do not watch television (generally) or play music (generally). I do not care. I enjoy the wallow… enjoy is not the correct words. I accept the silence. I live in the spaces, the gaps in between.

I have not given up listening.
I have not given up caring.

It does strike me however that nearly all the people I can see playing out their new roles and ways of being on social media seem more passionately involved with music (or tv or football or quizzes) than me. Sometimes I wonder if I should be bothered, but my life has been stuck in this waiting room for several years now – dating back to Brisbane, easy – and it is so difficult to change habit. I am stuck staring at walls, not even staring. I am stuck lounging on the sofa, not even lounging. I mended the back gate yesterday. It took five minutes but that burst of activity should see me through the next six months.

I thought up the title of my next autobiography earlier: I Coulda Been Jim Reid. It would have been a short book, though: just one line.

But I didn’t want to be.

Stuff that I want to talk about, I have no one to talk about with. God, I wish I had that person to talk with.

Video conference me.

This feels like an Al Green kind of day. Kind of melancholy, kind of blue but also kind of OK with Al singing sweet sympathy into my ear, reassuring, cajoling. Everything feels more achievable when the sweet Reverend is in the room, everything feels like maybe it might just about turn out alright even through all the melancholy and heartbreak. What paralysis of the soul cannot be cured by a few well-placed “la la la’s” from the Reverend, and what distant tremor of loneliness cannot be assuaged by that sweet, sweet electric organ, and what isolation chamber cannot be broken by subtle repetition and reflection and the gentlest, whisper-it percussion?

I may not be able to mend a broken heart but I fixed the back gate yesterday.

Ten songs threatening to go viral in 2020: UPDATE

Björk Virus

Panic (buying) on the streets of London
Panic (buying) on the streets of Birmingham
I wonder to myself
Could life ever be sane again?

1 (-) The Smiths – Panic (buying)

2 (3) Joy Division – (Self) Isolation

3 (-) The Freshies – I’m In Love With The Girl On The Manchester ASDA Toilet Roll Check-out Desk

4 (1) The Knack – My Corona

5 (-) The Divinyls – I Touch Myself (Just Not My Face)

6 (-) Minutemen – Corona

7 (2) Los del Rio – Macorona

8 (-) The Damned – There Ain’t No Sanitizer Clause

9 (-) Björk – Virus

10 (6) Buggles – COVID-19 Killed The Radio Star

Ten songs threatening to go viral in 2020

Microscopic view of Coronavirus, a pathogen that attacks the respiratory tract. Analysis and test, experimentation. Sars

1. The Knack – My Corona

2. Los del Rio – Macorona

3. Joy Division – (Self) Isolation

4. Tiffany – I Think We’re Alone Now

5. Buggles – COVID-19 Killed The Radio Star

6. James Bay – Pink (Corona) Lemonade

7. Corona – The Rhythm Of The Night

8. Gilbert O’Sullivan – Coronagain (Naturally)

9. Love – Coronagain Or

10. The Legend! + Crayola Lectern – The End Of The World (Skeeter Davis cover)