On a windy day, after a family walk up and a rounders game by the old quarries and Fulwell Mill,
with one week to go until the UK opens up a little on July 4 th , thought it was time for a hello from me.
So the USA mid-west / Chicago tour in April went, along with the last bit of my expensive and hard-
to-get USA work visa. Then Topic Folk Club Bradford / Fishguard Folk Festival / The Harrison gig,
London / Much Wenlock Spoken Word festival / Broadstairs Folk Week / Whitby Folk Week / and
other gigs were all cancelled. The lull of work hasn’t left me industriously writing songs or gigging
online; instead I was ill during March/April (finally better now), whilst simultaneously also trying to
homeschool Caden (7 years old), make sure my two teenagers were ok, and go food shopping for
two additional households. As well as being a gigging and recording musician, I also work part-time
for the NHS and was thankful to have this work to hold onto, although it was the same work that
disqualified me from any self-employed financial support. I am still in a better position than many
though, and am thankful to have my employed job.
Prior to March 2020, while you would have seen that I had sometimes two, sometimes four gigs a
month scheduled, what you wouldn’t have seen is the sheer backbreaking volume of work that went into getting those gigs. The emails, the phone calls, the chasing, the posting CDs out to organisers when requested, the sending of posters, the plugging away on social media, the giving up of family time and sleeping time to try and get a small business off the ground, the working working working. The employing of a friend to help me make sure we tried everything, so later I would know I tried as hard as I could to make a success of being a solo artist. The financial sacrifices that has involved, and taking on more teaching and more work to break even. In the face of all this, to see everything cancelled has taken me mentally off my musical feet, so to speak. So, I’m not going anywhere, I’m still here, but I’m not sure where I go from here. I will be gigging in
2021 and beyond, I aim to pop up here and there, both solo, with JP, and in my new Jones & Jones
collaboration with Gareth Davies-Jones (we played our third gig just as the music world was going
into shutdown, on Friday March 13 th 2020 in Killingworth). Hopefully home-schooling under
impatient teacher Bill Jones will end with a return to school for Caden in September. I’ll be NHS
working full-time from September, I can’t put my family in this position again. Who knows, maybe
at some point I’ll even record a new album.
On the positive side. I think I’ve spent better time with my parents in my garden than I ever had in
their flat or my house for years. My gooseberry bush has grown gooseberries for the first time in
years, it seems it needed daily tlc and watering, which it has finally had from Caden and me. I’m
finding my white/dark hair interesting, having pre-empted lockdown by stopping using hair dye in
November 2019. And an evening without the small kid and big teenagers finally beckons in July . . . .
things are looking up!
Best wishes to you all, I’ll update again soon.