Hello there - I hope this post finds you safe and well.
Mrs Specs and I are both working from home at the moment and so far, thankfully, we are symptom-free. As a result, we're being socially distant, if you will, without having to self-isolate completely. It seems very odd to partly withdraw from normal life, with the world outside seemingly caught at the mid-point between eerie calm and random chaos.
Among all this, writing an arts blog is a tiny thing, an atom making up a fraction of a drop in the ocean. But tiny things add up. It's certainly been good for my mental wellbeing to see so many venues and institutions, not to mention individual artists and musicians, take their talents and facilities online: where we had concerts, performances and masterclasses, there are now broadcasts, YouTube videos and online coaching. It's worth noting that many performers are doing this in the face of sudden financial hardship from sudden cancellations - more of which below.
The music irrepressibly plays on, and accordingly, the appreciation and discussion continues alongside it. If I was ever foolish enough to take my favourite singers and players for granted in the past, I feel it's unlikely I will do so again.
The 'Specs' blog is, of course, based heavily on my going out to see and hear concerts, operas and exhibitions - and then enthusing about them in your direction. The 'going out' part of that is, of course, on hold for now.
But I am going to keep writing. I don't yet know quite how this will take shape: I'll no doubt post about recordings I want to recommend, or finally tackle some features I've wanted to write. I'll put up some playlists that might pass some time or even gladden your heart if you are - or feel - isolated. I'm also planning to do some more writing for the Cross Eyed Pianist, my online 'home from home'.
I hope you will still keep me company through the weeks ahead. Please take care.
While I'm here, please could I ask you to visit my spin-off blog, 'Support Action', based on an idea from my last Specs post. The ongoing aim is to create an easy-to-browse, manageable site where people can check out recommended recordings by musicians hit by this spring/summer's cancellations - then follow a link to purchase their music from somewhere close to the source (rather than streaming on Spotify or simply defaulting to Amazon).
I hope you might enjoy zipping around the entries, possibly feel moved to buy someone's disc ... and if you're an artist yourself, or an agent, or fan, and would like to let me know about a title to add, please do: I'd love to hear from you.
You can find me on Twitter as @Adrian_Specs - many thanks!