I saw a meme last week posted on Reddit.com in r/WhitePeopleTwitter by u/MisterT12, that said: “As you binge watch your thirteenth entire series, or read a book, or sleep to music, remember. Remember that in the darkest days when everything stopped, you turned to the artists.”
That statement is so true, and it got me thinking, What are the artists themselves doing to keep entertained during their self-isolation? I’ve asked a few to share some suggestions and name: 1) an album worth listening to, 2) a film worth watching, 3) a tv show to binge watch, and 4) a book to read.
Here are their recommendations…
(James McGregor, Seán Connelly, Damian Greaney, Tom Freeman)
I’ll kick things off by introducing you to a new band, The Clockworks; a four piece from Galway, Ireland. The best way to describe them is punchy, post-punk, pop. They recently moved to London and signed to Alan McGee’s new record label Creation 23. Alan went to see them at a rehearsal, and concluded it was, “The best rehearsal I have seen since the 90’s with Oasis.” They have been impressing audiences in London and beyond with an array of gigs including shows in Liverpool where they opened for Kings of Leon. Three of the four have provided me with their list of what they’ve been listing to, watching or reading while in self-isolation.
Album to listen to:
1) You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere by The Districts
2) 925 by Sorry
3) Definitely Maybe by Oasis
Film worth watching:
1) The Irishman
3) Oceans 11
TV Show to binge watch:
2) Better Call Saul
3) The Staircase
Book to read:
1) Happy – Derren Brown
2) Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Wolf
3) At Swim-Two-Birds – Flann O’Brien
Video for The Clockworks “Stranded in Stansted”
Sorry are another new band you need to know about. They are a sultry, indie, four piece from North London. Their frontwoman Asha Lorenz and guitarist Louis O’Bryen met in middle school when Asha used to tease Louis (only mild bullying, mind you). They would compete to see who could release better songs on SoundCloud, but it wasn’t long before the two realized they were, in fact, better together. They linked up with their current bandmates, drummer Lincoln Barrett and bassist Campbell Baum through the London show circuit, and then, viola, Sorry was born. They recently signed to Domino Records (home of the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand), and recorded their debut ablum “925”, co-produced by James Dring (Gorillaz, Jamie T). Here is Asha’s list of how she’s been keeping herself entertained during the lockdown.
Album to listen to: Alex G – DSU
Film worth watching: Muriel’s Wedding
TV show to binge watch: Euphoria
Book to read: Hangover Square – Patrick Hamilton
Video for Sorry “Right Round The Clock”
Nick Heyward came to our attention in the early 80’s as the lead singer and songwriter of the poptastic group Haircut 100, landing him in the top 10 in the UK charts for his hits “Love Plus One”, “Fantastic Day”, and “Favorite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)” off their 1982 album Pelican West. He stayed dear to our hearts as we followed him throughout his solo career earning more chart recognition for “Blue Hat For A Blue Day”, and “Whistle Down The Wind” (featured in the 1984 John Hughes film “Sixteen Candles”), off his 1983 album North of a Miracle, and “Kite” from his 1993 album From Monday to Sunday. Throughout the 90’s and 2000’s Nick continued to release albums, all having their own unique personality and sound, some collaborations, and even a spoken word album. In 2017, Nick released his latest album Woodland Echoes, filled with beauty, nature, and love. Not only is Nick a genius songwriter, but he’s also one of the loveliest people on the planet – and I should know. He was my flat mate for about a year. I’ve asked him to chose one of his albums as a suggestion, and to write a little explanation for his choices.
Here is Nick’s list.
Album to listen to: Woodland Echoes. Because, like all children it should be seen and heard by everyone. Give it a spin! It needs your encouragement and enthusiasm to bloom and grow big and strong
Film worth watching: The Browning Version. I’ve discovered the gently revealing pace and self realisation themes of Terence Rattigan’s writing. Thanks to Criterion.
TV show to binge watch: The Good Life. Because I’ve dug up the lawn so we can grow our own vegetables. Wanted to do this for years but never had a lawn. So this is the right time. The seeds are in. The sun is out. And The future look bright and beautiful.
Book to read: The Gulf: The Making Of An American Sea by Jack E. Davis. I am reading about where we now live. Florida. I want to know about this part of the planet. And it’s right here in this book. Fascinating! How scared the Spanish were of the original people because they ate fish and grew tall. Mangroves, sediment and burial mounds. I now feel connected to the whole area and totally absorbed in the wonderful writing.
And lastly, let’s see what a music veteran/legend can recommend. World Party, fronted by Welsh born singer/songwriter Karl Wallinger, released their debut single “Ship Of Fools” in 1985, which hit the US singles charts at #5. A slue of hit albums followed: 1986’s Private Revolution, 1990’s Goodbye Jumbo, 1993’s Bang!, 1997’s Egyptology, 2000’s Dumbing Up, and 2012’s Arkeology (a collection of new songs, old songs, live recordings and covers). Karl worked out of his own studio Sea View in London for many years. He has since moved his home and studio to Hastings, and now does, in fact, have a sea view. He converted half of his house into a professional recording studio, so he now has the luxury of working from home. This has proved to be very convenient during this lockdown, and is giving him the opportunity to continue to work on his new album. During his downtime, however, here’s a list of things he’s been doing to keep himself entertained.
Album to listen to: Strangely Strange – But Oddly Normal: An Island Anthology Various Artists
Film worth watching: Duck Soup – Marx Brothers
TV show to binge watch: Brain Dead
Book to read: Sound Reproduction (Third Edition) by Floyd E Toole or The Third Policeman by Flan O’Brien
Video for World Party “Ship Of Fools”
I hope this has given you new things to explore. I want to thank The Clockworks, Sorry, Nick Heyward, and World Party for not only providing their input for this article, but also for making amazing music for all of us to enjoy, and turn to when we are feeling happy, or sad, or lonely, or nostalgic. A film can be your best friend, a song can be your lover, and a book can be your teacher. The arts are so personal. They define you, they guide you, and they help connect you. It’s sad that’s it’s taken an epidemic for people to realize how important and necessary they are. Happy listening, viewing, and reading.