In an effort to break up the quiet and loneliness of quarantine, I’ve been listening to a lot more music than usual. Back in January, I bought the deluxe limited edition autographed vinyl version of Joel Plaskett’s new album, 44. It’s a quadruple record, with a bonus 45. As kids, my brothers and I were allowed to play anything we wanted from my parents’s combined record collection, but my youngest brother took custody of my dad’s turntable a few years ago. I have records I’ve bought over the years—all secondhand, for their amazing covers or because I super love the artists—but I had nothing on which to play them.
Along with music, I’ve brought more subscriptions and more deliveries into my house. Anything to hang onto a connection with the outside world. Today, Stevie Nicks celebrates her 72nd birthday, and also this month, her debut solo album, Bella Donna, gets a new vinyl edition. Obviously, a turntable had to be my next purchase. (I bought a refurbished Audio-Technica with Bluetooth, similar to this one.) I also ended up watching both Rocketman (👍) and Bohemian Rhapsody (👎) last week, so I might just have to make the trip out to my parents’s house to borrow their Elton John and Queen records.
Music used to be a bigger part of my life. It’s still an important part, but today, my favourites are set, and I don’t feel the same urge to discover what’s new that I did when I was a teenager. I think that’s an expected part of getting older, though my parents’s excuse for missing most 1980s trends is that they had children. When something new catches my ear (most recently: Megan Thee Stallion), I’ll add them to the playlist. But I’m just as happy to hit repeat on Rumours or Navy Blues. I don’t even feel like I’ve dug deep into Harry Styles’s new record because I’m still on the first one.
I was supposed to see Joel tour his new record in April; that show has been postponed until the fall. I was supposed to see Harry in August; not anymore. My last night downtown before the pandemic was February 11th, Noah Reid at the Imperial, his first tour of the west coast. I woke up feeling sick that morning, sat at the back for most of the show, and I didn’t feel better until nearly a month later. It was my worst case of the flu in years, but if it was more than that? 🤷♀️
Because my friends and I grew up chatting online—first AIM, then GChat (which is apparently officially named Google Talk?!?), and now in Slack—there isn’t the same urgency to stay physically connected by audio and video. While others are living in Zoom meetings all day, we’re hanging out like we always do, sending asynchronous messages, a link that reminds us of the other, occasionally catching the right time between zones to have an actual conversation. That has been normal for me since I got online, but the difference now is we can’t plan for the future.
I don’t know when I’ll see my friends in person again. I can’t explain to my psychiatrist how I’m feeling because pandemic brain and depression brain have a helluva lot in common. In 2021, I turn 40. Instead of getting together the shit I missed out on during my formative years, I’m gonna have to start all over. Maybe this time around, I’ll finally figure out dating.
For now, the voices of my favourite singers are filling my home. Spinning records is a good excuse to get up off the couch and flip to side B. Everything will change, but the song remains the same.