From the bottom looking up, can be an intimidating experience. Right now there's a tremendous amount being asked of us, a tremendous amount that we're being forced to swallow in the name of 'defeating' this virus (can a virus be defeated? Or is it the same as terror?). We're a music venue and of course, everything is extremely tight. Thanks to the fact that there's a strong community around The Peer Hat, we've been able to withstand the initial crushing wave of this disaster more or less intact. But our employees, our friends and family, are now forced to get by on a fraction of what they did before...meanwhile, we hungrily scan for every possible source of funding (just like everybody else), anything that will help shore us up in the increasingly bleak looking (from a business perspective) months ahead.
At the same time, our social spheres have been smashed asunder and we suddenly find ourselves relying upon the vagaries of the internet for our fix of people, of community. I'm sure we've all experienced those strange moments of loneliness, when, for whatever reason, the circles we rely upon for sustenance, evaporate for whatever personal reasons they evaporate.
Despair creeps in as you turn to the latest news source for the latest catastrophe, you're looking for anything that might serve as a key to the lock of this weird prison you've found yourself trapped within. You are not only being asked to sacrifice your livelihood and your friends, but also your mental health. Many of us teeter daily on the precipice of mental annihilation, just facing the day is a momentous struggle. And now this. Is somebody having a laugh?
And what of intimacy? Think how long it will take to trust a stranger to be close to you. To give in to lust and desire on a Friday night because, 'what the hell, that's what we do'? How long will those scars take to fade?
Meanwhile, an establishment that might best be described as both stupid and malevolent, is poised to take advantage of those very sacrifices you've been pushed into making, to exploit and exacerbate the weight that's been put upon your shoulders... due to their incompetence and their lies. It almost doesn't matter which of those two sins takes precedence, only that this wound will be used against you, your concern and worry, used against you. Pause and listen to that host of yammering, pleading celebrity heads, crowding, eyes seething with madness and absence.
So what are we going to do?
This blog exists to find that answer. To bind us in the night with the idea that there is something more than the mechanical world of material consequences. That there's something like an animus drawing us to places like The Peer Hat and inspiring the fire of inspiration within our hearts. Suddenly, with the right eyes, the world comes alive in vivid, blazing colours. It is this 'animus' then glides between the streets of Manchester...why did it choose here? I tried to figure that out in the first post...perhaps something to do with the liminal...something to do with being forced to live within the shadow of the slave fortresses, now abandoned, a period of vast reflections.
This moment is such a time and if you listen with every sense, you will feel her breath, hear her whisper. If you've ever wanted to create something or contribute to The Peer Hat community in any shape or fashion, the gate has been flung open. It doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, how old you are, how talented you are, how fucking popular you are. This is for you. And out of this, we will see how intimately we are all united, and decide upon paths that will ensure that we all come out of this better than before (remember before? It sucked). If there's going to be change, we must make certain that we decide the form which that change takes. Necessarily it happens from the bottom looking up.
We must quite literally redefine the meaning and the boundaries of the word family.
So let's dive in to a couple of things which people have been whipping up...
Laney turned me onto this thing, 'Help Musicians'. Blurb below, plus link. It can't hurt to explore any and all avenues of aid during this time...as I said, make those links.
"Help Musicians is an independent UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting out through to retirement.
It says the patron is the Queen...not sure that Elizabeth gives too much of a fuck about the minstrels on the ground, so cause for raised eyebrows immediately. Either way, let's not get ahead of ourselves and keep open minds...it might be of use to you. Exploit, exploit, exploit!
• Eden Young, regular and all round source of sass, went ahead and realised The Peer Hat upon the Astral Plane...that is to say, she put us together on The Sims. Personally, I quit playing video games (more or less) about 4 or 5 years ago (honest)...but The Sims was always a guilty buzz for me; just creating people I knew and setting them loose in a sadistic, voyeuristic play pen. Either way, without getting too teary eyed, I found this really uplifting and I think you will too. So thank you Eden. This has actually given me an idea to create my own mental version of The Peer Hat for night time visitation (you know how to build things inside astral space right? Of course you do). It's funny how familiarity can quickly breed contempt, a truism if ever there was one. But equally valid is the old saying, 'absence makes the heart grow fonder'. All of a sudden, I can't wait to sail within The Peer Hat again. Anyway, take a look...
The mighty Hannah O'Gorman has emerged as a fantastic supporter of the underground music scene. Her boundless enthusiasm, has turned me onto several acts I would have otherwise looked over. She's a wonderful soul and I'll be featuring lots of the stuff that she pushes at me...and probably a wee interview with her at some point, just so you can all fall in love with her vibe. Specifically, I'm going to point you at Psychopomp, which is Hannah's Mixcloud, highlighting her pick of the undergrounds best darkwave, electro, DIY and garage sounds (of this particular moment). Psychopomp seems like a strangely prescient name...we are very much in the underworld right now, or as Mephistopholes put it "This is hell, nor are we out of it". We need lantern bearers to get us through the mist and Hannah's swinging one for you just below...
I can write no more for the time being, but as predicted, there's no shortage of people for me to write about. We will prevail.