Music is essential. For a month and a half now, everything’s been shut down exceept “essential services.” Essential services have been judged to include groceries, takeout restaurants, cannabis dispensaries, gun shops, landscaping, convenience stores, hardware stores, office supplies, pest control, hiking trails, banks, home sales, babysitters, auto body shops, breweries.
Music is also an essential service. My brain atrophies without music, just as my body atrophies without food. I hereby petition Governor Newsom to declare it so and to make musicians essential workers, enabling them to ply their trade during the pandemic. In person, never mind the online concerts they don’t make a dime off, never mind the streaming that pays them even less.
The music would have to be presented differently, of course, to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Some concerts are starting up even now, in venues filled to 20% capacity. You’re not paying the electric bill with that, never mind the bass player.
I envision an industry based on outdoor concerts and busking. Let them set up wherever they want. Desirable venues with plenty of room for audiences to spread out would vary by locality, of course, city parks and plazas, empty suburban malls. Here in Half Moon Bay, a band could spread out on the bluffs and play to the people below as they enjoy our newly reopened beaches. A box for collecting contributions would be placed at the foot of the bluff, guarded by an adorable urchin seated six feet away with a large dog, lest the tips be stolen by the newly unemployed.
Concert ads that make me glad it’s a virtual show: I got an email ad from something called Opéra Parallèle.
Weeds. Although landscaping services are considered essential, the local harbor town of Princeton is giving free rein to the weed population along its roads. The flower beds on the medians are overgrown, the lawns on the hillsides have all but disappeared. The weeds provide a perfect complement to the harbor, already down at the heels, and to the empty parking lots in front of the restaurants and hotels along Capistrano Drive.