The plague of culture
Leisure and culture, culture and leisure?
that tandem that usually goes so hand in hand in our western and first-worldist first-world societies societies of the post-welfareto such an extent that sometimes it is difficult to clearly delineate their margins. When we are not working or resting from our own work, we feel like feeding our souls with cultural "products" (a debatable term, although already assimilated) that distract us and, with a bit of luck, even elevate us from our more routine than glittering existence.
The pandemic was so abruptly cut short that the cultural sector was not even given the chance to bleed.
In fact, such was the general shock that we all put on our (pre)apocalyptic survivor's suits and had to pull together as best we knew how and as best we could. But even in those days of pure survivalism in which we were only asked to do one thing: to stay at home (which we admit is no small thing) with the sole purpose of keeping ourselves and others safe, the sometimes tedious routine of everyday life was made more bearable by resorting to the whole panoply of artistic expressions. Jokes, memes, gag videos, parodies, sketches... that we viralized at a much faster speed than the virus did, and that was nothing more for us than our first vaccine. That they would bring a smile to your face was the best antidote to a monotonous succession of predictable days in which going out to the supermarket or taking out the rubbish became the epic adventure of the moment.
Windows and balconies began to claim themselves as two-way boxes where you could choose the role of actor or spectator, or even not have to give up either role. The show must go on. Behind closed doors, television and, to a much greater extent, the internetin any of its expressions, formats and devices, "forced" us to enter intensively into the refuges of cinephilia and seriefilia that many of us already had before the pandemic. Subscriptions to streaming The number of streaming channels skyrocketed, now accounting for a quarter of the television market.
Music was another of our indispensable shields, dressing up the sometimes long silences that were contained within our four walls.
We remember a slogan that said "It would be impossible to live without music". And since what is impossible cannot be, we use melodies and songs, which is something that human beings have always resorted to when they have needed it, precisely to be able to make the most hazardous and critical vicissitudes somewhat more bearable and bearable: wars, epidemics, food shortages, subjugation, etc.
Choosing the mood we could jump from genre to genre to try to transport us to specific mental places and provoke the expected feeling. Either while cooking, cleaning or exercising, or when you listened to it fully and exclusively for more playful purposes.
We all remember our lunches or snacks that for pure psychological convenience almost always became special, and that were nothing more than escapes of the psyche before a panorama as uncertain as unprecedented. What was your song of the pandemic? Maybe there were several, and which one could not be missed to disconnect? Or to connect but with oneself? I suppose there is a general consensus about which one you hated -or at least, which one aroused mixed feelings-. that will not resist to the dynamic doubt... at least here in Spain.
One memory that at least we music lovers have engraved in our minds is the attendance to our last concert. Given the suddenness of the closure, there was no room for foresight and each individual ran his fate.
My last ones were Iván Ferreiro, The Wedding Present and León Benavente in November (¡(I'm not going to be able to say that this is the first time in 2019). We are talking about concerts fully pre-pandemic... no chairs, no masks and that warm and sweaty closeness between congeners. Since then I have to confess something of which I will not be a prophet... that nothing has ever been the same again. It rings a bell that I dropped by a free outdoor concert one morning, but my big return wasn't until this spring, with some Derby's Motoreta's Burrito Kachimba who gave it their all despite the situation. Enclosed venue with high ceilings and mandatory facemasks, but perhaps more capacity than I would have liked, or rather, than would have made me feel safer.
We understand that the live music sector has to recover from the blow of the big stoppage, as well as other spaces such as cinemas, museums and galleries, cinemas and leisure venues. The quarantine and the fluctuating measures have dealt an almost critical blow to the already precarious - and too often unjustly reviled - cultural sector, with staff reductions and the definitive closure of businesses. We know that balancing health and economy is not easy at allWe know that the cultural sector is in a state of crisis, and this is something that we are seeing for ourselves when we see the fate of different countries or regions that apply different recipes in the face of problems and conditions that are certainly similar. But this is a false dilemma, where it is health (¡life!) which undoubtedly comes first. What in my humble opinion should take precedence and should cease to be debatable. Not only as a matter of ethics or as an idealistic Hippocratic conjuration between nations, but selfishly.
Without health there is not and there will not be possible economy, and the economy without health is not working either in the places where it has been put first.
Perhaps there are imaginative solutions in which institutions can provide more public, open and safe spaces for citizens, and it is the private initiative gathered in a cooperative way that takes care of the rest of the organizational work (which is not little) in order to overcome this situation together. We will get out of this, but it will be hand in hand.