“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. How are we to live in an atomic age? I am tempted to reply: Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and kill you or your family any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of new diseases, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents. In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we still see death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.” CS Lewis 1950
The above quote can come across as rather cold and callous from just reading it on the internet, but it comes from a man who had a strong reputation as a generous and warm-hearted soul with anyone who crossed Lewis’s path.
The coronavirus today has turned the world upside down. Today’s headlines that are playing out on most of the major news outlets is “US Economy posts sharpest downturn on record.” If there is anything positive to take away from this pandemic, it is a huge dose of reality and our finiteness. If there ever was a time to heed the words of the old philosophers – “keep first things first,” it is probably now.
Our times remind me a lot of the sixties and the Vietnam war, in the most turbulent of times with civil unrest on every platform, some of the best music came out of that era – The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Beachboys, Barry McGuire, Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, Dave Clark Five, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Byrds, The Who, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Everly Brothers, Simon and Garfunkel to name a few that I have seen in concert or had the privilege of being somehow associated with them.
When I am not touring, which has been a while, I work as an artist consultant with new artists and a few old-timers. It is especially hard right now, because most studios are shut down and touring is out of the question. For song writers, they have a full canvas to paint on, but just very few artists to pitch their songs to.
To end with a positive note, in spite of all the unrest and negativity, life goes on – it is the little and mundane things that seem to come to the surface in our lives. We find meaning in the smallest and normally ignored events. It will be interesting to see what songs come out of this rather large mess the world is in……