Time has stopped Ė or has not?


Danielle De Picciotto, Jarboe, Little Annie, Gudrun Gut In the last few months it seems that world has stopped.
At once and totally. One by one, countries have closed their borders, continents are isolated...
We are trapped in our little privat territories, each and everyone with their own worries and future plans.
In this (from outside) very quiet situation I was thinking about my friends, musicians, singers, writers, artists...
I had met them at concerts and spoke to them via interviews.
Where are they now? How do they feel the situation? Total isolation in the big cities, restrictions, concert cancellations.
Cultural events are very limited. What does this situation means to them? How it will effect their future? Their existance?
Are they healthy? And what now? What are priorities in this surreal times? Has the creativity process changed?
How do they live and how the new situation influence their work? What's the daily routine? What do they read? What do they miss most?

Danielle De Picciotto, Berlin

Danielle De Picciotto Personally, I am disappointed on one hand, because we prepared so many concerts for this year which was a lot of work and we had been looking forwards to them.
On the other hand I think it is an incredible moment. As if the world has stood still and we all have the time to relax and think about things. I feel as if it is really important that we do. Our world is in such chaos enviromentally and politically, that we should think about how to continue in a better way. It is almost as if God has given us a last chance....
I have been very concerned in general in thinking about sustainable living, what is happening with animals and how to change things for the positive so I hope that now people have time to think about these things as well, so that we can change this sick system of capitalism...
I have to continue earning money so I am working pretty hard on generating jobs, selling art and preparing things for the fall that hopefully will be successful. I am currently writing my second grafic novel - I signed the contract last year and hope it will be released as promised in the fall. I have also started working on my third solo album.
Berlin has become very quiet. At the beginning people were still going out and partying in parks but now they have stopped. The Berlin Senate transfered money to all freelance artists to be able to survive for three months, which is amazing. I have now been in my studio for 28 days... I have seen nobody except my husband and my landlord.
I sleep a little longer than before but in general I work from 10Am - 10pm in my studio. I do not have much time for reading but am reading the autobiography of Debbie Harry "Face it". What I miss is going out for breakfast, meeting friends and most of all touring!
photo: https://www.danielledepicciotto.com/photos-friends

Jarboe, Roswell

Jarboe This is a real universal existential question.
These are really difficult times and the future is truly the unknown.
Currently it is getting my album entitled ĄIllusoryď out the door.
Release date is 17 April 2020 on the label: Consouling Sounds.
Following that release is 'Allusory' which is self-released on major global streaming and download stores including my own website. Where I live now nothing is different as I always work at home. My planned April/May tour had to be postponed.
Hope to see you in Ljubljana in November 2020.
Nowadays I read mostly fiction, do yoga, meditate , write words, compose music.

Little Annie, Miami

Little Annie I guess like everybody, living day by day- everything changing pretty quickly, so answers today may be different tomorrow. Today I live by the ever changing restrictions put upon us, which not only change, but are different for the mainland, or even some neighborhoods here on Ďthe beach, is a shelter Island. At present, weíre only spouse to be out for essentials, with mask and standing 6 feet apart. The bars and restaurants closed March 17th (restaurants can do take out ). The beach and parks closed two days later. Were allowed out for walks or cycling but curfew 10pm to 5 am - the streets get sketchy at dusk.
Threat of Hurricanes are reality, we live here with six months of the year, so I first went in hurricane mode, which is kind of the opposite of social distancing, and being that, we are at the outermost edge of the country, closer too Puerto Rico (part of the USA, though most of country doesnít seem to grasp that fact ), Cuba, Haiti Jamaica, Bahamas etc., that we are the rest of the country and very different from the State of Florida. Well it's surreal, normally but like for everyone all over has added surreal vibe. Bermuda Triangle life. Never seen it so clean. Itís paradise but weíre not allowed to be in it.
Almost overnight 90 percent of us became unemployed, myself included, but I am blessed with shelter and food etc, but many arenít. Most of our economy is service industry, tourism etc. I know people are hungry and needing basics now, never mind the fear of future. I worry for my community, which is family in a sense. And I have put ny grief for NYC, which is taking bad beating aside for now, the world. And the world, which was suffering pre- pandemic, well because too enormous and pray for the grieving and stay positive - (except for when not Lol). I'm blessed too have friends, who have same sense of humor in the area, we laugh a lot - cause must . This whole thing coincides with record breaking heat - I look at glimpse of the ocean hungrily.
So much has changed in some senses, the biggest being that every venture or not is a huge ethical decision and natural instinct as humans is too come together in troubles. But now we must do opposite. And yes, but much of world has suffered ravages of war, disaster, and gone without clean water, The inequities in this country are bare for all too see; whether that changes things for better, well, guess weíll find out.
I was mastering new LP with Paul Wallfisch in NYC early in March, where we met for photos for sleeve. We plot out our next year of touring and writing for a new project, when all this came. As I was in Ďhurricane modeí, I was running around sorting life stuff and thought, well Ďsuch is life Ď and figured well thatís that; but in past few days I came up with idea with Paul, whoís in lockdown in Italy & our label in Canada, And of course, we'll keep you posted.
Itís hard for me too start on something new, while have project ready too roll as till itís out. And I am unable to forget about it & move on - I donít look back at my work. And I though, have recently as online too much and itís there, anyway now with possibly being able too move forward I am getting stirrings of my muse. The arts felt kinda ridiculous too me in the face of such need, but other day I was playing random music as mopped the floors and it felt wonderful - so maybe it does supply something and itís what I do so, what the hell, right?
Will paint just to keep my brushes from giving me stink eye. I havenít had concentration to watch an hour program for almost month now, but it will happen.
When ďallowedĒ to get outside and see the beauty be it a plant or a dumpster, the longing too see friends and hug the hell out them, to sit in a barroom and make dumb jokes, the mass experience dystopian sci fiction, the moral dilemma, the soap opera, the spiritual twisting and turning evolution, the powerlessness, the isolation, the absolute interconnectivity of all being, the utter loneliness- the what, the whys - it is what so heartbreakingly everything - so we love.

Evelyn McDonnell, Los Angeles

Evelyn McDonnell I'm trying really hard to stay optimistic, but I would say I'm wavering between anger and grief. My health is fine and so is that of most people I know, so really, I shouldn't complain.
But I can't stand being locked up. I'm used to walking on the beach a couple times a day, and it breaks my heart not to be able to do that. And I am so mad at our "leaders" whose only form of governance is social control, not social welfare.
I am working from home. My son and husband are here today. Again, we are lucky, because we are all still able to work, so this isn't hitting us that hard financially. We are having some quality times together, but we are also getting on each other's nerves.
LA is under a somewhat strict lockdown. We can go out for limited reasons, but we are supposed to wear masks, and all the parks, beaches - all open spaces - are taped off like crime scenes. A lot of friends and neighbors do pass by, so we are not too isolated.
The worst part for me is that my father has severe Lewy Body dementia and is in a nursing home in Wisconsin. I only get to see him a few times a year. I was going to see him in March but had to cancel the day before my flight because of the restrictions against visitors at nursing homes. Now I don't know when, or if, I will see him again. He is now locked in a facility with no access to anyone he knows or loves, and basically no access to anyone at all except his caretakers; the patients are not supposed to leave their rooms or interact with each other. This is a terrible way for our elders to end their lives.

I am mostly focused on teaching and directing the journalism program at LMU. This is a very difficult time for students and I am trying to be available to them as much as possible. Teaching online is hard. In terms of my own writing, I have mostly been writing in my journal and publishing some of those thoughts online in my blog. Everything else is on hold for now.
In the stores is somewhat hard to find things. We are told not to go shopping, but it is really hard to schedule deliveries and pickups. Besides, I want to patronize small, local businesses, so I have decided to do all my shopping at neighborhood mom-and-pop stores.
I need to get into more of a routine. It's very hard, as mostly I just spend 9-5 responding to student crises and other emails. Then I have a drink to deal with the stress. My husband does most of the cooking but sometimes it's me. We usually watch TV or a movie; every other night we have been watching all the Marvel movies together as a family. And then I read. We have also been playing some games, such as Scrabble and cribbage; that's nice. And we are working in our yard and garden on the weekends.

Thalia Zedek, Boston

E Yes, I'm living in Boston and I am doing well and staying healthy so far.
My band E are releasing our 3rd record on April 21st on the Czech label Silver Rocket/ Lokal Rekorc. We had a fully booked month long European tour booked in May/June, as well as US dates that have all been postponed.
Also our vinyl got stuck in a pressing plant during the Czech Republic lockdown so it will be delayed, though we will go ahead with the digital release as planned. I just got some good news today though, that Silver Rocket was able to get the plates back from the first pressing plant, which declared bankruptcy during the lockdown, and bring it to a new one which will hopefully be able to start pressing again soon.
My first priority is trying to stay healthy. Boston is going to reach it's "peak infection" status in the coming weeks, and I have an elderly parent who I help out so I'm trying to be as careful as possible so as not to transmit any germ to them.
I've done a few online "live" solo concerts which has been fun and which people seem to enjoy. (I have another one this Sunday at 6pm Boston time!). I'm also working on finishing the last few songs for my next solo record, which I hopefully will be able to record when things get better and I can get into a studio. An experimental project that I'm in called tK has been getting a few releases ready to go as well.
Boston has a fairly high rate of infection right now. We are in the state of Massachusetts which has the third highest number of cases in the United States, only New York and New Jersey are higher so the city is very quiet. Most businesses are closed and while we aren't in a "lockdown" state we have a 9pm -6am curfew and people are being cautious. I am lucky in many ways, I live on the first floor of a house with my partner and we have a small backyard , back porch and very nice neighbors who we can talk to over the fence.
I try to spend some time outdoors and to get some exercise everyday. Since I'm unable to gig and rehearse right now, I'm working on writing and finishing old projects. Trying to get better at clarinet and things like that. I haven't been reading alot actually, but I should be!
I am of course, very much missing being able to play music in the same room with other people and sad about not being able to tour and perform on stage, but at the same time realize and very much appreciate that it is not the most important thing right now.
E band photo: Lindsey Metivier

Gudrun Gut, Berlin

E I am fine now. but these are disturbing times. I went through two health downs with no fever but some kind of flew. Maybe psycho-somatic. It's so strange. My concentration is low.
I escaped to our countryhouse where my studio is as well. This is fantastic being able to get out into nature. I have lots of Skype/Zoom/Whatsapp meetings preparing fundings and next projects - planning the next year. I'm just rescheduling our UM- festival in August for next year.
I'm responsible for music curating and I did two remixes - one for Glorio de Oliveiro (out now), and one for the Berlin band Hope (coming out soon).
I am working on a sound installation in a U-Bahn in DŁsseldorf for summer. Then I do teaching / artist talks via video class conferences with New York University NYU Berlin/Ny and Folkwang University, Essen in Germany. This is very good to keep contact and work.
And last, but not least: we are preparing a documentary exhibition about Mania D, Malaria! and Matador for March / April next year. That is a lot of research and going through old pics, videos, tapes.
Berlin is empty in parts. And people are trying to live with it. The city lost all its valuables, like restaurants, venues, clubs, bars, shopping, museums. Everything closed. It's pretty depressing. here on the countryside the people are taking it not so serious and there is a little hate starting against the Berliners (here are quite a lot of Berliners hiding out). They think we bring the virusÖ
At first, I did lot's of super house cleaning, because I could not concentrate on anything complicated. We are trying to cook extra nice food every day. Luckily my boyfriend is with me. Reading is not as easy as I thought - still stuck with my books and I cannot concentrate. Usually I'm reading 3 books at once now (John Burnside: I Put A Spell On You, Nino Haratischwili: Das 8.Leben, Lola Randl: Der grosse Garten). I do read newspapers. TV news just once a day.
I organize the garden. Started putting seeds out for vegetables. Neighbor children are helping with 1,5 m distance. Going for bike rides. Checking equipment in the studio. But I'm not in the mood for creating new tracks.
Gudrun Gut photo: Mv Kummer

Ana da Silva, London

E Very strange times, these, but Iím ok, thanks.
I havenít gone out at all in weeks, for fear of contracting Covid-19. My home is my favorite place to be in, but I miss going to Hyde Park (London) or just for a walk around my area. I like to feel the heartbeat of the world that surrounds me. I also miss my friends and going to places. The last time I went out was to a memorial on the 4th of March, and I was already very apprehensive about the pandemic. Things were starting to get ugly in the UK, where I live. Iím recording and composing, although I spent the first few weeks of the pandemic just reading about it and watching the news and thinking about it all. This stuff knocks you back.
I feel that Iím in a bearable situation. I can survive and am not alone. A lot of people are suffering, either because of lack of income or because theyíre sick or lost a loved one to Covid-19. I donít think most of us even realise how bad it is. Itís all about numbers, and that can become quite abstract. Governments havenít always done whatís best for the population and havenít followed the advice of scientists and medical experts. This lack of care is costing lives and causing a lot of pain and worry. The UK, like some other countries, didnít learn from what was happening in places like China and Italy. This is the right wing bravado.
Many people are hoping and expecting a better world to come out of this and I hope itíll happen. Itís going to take a long time for things to settle down, but what will the future be?
Musically, itís also difficult to predict what the future will bring. One of the great things happening nowadays, is that technology is helping society in very different ways. People can show their work online and communicate in a more intimate way than was possible ever before. And we can listen to almost any music that exists anywhere in the world. Of course, the heart of music is live performance.
Phew and I were planning a tour in June that had to be postponed and The Raincoats had also to postpone a performance in late May, which was part of the exhibition ďUnfinished Business: The Fight For Womenís Rightsď at the British Library, London.
Phew and I started working together again and we've already recorded a song. In the meantime, she is finishing a solo album and I will be organising music of my own into an album. I think Iíll be at home for a long time, so itíll be good to put things in orderÖ what I love most, is to make new music. Iím planning to organise what I have and maybe put it all into one or two solo albums.
I have many books that I want to read, but havenít had the mental space to do it. Iím more settled now in this craziness and hope to be able to do it. Meanwhile, whoever can afford it, should buy music from independent shops when possible or downloads so they help musicians survive this crisis.
photo: Shirley O'Loughlin

Vivien Goldman, Jamaica

Vivien Goldman Even beyond the immediate deaths, and the problems with money, shelter and food for so many, the aftermath is worrying on a lot of levels. A lot of terrible legislation on all sorts of fronts is sliding through everywhere, using the all-consuming impact of the virus as a smokescreen.
For me personally - I had wanted to build up my own strength and complete some longform writing at the start of this year, so I was in Jamaica, (where I get to swim a lot,) before this happened. I am writing an art book with Hat & Beard Press around the work of Lemi Ghariokwu, "Fela's artist", who designed many sleeves for the founding father of Nigerian afrobeat.
I have never stayed in Jamaica quite this long before. Personally, as for many artists and writers who spend so much time alone at home anyway, I am keeping on working and the enforced isolation can be harnessed. Being alone is easier and more normal for us than for a lot of people.
I was about to sign a deal for my first ever album, Next Is Now, produced by the great Youth (Killing Joke, The Orb, Paul McCartney etc) just as the virus exploded, and that deal collapsed along with everything else for many artists. So I am now exploring digital releases while things supposedly "settle down," which is interesting. I have also experimented and done some tiny Instagram videos called Message to She-Punks, with hopefully positive thoughts for those who care about She-Punks and people who relate to us, with the central theme ĄCreation Is Resistanceď, which is how it seems to me.
I am scheduled to teach a Bob Marley course at NYU at the end of this year... who knows, maybe that will be online.
Meanwhile my New York home, Jackson Heights in Queens, is now known as the "epicentre of the epicentre" of the virus in the US. I talk to people in New York a lot and of course it is like a war zone. Very many people from my area have died. So there is a solemn and very surreal feeling about everything...
And I wake up each morning amazed that I am here, quite by chance (or destiny.)

Myra Davies, Vancouver

Myra Davies Iím in Vancouver, Canada. If not for lockdown, Iíd be packing to return to Berlin.
Seven weeks ago I saw my last show ó Gordon Monahan and Bill Coleman in Doll House. After, I spoke with Gordon about getting it to Berlin, still thinking Iíd be there by May. Normally Iím in Vancouver for the darkest months and back to Berlin in spring like a migrating bird.
On a chart (April 24) comparing death rates by locus, Vancouver was lowest. Second last was Czech Republic. Iíd rather be in Prague. Here, a stack of housekeeping jobs judges me for preferring my writing projects. I donít feel isolated. Last week, I was at a Zoom birthday party in Montreal. Normally, I might talk to friends once or twice a year if weíre not in the same city or working togther. Now, everybody wants to kibbitz.
My day starts at 6:30 with coffee, The Guardian, breakfast, online workout (I have dozens bookmarked). Work to lunch at 1 pm. Quit at 6 pm. Evenings: work, read, watch something. This is my plan. Reality doesnít follow it. FB frittering is not on the plan. Maybe I wake up with a canker in my mouth; what the fuck is causing those? Anything needed from my locker kills a morning. I knocked a cup of coffee onto my laptop in week two and fried it. Such things happen. In this quiet, Iím less upset by them.
The flat is downtown, at the back of a building looking out to the ocean. Iíve positioned my (repaired) laptop to see the water when I look up. Fantastic. Should have done that years ago. Never thought of it. The tide is coming in now. Seagulls are flying about. Its cherry blossom season so on grocery runs, I walk streets lined with clouds of pink flowering trees. No spring construction noise is bliss. Last night, a neighbour brought me a big bouquet of lilacs. Another neighbour dropped off the NY Times on Sunday. Iíll be reading that all week. In Canada, Vancouver is called Lotusland. It feels like it now.
Three Books
Constantinople, City of the Worldís Desire (1453 to 1924); 500 pages of Ottoman history. Iíll see Istanbul next time with new eyes and itís giving me a new perspective on Slavic Europe.
Will & Testament 2019 Norway, Vigdis Hjorth, Auto-fiction. Hard to get into but good. An account of an adult woman experiencing the ongoing effects of childhood paternal sex abuse. Her familyís denial adds to her suffering. I thought I knew all I needed to about trauma, but this book deepened my understanding.
The Sellout, 2015 USA, Paul Beatty. (Mann Booker Prize.) Immersed me in impoverished black urban culture in Los Angeles. Dark humour. The guyís a brilliant writer. He shakes the shit out of narcissistic black American male tropes but as a white reader, I sometimes felt like I was looking into places I shouldnít. And as a non-American I needed Goggle to unlock references and slang.
Film:
Decided to revisit French Nouvelle Vague, First, Breathless (1960). Second, Petit Soldat (1963), stopped at the torture scene. Next, Contempt (1963) with B. Bardot.
Music:
I like music by friends and 19th century impressionists. Both are combined in the work of my Berlin neighbour, pianist and composer, Rossano Snel. He has an EP coming out on The Deutsche Grammophon New Classical list.
Youtube Lectures:
I love listening to YouTube lectures by economists, historians and political theorists. The hegemony enjoyed by Neoliberalism and free trade globalism, is crumbling. Iíve been waiting for that for nearly fifty years. Critical thinkers are now gestating ideas, theories, strategies, and data about what comes next, and reporting in lectures on You Tube. All this political and economic discourse backed up like never before, with facts and stats, signals a seismic-like build of pressure on distribution ratios for wealth and power. What a story ó forces of history in the making ó could be a bumpy ride but Iím optimistic.
Future plans: re follow up to SIRENS,there is no plan yet. I have a growing folder of ideas for new pieces. usually we do one circa every five years or so.
At present, I'm working on an auto-fiction style novel and two secondary stories: a nearly finished novella about a guy with AIDS, and a comic story of a California family who all go Irish during the Troubles to be on the good side of a war drama.

Pauline Murray, Newcastle upon Tyne

Pauline Murray I have been in lockdown for the past six weeks at my home in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Our studios (Polestar) closed on 23rd March and still no sign as to when we will re-open. Everything in the city is closed except supermarkets and essential outlets.
I have turned my attic into a creative space and have been painting, scanning archives and even done some filming for a video for a track from my forthcoming solo album which is taking forever to come out and will now take even longer as everything is at a standstill.
We were due to play some Invisible Girls live shows in October as itís 40 years since the album was released but even this is doubtful at the moment.
I have been listening to Desire - Bob Dylan, early Bruce Springsteen, Augustus Pablo, Lee Perry.
Reading the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Time Machine and Andy Warhol- Popism.
Watching Dawn of the Dead, King of Comedy and a Residents documentary among other things.
Yes these are the strangest times. Have to take things a day at a time... take care.

Lucy O'Brien, London

Lucy O'Brien I'm in London - we live in one of the worst Coronavirus hot spots on the planet. Literally at the end of our road is Church End, north west London, which is one of the most infected areas. I'm locked down with my husband and two teenage kids and we wear face masks every time we go out, and disinfect everything, and we're very careful. We've lost a few friends close to us, so it is very real.
I teach at London College of Music, University of West London and I write. So my teaching has shifted online... and I have been immersed in book projects. I have just finished working with Skin from the band Skunk Anansie on her memoir, which is out this autumn - really excited about that! She Bop And currently I am updating my book She Bop: the definitive history of women in popular music. It's also being published this October as a special Silver Jubilee edition by Jawbone Press.
I am used to working from home, so that part hasn't changed much. And actually it's a relief not to be commuting, because London is quite stressful. Well, it used to be stressful, but it's actually fairly quiet now, and the air is clear. It's nice not having air pollution!
My routine is getting up, sometimes going for a walk in the park before everybody else gets up, then working at my desk from 9-5pm, sometimes going to the shop in the evening. Eating lunch and dinner with the family...that's very nice. Very simple. I like my life being simple. I don't miss anything. We read, watch Netflix, talk, listen to music, sit in the garden, cook. I'm really enjoying cooking.
Photo: Chris Frazer Smith

...to be continued...

(Rock Obrobje, April-May-June 2020)

Varja Velikonja