“Life during the time of isolation and social distancing” Vol. 1 — recording artist Bruce Cockburn

April 18th, 2020

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“Guitar player” by James Brewer

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…..In recent days, I have posed this question  via email to a handful of creative artists and citizens of note:

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…..“During this time of social distancing and isolation at home, what are examples of the music you are listening to, the books you are reading, and/or the television or films you are viewing?” (If you wish, please feel free to also share your thoughts on the effects this isolation is having on your creativity or on your world).

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…..Responses to this question will be published periodically as this era progresses.

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This edition features the email response of recording artist Bruce Cockburn

(published with only minor stylistic editing)

 

 

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photo by Daniel Keebler

Bruce Cockburn

Songwriter and recording artist for 50 years;  Canadian music legend; has released 34 albums and played thousands of concerts around the world; songs have been covered by many artists including Jimmy Buffet, k.d. Lang, Barenaked Ladies, Hawksley Workman, Jerry Garcia, Anne Murray, Elbow, Mary Balin, Judy Collins, Chet Atkins, The Rankin Family, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, and many others.

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…..You might think, in this time of isolation, that there would be an opportunity for catching up on all sorts of things: household tasks that we’ve been putting off, books waiting to be read, etc, but for me the reality is that with my wife teleworking and my 8-year-old “teleschooling” and having ZOOM play dates, and all of us together 24/7, I’m quite a lot busier than what used to be normal. That said, I have been listening and reading: Fernando Pessoa’s novel The Book of Disquiet, William Gibson’s Agency, poetry by Charles Bukowski, Joan Logghe and Wislawa Szymborska. For music, it’s pretty random. Recent listens include YouTube videos of David Russell’s stunning guitar playing as well as various performances by Voces8, Charles Mingus’ Tijuana Moods (an old favorite), the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street, and Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht..I haven’t watched any TV. That’s something I mostly do in hotel rooms. My daughter and I watched the second Smurfs movie the other day, which I love!

…..We are lucky in that my wife is still working. I feel for the baristas and waiters and cab drivers and everyone who depends on being able to move around and congregate for work. There’s an undercurrent of worry we all feel. My daughter feels some stress that gives her trouble getting to sleep sometimes. I feel somewhat fatalistic about COVID-19 with respect to myself.

…..I suppose each of us has to find whatever ways we can to put our “house arrest” to good use, even if it’s only resting, which a lot of us probably need. After a month, it still feels like a novelty. The challenge of coming up with creative ideas of how to pass the time, maintain friendships and acquire toilet paper is still kind of entertaining in itself. I’m not sure that will remain true if we have to live like this for too long.

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Bruce Cockburn’s official video of his song “April in Memphis,” from the 2019 album Crowing Ignites

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Click here to read Volume 2 of this series, featuring music writers/critics Howard Mandel and Joel Selvin

Click here to read Volume 3 of this series, featuring the journalist Joe Hagan and the photographer Tim Davis

Click here to read Volume 4 of this series, featuring Spelman College president Mary Schmidt Campbell 

Click here to read Volume 5 of this series, featuring Arizona State University historian Tracy Fessenden

 

 

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In This Issue

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