Stay Alert. Go out, don’t go out. PANIC. DON’T PANIC.
Spent the last week or so envisioning Boris Johnson as a modern day Corporal Jones from perennial British comedy Dad’s Army. I know we shouldn’t make light of a situation like this but if you don’t laugh you’d cry.
Today’s Isolation Selection is provided by Manchester’s pleasingly irreverent Blanketman – sardonic, vulnerable, and pretty human, unlike a few we know. Their debut single ‘Taking You With Me’ is a yearning paean for the elixir of life, shuffling awkwardly and smiling politely. While everything is looking pretty damn bleak going forward, at least this bunch are bringing us a bit of light-hearted empathy to show we’re not the only ones without a lack of sense and perspective.
While their selections offer a little insight into their tastes, they also offer a bit of hope and understanding in amongst all the limbo and uncertainty.
These really are unprecedented times, how are you, how are you all feeling in all this?
Adam: It’s all quite surreal isn’t it. We are all doing well though thanks all things considered. Definitely sharing in the collective anxiety of the nation/world is feeling. It’s tough not knowing what’s going to happen and when things are going to start getting better. It feels like we’re stuck in a strange kind of limbo. All we can try and do is keep as busy and as productive as possible, but it’s hard not being able to see each other, friends and family in the flesh.
Can you quite comprehend the impact this is having on the music industry?
A: I can comprehend as far as my knowledge of the music industry will let me and from what I’ve heard from the people in different parts of it. I don’t think there is a facet of the industry that hasn’t been impacted in some way. There is the obvious and visible side of it, things like festivals, tours and releases being cancelled. But then there is that other equally as heart-breaking side, so much of the industry is freelance, photographers, sound engineers, crew. So many people are out of a job. Personally, I feel very lucky that at this moment in time that music is not my main source of income. Yes I’m sad that we won’t be able to play some festivals this year, but I’m not having to worry about paying rent and bills or eating.
I know at this stage it’s perhaps not the most important of things to consider, but do you think when all this is said and done, the foundations and the nature in which the industry runs will change?
A: I can’t see the industry changing much in all honesty, as much as I understand it anyway. I think it’s probably been the way it is for too long. Hopefully, some measures will be put in place that would mean it’s less of a rough ride if/when something like this happens again.
With your first single now out in the world, what has it meant to you being able to make it and what have you taken from it personally, especially in having to release it in this sort of atmosphere?
A: It has meant a great deal for us to be able to put out this single. We’ve been working on it for a long time and in terms of our development as band we really needed to put something out. At first when it started kicking off and lock down was starting to happen, we were worried that it might not be the best time to release, but we’re glad we just went ahead with it. I think one of the best things about it has been the fact that it’s a bit more cheery than a lot of songs that are coming out at the moment, we’ve had a few people tell us the video has made them chuckle which in these trying times is a pleasant thing to hear.
Talk us through your playlist, what does it represent for you?
A: The playlist is a mixture of how we’re feeling and songs that have been helping cheer us up. More specifically, I’ve gone for ‘Apeman’ by The Kinks as it’s a light-hearted expression of how I think a lot of people are feeling at the moment, I wouldn’t mind stripping off and finding a nice beach somewhere to live on. Then I’ve gone for ‘Handle With Care’ by Travelling Wilburys, I think we could all do with a bit of careful handling right now.
Ellie: My first choice is ‘Paranoia’ by C.C.T.V. – paranoia is probably something to avoid at the moment and the heavy synths aren’t very calming either but it’s a great song, so I picked it regardless. My second choice is ‘Your Funeral My Trial’ by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, an artist I have been playing loads at the moment, he makes great listening during a lonely slumber.
Dan: Sinead O Brien – ‘Limbo’ – we’re in limbo – and The Cool Greenhouse – ‘The Sticks’ – “a schizoid paranoia epic for the recently isolated and unemployed”, their words not mine.
Jeremy: I’ve Chosen Etienne Daho featuring Françoise Hardy – ‘Et si je m’en vais avant toi’, a song about embodying the natural elements (wind, rain, sun…) to exist for someone wherever and forever. Then, Lou Reed – ‘I’m so free’ An uplifting song to feel free, even if we’re not that much right now!
Eden: Johnny Marr – ‘Armatopia’ – It’s a positive outlook on a bleak situation! Love still exists during the apocalypse. It’s a track that gets you motivated with its strong beat and explicit synth lines along with Johnny’s retro sounding and reminiscent phasey vocals.
Patti Smith – ‘My Blakean Year’ – A tune about throwing your coat down and facing your fears, and that it’s important to remember what is happening was not what we were planning or had expected but we must continue to work as we always did to shine through! This one gives me a bit of a Wild West feeling, that only the ones who try their hardest will survive. The rhythm guitar is enticing and gets you hungry for accomplishment.
Blanketman’s debut single Taking You With Me is out now. Listen to their Isolation Selection below.