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Where now…when now…?

Where now, when now?

I know it’s Beckett, but I have Ward Swingle’s voice in my head. No one could deliver the spoken text of Berio’s Sinfonia like he could. I could go on…

…Call that going, call that on?

But wait, it’s barely moving now…

Well, it’s day one of the rest of our careers. Or maybe we should use the French – restes – remains (oh the irony), leftovers (post-Christmas), ruins, wreck…

The financial wreck is survivable for most musicians of my generation. We can’t work in some European countries anymore because we don’t reach the income threshold, but we have pensions. It’s incredibly sad that some of my European friends won’t be able to play here because they won’t reach our income threshold either, but they have 27 countries to work in. The real damage is to the soul. For forty years we’ve developed partnerships centred on our mutual history, moving freely between countries, expanding our horizons with every step. We revelled in each other’s uniqueness and celebrated what we had in common. We became Europeans. Making music is a microcosm of the European project: you can’t do it by yourself (even solo instrumentalists need an audience). I could go on…but Twitter and The Guardian have mourned for all of us. It just remains (that word again) for me to say thank you: to all the promoters from Bergen to Bratislava, Paris to Palermo, Aarhus to Athens, Dublin to Gdansk… Regensburg to Radovljica who supported the Hilliard Ensemble, Red Byrd, the Dowland Project, Conductus, Being Dufay, Alternative History and all the many other European projects that have sustained me for four decades; thanks to all the wonderful European friends we made along the way, musicians, audiences and students. I hope that one day our grandchildren will be welcomed back into one of the most civilised (and civilising) projects the world has ever seen.


4 Responses to “Where now…when now…?”

  1. Linda Hirst says:

    What an unusual time – trying to avoid the words extraordinary and unprecedented…… I guess it’s down to where now when now and we don’t know. We don’t know much. Maybe the best thing is to have grandchildren who don’t know any answers but who trust that life is good. They rejoice in each other when not fighting, love the closest people around them, enjoy the play, enjoy some of the learning, and sleep well in their beds.

  2. John Potter says:

    Yes, I’m with you on the grandchildren! Let’s hope…

  3. Nick Berry says:

    This was passed on to me by a friend. Sad times? Evil times. “Extraordinary and unprecendented”, Linda? Indeed, but not for the bug, the latest in a long line stretching back forever. For the evil measures taken. You want grandchildren to grow up in this dystopia? I have a son and I wish for his sake I didn’t. Good for you, John, that you have a pension. It’s easy to hope from the right side of financial security. I’m surrounded by musos over here (Germany) who have lost and/or are losing everything. What do they do now? Retrain as massage therapists or yoga teachers? But hey, the ancient and/or decrepit and/or morbidly obese get another few months or years of staring at the telly and ordering pizza. When I finally get a gig again, I’m looking forward to walking on stage and telling everyone to fuck off and sing whatever they want to hear themselves. Happy New Year.

  4. John Potter says:

    That would be a bit hard on your fans…

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