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  • Writer's pictureKeith Dersley

Chats in the Time of Covid, #7

Had a new poem, to which I added chords and the title ‘Sky at Night’. (This was in honour of Bob Ash, the stargazer who used to live on the floor above me.) The piece talks about staying home with a pile of comics until it’s time to go out under the purple sky. It expresses a yearning for a world post-Covid.

I recorded this piece on GarageBand and played it back to Joan. She said I should strum more quietly, and add two more verses. I followed these hints and the ‘air’ is the better for it.

The YouTube channel is a handy tool. I could issue bulletins via the screen,

details of what’s brewing in Derzville. Maybe even read out some choice selections, from And in That Grove There Was a Bat, for example. Something concerning that Romeo of the Undead, Derek Langard. I could do more than read a page or two out, a ‘dramatic performance’ of it could be mounted at no extra charge. It might go, it might on the other hand be an enormous flop.

The Covid phenomenon has obliged some of us to tackle the software of Zoom. This has turned out to be a very intuitive affair. One that will be worth pursuing even after the infection has snuffed itself out for lack of opportunity. The magic of Zoom gets your face, your words, your manner into people’s homes and onto their phones.

The podcast craze is wonderful. I was listening to one about rappers and their ‘beats’. In this case it was the youthful inmates of Riker’s Island within view of the Statue of Liberty.

The young remand prisoners there get the opportunity (it has to be earned, however: proper interest and application has to be shown) to use studio facilities to express themselves as rappers. The fact that these young men (they were mainly men) were enabled to direct their energies into something in which they could take a legitimate pride, was remarkable in itself. They were cutting some good tracks. I’m not a fan of hip-hop and rap, but even I could hear something in the extracts played during the podcast.

It was important to give encouragement to these youths, to let them discover that some of them were talented artists. But it was, he realized, essential not to rouse exaggerated expectations as to what their chances might be of reaping rewards, including financial ones, once they left Riker’s.

There was one star of the project who was released and immediately threw himself into writing, recording, and promotion. The last the tutor heard, his former student was proceeding at a lightning pace. Then there was no news for several months. It turned out that disillusion had set in . All that effort had failed to bring a result. The aspiring star was in custody once more.

Finally, it was said that he was back on the outside, staying in at night, working on new songs, but with a more patient attitude and hopes that were not immodest.

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