An image of Earle playing the guitar and singing into the microphone in his home studio, eyes closed

Survival of the Glibbest

No denying 2020 was a difficult year of change. Some of my choirs have fallen by the wayside, others are struggling along on zoom, income has dramatically dropped, the possibilities for touring are nil, and on and on; not to speak of the unspeakable around us in the rest of the world.

Here’s a song I wrote for the passing of 2020, and the coming of the New Year.

A roof over our heads

At the same time Barbara and I both alive with a roof over our heads, near and dear are so far basically safe, I’m learning to make yoghurt and cheese and buttermilk and granola and other things, and that weird state of undeserved grace descends on me so that I can blithely peer out from my cocoon at the misery being inflicted on so many right now and feel insulated from the worst blows of the various pandemics. 

With the assistance of my friend Penny Goldsmith I’ve been working on a book of lyrics and stories which will be published later this year by Lazare Press. A podcast I’ve been involved in is on course to create our third effort, an interview with soundscape artist and musician Sylvie McCormac. 

Illiteratty has been learning how to practice online, first with Jamulus and more recently with JamKazam, and being able to play together in real time for the first time since September.

These are all good things, and arguably they might not be proceeding with the same head of steam without… dare I say it… the limitations imposed by COVID.

How can this be?

How can this be? We know that worse is down the road: Climate change will make COVID look like a walk in the park, and human beings seem incapable of meeting to take collective action on it, or to move beyond the system which has condemned us to it. Other pandemics are on the way; I heard an Irish international representative to the UN opining that “this is not the big one” (cheery thought). 

And yet in the eye of the storm, most of the lashing winds have died down, folks are driving around, shopping and watching Netflix as though these are just the things to do when you’re next to the abyss. An eerie calm descends; one day blends into the next, since they are basically identical apart from occasional zoom encounters. We sleep later, stay up later, look out the windows and watch the rain fall, and try not to think too hard about the people sleeping in tents in cold, wet parks. 

It is the implacable gaze of the laboratory rabbit in its hutch, only ever so vaguely aware of its fate but hunkering down for dear life over a lettuce leaf.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with a song (no music for it yet) from the upcoming book.

Not Just Yet

You’d think that someone would get wise
You’d think that someone might get smart
& stop making those big lies
& stop breaking their own heart
After so many failured experiments
After so much useless despair
It’s time to change the music
it’s finally time for that someone to care

Ah, but not just yet
I got a job, I got a place to live
Not just yet
The stuff I did yesterday was pretty fine
Not just yet
I haven’t lost everything, I got so much to give
Not just yet
There’s a sweet little future, gonna make it mine

Everything is altering
All the certainties are washing away
The big dream is faltering
There’s something wicked coming this way
After so much confusion
After so much useless despair
It’s time to drop the illusion
it’s finally time for someone to care

Ah, but not just yet
I have to text all my friends, let them know where I am
Not just yet
When I get my cheque I’m gonna go downtown
Not just yet
Maybe she’ll be there too
Not just yet
I can’t wait for my date to come round

I can’t wait for my date to come round
I can’t wait for my date to come round
I got a date with a little devil
Someone who’s been on my mind
She’s hot, I’m not, on the level
I’m afraid to get left behind
Believe me I know it’s all smoke & mirrors
I know you get back what you put in
I know someone has to pay the musicians
I know the end is coming, it’s time to begin

Ah, but not just yet
Maybe I’ll win the lottery
Not just yet
Maybe it won’t happen to me
Not just yet
I don’t have time to worry
Not just yet
It’s not as bad as it can be
Not just yet