Playoff basketball and baseball back in town: The chance just to be unabashed fans of the game, bleacher creatures cheering whenever we goddamn well feel like it – leaving the game exhilarated enough, win or lose, to grab a couple of gloves and toss a ball around, or shoot some hoops ourselves, dreaming “nothing but net” as the ball, oh so close!, clunks off the rim.
Bringing some of the same engagement and freedom of expression back to the concert hall: maybe even a distinction, like the one emerging between full capacity concerts for the damn-the-torpedoes” maskless and the “is it safe to come out?” masked – between “You should know that if you clap after the third movement of Tchaik 6 the program says I am allowed to kill you” versus the “whoohoo!” outbursts of some baseball-loving jazz fan.
And in either case, leaving the hall exhilarated enough to open the piano lid or dusty instrument case as we plunk or pick or blow away.
Clarity: it’s not altogether clear to me what our provincial government’s medical talking heads mean these days when they say they are “still following the science”: now that my beloved flip phone has bitten the digital dust, I can smartly inform you that a google search for “science of elections” (in quotes) yields 344,000 results in .64 seconds.
Music on street corners and the resumption of “Cafe TO” (street-encroachment for patios from spring to fall): not just as a pandemic-related exception to the rule but (our older and wiser sister-city Montreal has known this for decades) as part of how northern cities need to breathe in and out depending on the weather.
Not throwing the virtual baby out with the pandemic bathwater: yes, embracing the return of live musical encounters, planned and spontaneous, indoor and outdoor, intimate and spectacular, on porches and street corners and grassy banks, in backyards and parks and festivals. Using all the virtual skills we’ve acquired over the past couple of years, but not just to reach the temporarily locked-down audiences who already knew us. Instead, once music makers are throwing sounds through real air to live audiences (no matter how large or small), to simultaneously make it possible for audiences we don’t yet know (shut in, far away, unaware, without the wherewithal) to see the backs of our heads as we listen. And to feel right there.
Trust me on this: I would sacrifice a dozen fancy cross-fades, even audio quality, for the pleasure of seeing the back of a head in the frame, even the shiny back of the head of an oldie like me – just for the pleasure of proof that what I am watching is live.
Exception to the rule (still on the topic of shiny backs of heads): Unless of course I recognized it as the back of the head of the gent in front of me who, at a big event the other night, stiffened so visibly I heard his spine crack when the person asked to “do the land acknowledgment” (I could already see his eyes rolling, right through the back of his head) uttered the words “stolen land.” Funny how we recognize it when it’s happening in the present, right before our eyes but far away. Yet we won’t look back in time that way, especially if it’s home truth.
I am looking forward to the day when we embrace the act of acknowledging the land as effortlessly as we accept giving thanks for food around a table.