Last night, our Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the toughest restrictions on our freedom of movement so far, in his mission to minimise the spread of the coronavirus in the UK. Whereas before, we could go outside whenever we wanted to – providing we stayed at least two metres away from anyone we didn’t live with, all shops could stay open, and many restaurants were able to offer take-out or delivery services, we’re now left with only our food stores and pharmacies open, and outside movement has been limited only to trips for food or medicine, and an exercise allowance of one venture outdoors per day.
This provides quite a stark contrast to the lives we, as King’s Singers, normally lead. Over the past ten years, I’ve grown very used to geographically extraordinary days. Waking up in London, seeing friends for breakfast, hopping on a flight and having dinner with friends in New York or Los Angeles. Going to bed in a hotel in Japan, and giving a concert in mainland China the following evening. I clearly remember waking up in Beijing last Summer and being in the Hertfordshire countryside for a friend’s wedding by 5pm that afternoon. In short, covering large distances very quickly isn’t something that often fazes me any more.
The prospect of staying in my flat for at least three weeks is, for me, a much greater challenge. Suddenly, my morning commute (when I’m at home) isn’t one that takes me from East to Central London in time for a 6:30am spin class, it’s the five metre turn from my bedroom to the living room in time a workout broadcast on Instagram Live at 8am. Instead of finding a coffee shop to work over a mid-morning cup of fresh mint tea, I saunter from my desk, admiring the views of my couch and bookshelves, to the kitchen, and gaze out of the window at the flats opposite to prepare my brew. Suddenly, my office, gym, cinema, favourite restaurants and coffee shops have all been condensed into a single room. It’s also where we’re meeting – I sit at my computer and gaze into five different rooms from the other guys’ houses, as we plan for how to make this period as positive as possible.
I won’t lie. As an extrovert, this time isn’t easy. In normal life, I feel so enriched by the all the little interactions that make up a typical day: the smile you share with the cashier at the supermarket; the noises of encouragement that fill the room during an exercise class. These are all going to feel like such a treat when the world returns to normal service, and I hope I’ll remember not to take them for granted in the future.
How are you all coping? What are you doing to keep yourselves positive and occupied? Of course, I hope you’re all safe and healthy, and coping with this unusual time of uncertainty. Please, please let us know if there’s anything we can do to lift your spirits – we may not be touring in person, but we definitely want to stay in touch and keep you entertained in whatever ways we can.
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