Friday on my mind – Fear, fear & more fear; and the magic of music?

By Michael Barker

A regular column by our Editor, reflecting on things (sort of ) to do with Fremantle.

Well, I’m doing what one always does, if not must do, when things start to overwhelm one.

No, not have a cuppa, a bex, and a good lie down – although that’s not such a bad idea – but sitting at my local coffee shop, sipping a soy latte (regular), and writing.

Talk about a ‘moving feast’. Just now I have received the news that the AFL may well be suspended for the foreseeable future. As have many sports, music events, and voluntary events involving more than 500 people.

My Dockers may possibly not be behind closed doors or, indeed, any doors. They might find themselves, like the rest of us, wondering what on earth you do, as a footballer in the AFL, when you’re not playing footy. And when you can’t fly off to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, or help out at a orphanage in South East Asia.

In my case it’s even worse. I’m now fearing – as septuagenarian-ism fast approaches – that, just as they are suggesting in the UK, all over 70s will be required to remain in barracks. Presumably that also means staying a metre and a bit away from our loved one at home!

Whether this war on the Covid-19 virus would also require the seniors’ brigade to register at the local police station, or to carry, at all times, a certified copy of your birth certificate, remains to be seen.

I guess teenagers have been putting up with such indignities for years, having to produce ID to enter licensed premises, and so on.

But still.

The advice from the veterans in Wuhan on how to deal with all this isolation is instructive though. Guo Jing, writing in The Guardian says –

‘Every day, I have tried to get up and exercise, cook and eat, write a diary and do some volunteer work. Taking action and doing things makes you feel better.

‘Everyone has been worrying and I have been restricting the time spent outside. I am isolated here. But human beings are social. So I have been going out every day to interview sanitation workers. I have asked them about their problems and working conditions. This connection has been very real. Talking online to friends has also been a kind of mutual support.’

We senior cits may or may not be allowed out to do some of these things, of course, if this scenario came to pass. But hopefully keeping a journal will prove feasible. Indeed, Friday on my mind is already becoming my escape from the stress!

What I am really pondering though, is how, if at all, my life patterns and those of my loved ones, will change at the end of this Covid journey. Everyone is warning us that the peak period for the virus will be May to August. In other words we have a six month stretch ahead of us. Already cruise lines, sports, music events, workplaces, you name it, are closing down or slimming down for the foreseeable future. How many will reopen, or return to their old selves, and if they do, how many will operate as if nothing has happened in the virus period.

So, I’m thinking that the best way for us to use the next six months, as you do your daily journal, is to prognosticate about how we can make the world, especially our personal worlds, better places after Covid.

Now not everyone believes we humans ever learn anything from disasters. After all, the challenges of climate change seem to get a mixed response from policy makers/politicians at the best of times. Why would a pandemic produce any lasting reactions and changes to our behavioural patterns?

I’m thinking, though, that once we senior citizens are allowed out again, if it comes to that, we might do a bit of domestic travel. Maybe the domestic travel industry will be a beneficiary of these terrible times.

And maybe China and, indeed, all the world’s great polluting and emitting countries (Australia included) will start to see the visible benefits of not putting carbon and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. It’ll be interesting to see if there is a marked downward spike in GHGs when the measurements are taken in, say, six months time.

Well, I can report to you, loyal readers, having got this far in my journal writing this morning, and noting my latte is now reduced to mere froth, that I am feeling a little more chipper than when I sat to contemplate the universe and took the first sip.

Maybe in this time ahead we can think of emulating the Milanese who, after the death of Giuseppe Verdi in 1901, as his hearse wound its way to the cemetery, broke into song. At seven o’clock on a damp, misty morning of 30 January 1901, as the hearse bore his coffin to the cemetery, the crowd along the route apparently began to sing the great ‘Va, pensiero’ chorus from Verdi’s opera Nabucco, which had stopped the show on the first night at La Scala in 1842: ‘Va, pensiero, sull’ali dorate’ (‘Fly, thought, on wings of gold’).

Wouldn’t it be lovely to fill the streets of Freo with music and song?

Well, maybe not.

I expect we’d have to get a commune committee to agree a protocol. Street by street. Votes on what music. How loud. How often.

But then perhaps we could quickly agree a play list of great Freo artists, starting with the senior cits, Lucky Oceans, the Zydercats and so on.

As you can see, my mind is really starting to wander.

By Friday, I may may be a complete wreck!

See you soon, hopefully …

Oh, finally, finally – have you heard the gag: Covid 19, Perth Glory 0?