It’s been 12 months since the COVID lockdown began and now is perhaps a good time to reflect on what people have been doing in the interim. For those previously working in the Arts, there has been no respite, as their livelihoods are entwined with the public at large in a never-ending ‘sabbatical’… Gemma Barnett’s spoken word piece It’s Been A Year addresses this state of affairs, accompanied by Helena Traill’s animation and Celine Love’s soothing acoustic melodies.
There are elements in Barnett’s delivery that tap into a ‘stream of consciousness’-vibe, exuding spontaneity, yet always having an oblique connection to what’s said before.
So what are the ‘former’ Arts professionals doing now? Well they’re ‘hiding in plain sight’, working as baristas or other roles serving the public – though if you’re observant, you’ll recognise who are the singers, actors, comedians who emote the ‘impulse to perform’.
But while actors working in other sectors may find they’re better paid, the tasks ‘don’t feed the soul’. To quote Barnett, when one sees a poem on a train that resonates: “I was meant to drink those words.”
The word associations Barnett conjures are both a longing and fond remembrance of past times, when proximity to people could be taken for granted and a requisite for bonding – emotionally and physically.
Still, not everything during the past year has been bad. In our busy world, where people are digitally in contact 24/7, taking time out to see nature and things that are under our very nose has been rewarding. Even with acting and other creative projects, there are things have come to the fore that would probably never have been ‘discovered’ if we still had ‘high-profile’ projects vying for our attention.
Listening to Barnett’s words and Love’s dulcet tones, It’s Been A Year is the aural equivalent of relaxing in a bath with your favourite book.
© Michael Davis 2021
It’s Been A Year has been commissioned and produced by RJG Productions Limited, in aid of the ‘Bloody Good Period’ charity.