Jane Stuart – Writer

Writing about real life Up North: football, ale, food and mental health – with a good dash of humour.

The Corona Diaries: Chapter 11 – That’s Entertainment

Dear reader, what interesting times we are living in. There has been a noticeable shift at LCTV Towers this week and I think we might have finally cracked this lockdown lark. Entertainment is key!

Phase 1 was the Terror Phase: frightened by the frenzy of hysteria whipped up by the government and the media, locked away at home, escaping only once a week for a nervous supermarket sweep. We made the best of life at home, trying desperately to avoid the mental health issues that we knew were inevitable.

Phase 2 was the inevitable Mental Health Breakdown Phase.

Phase 3 is the New New Normal. I feel like I’m coming through the other side and am beginning to glimpse what life will be like when all this is over. And some of it’s kind of cool.

My calendar is starting to fill up again. I’m going to see a couple of my favourite singers in concert soon: David Ford on Sunday night and Duke Special on 12th June. They really are both excellent musicians and I recommend them both.

Indeed I’ve been listening to a lot more music since I’ve been in lockdown. I sometimes listen to music as I work. I’ve been learning to get along with Alexa (not always easy) and she’s been playing me music that’s new to me that I very much enjoy. In particular I’ve been enjoying Canadian artists Jill Barber and Emilie-Claire Barlow as well as Melody Gardot – all of whom have beautiful voices.

Every weekend a full-length musical is aired on YouTube on a channel called The Shows Must Go On. Already we have watched Cats and The Sound of Music – and this weekend it’s Hairspray. It’s a lovely refreshing feel-good interlude to our weekend and a great form of escapism.

Now I’ve started writing again (as promised), I’ve also recommenced my studying and am immersing myself in the writing lifestyle. This is something I started doing after my previous breakdown, but which I’ve let slip this last year while I’ve been busy falling in love and relocating to Blackpool and transferring my job to Manchester and selling my house and vlogging and having my life hijacked by a killer virus. Well I’m finally settled now, so I can get myself back on track.

I’ve been attending events at this week’s Hay Literature Festival, including talks by Claudia Hammond (on rest) and David Crystal (on conversation). How civilised and wonderful is that – to be able to attend a literature festival from my back garden?

I have rediscovered my love of books, currently engrossed in the Stillhouse Lake series by Rachel Caine, but very hungry to start reading all the football books you lovely lot have recommended to me on Twitter and Facebook.

And – get this – we have booked tickets for an ACTUAL REAL LIFE EVENT that we are attending IN PERSON! There’s a pop-up drive-in cinema on a farm in Thornton that’s COVID-safe. How cool is that, going to a drive-in? We’re super excited, I can tell you.

“…my life is finally starting to fall back into place…

Add to that a training session on WordPress and a couple of free writing seminars to continue my upskilling and my life is finally starting to fall back into place. And into a good place. This is my happy place. I’m even considering signing back up with the Open University after a year’s hiatus. I didn’t have time for it this last year (and frankly wasn’t enjoying the course I was on) but time seems abundant these days and I rather fancy the next level Creative Writing course.

I’ve made a guest appearance on a TV game show! I was invited to take part in Fill In My Space, a Blankety Blank style game show hosted by The Lancashire Hotpots. Find out how I got on here:

https://www.pscp.tv/w/cZ_-6zFEWktvWUdyZ3lKRWF8MUx5eEJOV21vWU14Tq8-VIqOA2ugO2bNKVbRxQBimApN_gfUOmoBKbJepRqB?t=4s

And that’s not to mention the new shows we have been producing on LCTV. We’re hosting a weekly football quiz on a Tuesday night, which is such fun to put together:

And our Saturday afternoon livestream football chat show continues to go from strength to strength. Watch our most recent episode here, which includes an impromptu bushtucker trial towards the end:

I certainly won’t be eating THAT again!

So, all-in-all, the entertainment side of things is really starting to thrive in this New New Normal. The arts are coming to the fore. There is no keeping us down. We’ll always be creative for the sake of our own sanity and to bring joy to others. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Dear reader, I could go on (I’ve got a page of notes to whip up into a blog for you) but I’m off to take tea in the garden now before taking in a musical. I’ve even got an ice cream for the interval.

Mmm…

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