Van Morrison has written new songs about how he does not believe in virology and personally resents being blocked from performing in front of a huge audience in multiple cities because of the coronavirus pandemic. In an announcement on his official website, "Born To Be Free, As I Walked Out, and No More Lockdown are songs of protest which question the measures the Government has put in place. Morrison makes it clear in his new songs how unhappy he is with the way the Government has taken away personal freedoms."
To be fair, Morrison, long the Oscar the Grouch of mellow grating, is referring to the confusing and ineffective policies of the British government, which are a train wreck, but he hints that every nation on earth is in on the conspiracy.
As his statement says, "The singer-songwriter, who is campaigning for performance venues to open at full capacity again, feels strongly that lockdown is in danger of killing live music. Without a date for reopening fully in 2020, many venues will shut down for good." While this is certainly a danger and a serious issue, many physicians, researchers, and humans counter-argue that without a treatment or vaccine for the virus, many humans will shut down for good.
He will be performing his songs live later this month at the London Palladium, proving that he embraces contradictions.
For a brief primer on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chaotic approach to the pandemic, which has resulted in one of the highest infection rates in Europe:
It's going to be a long time before traditional indoor venues can successfully, consistently, reopen. Drive-through venues seem to be the new option, which is literally a return to stadium rock, but might be the only way outdoors as winter comes. They offer the big crowds and poor sound quality of old-fashioned outdoor concerts with none of the sense of being part of something bigger, but it's much harder to forget where you parked. Potato-Potato.
A lot of indoor venues will likely go out of business; but many of them started as scrappy little invaders at a time when older nightclubs had collapsed. This is not to say it's good that these places might not survive, but new clubs for a new world are more likely than the permanent death of clubs. In many cities in the 1950s, the live music tax rules changed to adjust to the new era of recorded music, which led to the end of big bands except in larger venues and created loopholes that opened the smaller stages up to rock and roll; the survival, the rebirth of indoor clubs (next year?) might require a similar re-thinking of regulations. There might be new architectural requirements, not for the first time in history. The damage to our current world, however, is not worth the price, and it's increasingly clear it could have been avoided.
No song captures the mindset of a five-year-old better than this, from the Backyardigans. The concept of being big, powerful; this fades (or shrinks) the closer one gets to actual maximum size. Some are crushed by that, some men over-compensate with Cuban heels and talking louder, but most people like the view from their own face by then. At five, though, when you're the smallest creature in the living room, it fires the imagination and fills the soul to be the biggest creature in the backyard.