SURVIVING SELF-ISOLATION: RECOMMENDATIONS FROM DUTTY MOONSHINE BIG BAND | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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April would have been a month packed with excellent gigs, theatre and comedy shows – many of which we’d have previewed and reviewed. We didn’t want to ignore the contribution these artists (and promoters) make to the region, so we asked some of them to give you a few tips on how you can spend your time in isolation.

Oxford-based Dutty Moonshine Big Band fuse jazz with grime and hip-hop in a highly original show. Their O2 Academy show has been rescheduled for Tuesday 22nd September, and they also play Lindisfarne Festival. Here they offer their tips on staying sane in isolation.

As someone who’s bipolar with a chronic anxiety problem, staying indoors is bread and butter for me. So gather round and welcome to my domain; let me give you some pointers on how to not go crazy and how to make the most of your time.

1. While the kettle is brewing, make your bed and do one small chore before that first sip of your cuppa. Small achievements lead to big achievements. If you want to get around to doing all those things about the house you’ve been avoiding, this is how you start.

2. You got the time, now put in the hours. Find some new music theory to tackle, something you can really sink your teeth in, like learning how to improvise over Coltrane Changes (look up why Giant Steps is the most feared song in jazz on YouTube).

3. If you have to work from home, get dressed into at least smart casual. Slobbing it in PJs all the time is only fun for a couple of days and not conducive to productivity.

4. Start as many ideas as you like and, even if you think they’re shit, document/record them in rough and label it properly. You’ll quickly build up a pool of resources should you get creatively stuck in the future.

5. Learn how to turn your bog-standard cooking ingredients into fancier meals. Sauces are great to learn, lots of techniques that can transform a meal.

6. Make sure you have a clock on and clock off time. Even if you just do a half day of creativeness a day and clock off to slob about for the rest.

7. My tips for leisure reading: all the Discworlds, the Sherlock Holmes back catalogue (free on most e-readers) and The Goon (graphic novel series).

8. Learn a bit more about your industry. Whether it’s the basics, such as when you get big enough you can go onto a thing called a VS Deal for your shows. Or perhaps delve into TED Talks about music. I saw one on Copyrighting All The Melodies To Avoid Accidental Infringement and haven’t stopped thinking about it: Also, the MU, PPL and PRS are drowning in resources and articles you can read.

9. Do you fully know how PPL & PRS work? Get cracking, it’s money you’re throwing down the toilet if not. Are you skint? Did you know you can back track a couple of years’ worth of shows if you’ve not been on top of it?

10. And lastly, what I’m personally doing to while away the time on my downtime: PlayStation. I personally love battle royale games: Fortnite, Apex Legends and going to try Warzone. For one person games check out Control (wow, that’s an engaging story), Witcher 3 and Spiderman. All will help you joyfully lose some hours.

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