SURVIVING SELF-ISOLATION: RECOMMENDATIONS FROM AMELIA COBURN | 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.

Teesside’s ukulele maestro Amelia Coburn was due to play Westgarth Social Club on 10th April. Here she talks about what’s been keeping her sane in self-isolation and how she’s keeping her creative juices flowing.

RedHanded Podcast

Take two fabulous hosts, Hannah and Suruthi, a selection of spine-tingling true crime cases, add a generous dollop of sarcasm and dry British wit, and you have RedHanded the podcast. Although the prospect of a true crime podcast does not sound ‘calming’ for many, I love winding down by listening to tales of religious cults or unsolved mysteries. It kept me sane when I was travelling on 16-hour bus journeys in Mexico last year, and is keeping me sane now I’m in self-isolation!

Any Lisa Hannigan album

I defy anyone to listen to a song by Lisa Hannigan and not instantly fall in love with her. I absolutely adore her whimsical lyrics and hauntingly beautiful vocals. She’s absolutely brilliant and been a big influence to my song-writing as of late – I sometimes find it hard to write new material without looking to her music for inspiration!


This has become a new hobby of mine in the last week. You can find plenty of versions of this classic 80s arcade game online, and it is really fun, albeit very addictive. My highscore currently stands at 200,000…If you find it too easy, try out ‘Ms Pacman’ for a challenge!

Ricardo Cavolo – 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die

This is a really lovely book. It’s calming to leaf through Cavolo’s colourful and vibrant illustrations and read his handwritten love letters to some of your favourite musicians, or better yet, discover new artists you’d never listened to.

Experimenting with sounds on Garageband

I only recently discovered the joy of having the Garageband application on my phone. It’s helped me not only record some quick demos from the comfort of my bedroom, but it’s helped keep my creative juices flowing. I’ve even been experimenting with the wide array of instruments and drumbeats included on the software. Who knows, there could be a quarantine techno album on the cards…ha!

Embracing it

We haven’t much choice in the matter, so I suppose I came to terms with self-isolation by embracing this time to take life slowly. Whilst still trying to stay focussed on academic and creative outlets, I’m equally taking the time each day to write a bullet journal, cook new recipes, read more books – things I wouldn’t have otherwise made time for. It’s been strangely nice to just take a step back from a formerly hectic schedule, and press the reset button.

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