David and Ally

Ally and David

David Baty in conversation with

Ally is a musician, making a living from recording and live performance. Alongside the health emergency, the lockdown created a major challenge to the livelihoods of people in the creative industries. We chart tensions between the health crisis, personal experience of lockdown and the unfolding impact on life and work.

Photo Credit: Amber Pollack

Note 1: March-May

The week before lockdown, Ally looked forward to a summer of festivals, and to recording the first tracks for a new album.

On 24th March, the recording project was put on hold. Everyone assumed though that even if early season live bookings were postponed, later events would still happen. That optimism gradually faded, along with the summer’s income, to be replaced by stay-home routines, concerns for relatives, and a lot of online socials.

A couple of things have provided hope. Three tracks intended for a 2018 album were rediscovered and will shortly be released; and there has been an unexpected amount of time available for a camper van conversion.

The fear now is that ‘nothing can be how it was’. Getting back to work safely could be challenging, with pressure on venues and studios, and it’s hard to imagine how social gatherings and interactions can work with any of the ‘old normal’.

Note 2: May-July

The last three months has compressed the world, with life and work focused on a single room and a few shared areas. I look forward to grabbing some normality; even so, there is still a level of anxiety to leave the house – ‘wallet keys phone’, adding ‘face mask and hand sanitiser’.

A deeper fear for my generation is the potential drag on life prospects for a big segment of young people. None of that has yet been properly discussed.

It’s been hard to create structure. Getting outdoors, some self-belief, Zooms with friends, and having projects to look forward to have been really important. Being the nominated shopper for the rest of the house was actually exciting.

We were boosted by a great response to the recent release of some unpublished studio sessions. Seemed to cheer people up! It worked so well we’re now focused short term on recording plans, although beyond that I can’t quite envisage how live performance will work any time soon. This is a big worry across the creative industries and risks challenging the viability of smaller festivals, theatres and other arts venues.

What I miss, and can’t yet recreate in the current conditions, is going to shows, playing shows, hugging friends and family… and not being anxious to leave the house.

Photo Credit: Amber Pollack

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