John and Richard

John Dodds in conversation with
Rick Blaskey

Rick Blaskey is a highly successful music executive and highly unsuccessful football fan. He is a lifelong friend, always in control – until March and Covid 19 arrived on his doorstep. John Dodds is brand strategist at The Sharp End, a jazz radio presenter and a member of 26, Dark Angels and Radio Caroline fan club.

26 weeks reflections

26 weeks? More like 26 years. Or maybe even a lifetime for my friend Rick. A lifetime that flashed by, as he lay in bed with Covid, recounting the tunes that tracked his years.

Years filled with bands, brands, football, family, and friends. Rewinding like a noisy VHS tape that has seen better days.

Our connection goes back over 50 years. Formative years spent together in smoky pubs watching bands destined for success, and dank, decaying grounds watching football teams destined for mediocrity. “Old Times Good Times.”

These 26 weeks have provided a glue that continues to bond us. Rick has fully recovered, lost an uncle to the disease, and sold his house that has been the family home for 21 years. He won’t forget the last 26 weeks, as he embarks on the next stage of his journey in an industry decimated by the pandemic. Many revered artists have lost their lives or their livelihoods, and music venues are under threat of permanent closure. “Boom Boom, Out Go The Lights.”

Our closeness has reminded me that meaningful connection, is all that we really can hope for in this world. For so many people this has been an agonizing time, unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

At a time when leadership counted most, our leaders were counted out. Racked by indecision and poor judgment on both sides of the ocean.

And so, we have found leadership within ourselves.  Those of us lucky enough not to be on the front-line saving lives, while risking their own, have found our own rhythm for the time. Through distancing, and masks that once used to rob stagecoaches and banks, now an essential fashion, safety, and political statement all rolled into one.

It has been a time to recalibrate a life that, pre-Covid, seemed like a souped up Scalextric Lotus ready to spin off at the next turn.

Family has been the rock, daily transatlantic chinwags with impeccably behaved 90-year-old moms, more interested in whether the rubbish is too heavy for the dustmen, than analyzing the confusing array of lockdown missives.

For me, to paraphrase Ian Dury, there have been many “Reasons To Be Cheerful.”

Veggies in the soil
Kettle on the boil
Easy on the toil.

Bikes on the trail
Writing without fail
Coffee in the morning – holy grail.

Dinner with the missus
Getting hugs and kisses
Counting Rovers misses.

Talking on the Zoom
Music every room
Books to lift the gloom.

This time has forged me closer to family and friends, closer to nature, closer to music, closer to thinking about the deeper truth and the master plan. In short, this 26 weeks – “Life’s Been Good To Me So Far.”

My hope is that these 26 weeks are “Once In A Lifetime” and act as a marker for a kinder world, connected by people not machines, and music that fills our hearts and our souls once again. “The Same As It Ever Was.”

John Dodds

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