“Latest News: Lessons (1st January 2021)”
8 minute read
2020 has been one seriously messed up year.
I mean, we could try and paint a rosy little picture as to what the year of the great pandemic has taught us, but I’m feeling fresh out of optimism today.
So instead, I’m going to declare that the coronavirus pandemic has been one great big steaming pile of horse shit. Not only that, but it’s a great big steaming pile of horse shit that I just happen to have stepped into while wearing a brand new pair of shiny white trainers. And those trainers are now ruined.
Fuck you Covid!
I think that pretty much covers how I feel right now, but what about you dear reader? How has the year treated you?
Are you managing to remain positive about things? Or do you feel as though you’ve had a pair of perfectly good trainers ruined too?
Feel free to post your comments below and don’t hold back. You too can take this opportunity to raise your middle finger and throw a barrage of abuse at 2020.
In all seriousness, I’d started out feeling quite positive about the situation and I’d had great optimism for the months that lay ahead. My adventurous nature grasped onto the newfound global pandemic status like it was an opportunity to see the world from a new perspective.
This lasted for a decent amount of time, and the first wave of negativity only really hit when I finally came to realise that we wouldn’t be encountering any zombies. The apocalypse had really failed to deliver in this respect.
When lockdown took hold and all our freedoms were taken away, living alone became difficult. I’ve lived the bachelor life for many years and it’s a lifestyle that I’ve become very much accustomed to, but during a nationwide lockdown it pushed me to the limit. Loneliness became a very real thing.
Zoom calls and House Party chats were fun for a while, but the novelty of these soon wore off. It was no substitute for the real thing, and the fact that we’ve evolved to be a social species became all too apparent.
The end of lockdown couldn’t come quick enough; nor could that first haircut.
When I wrote those first two posts at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, I genuinely thought that I’d spend a lot of my time writing and sharing my experience with you. But in truth, I actually found myself cutting off from the world. I also had a complete social media blackout, distancing myself from the covid-crazed news feeds.
In the end I reached a point of not even knowing what the current status of the pandemic was. The zombies could’ve been on their way after all and I wouldn’t have even known about it until the day I’d be looking out of my kitchen window and I’d find myself face-to-face with one of the rotten bastards.
That would’ve definitely upset my morning coffee.
But beyond this weird up and down cycle of positive and negative outlooks, lessons have been learned.
For one reason or another, this year has enabled me to become more patient than I’ve ever been in my life, accepting that the things we want most in this world don’t necessarily come quickly. And sometimes, they don’t come at all.
Consequently, it has also taught me that much of what happens in our lives is completely out of our control. Trying to control such things is a fight that we can never win, and the more we try to take control, the worse we feel.
There is great freedom in learning how to identify the things that we have control over and those that we don’t. Generally speaking, this means that we’re only really able to be in control of the actions we take and the perspectives we have.
Trying to hold onto that which we cannot grasp is exhausting. It is also impossible. But by letting go and allowing things to unfold as they will, you can find peace.
This year has taught me how to let go, and when to let go. And because of this I feel a much greater sense of ease in my life.
One of the hardest things this year has been the inability to live my life in the ways that make me who I am. And what I mean by that is; my life has very much felt like an existence, rather than something I’ve really been living.
Holidays were cancelled, trips were cancelled, events were cancelled, and every single gig I had booked was cancelled. Being in lockdown took away all sense of adventure from my life, and with restrictions being in place as to where we could go and who we could see, I couldn’t even find adventure on my doorstep anymore.
But it is live music that I’ve missed the most. For the past two decades I’ve been a regular at music venues and festivals and music has become such an integral part of my life that I feel incomplete without it. During the miserable period of lockdown it was music that kept me sane.
After moving to a new temporary working location and doubling my daily commute, and after standing in socially-distanced queues to battle my way to the bare shelves of the supermarket, I’d return home feeling mentally drained.
But within minutes of plugging my phone in and pressing play, music would fill the room and balance would be restored. Memories of gigs gone past would come back to me and I’d remember what it felt like to be alive.
Because the thing that makes live music so special is not just the music, but the people. I wrote about this a few months ago (check out this article – “I’d Forgotten How To Live (in Praise of Feeder)”) when I wrote about the connection between band and audience and the energy that is created when people are unified by a shared passion.
And that is why I’ve been stunned by recent political comments that suggest artists should retrain in other lines of work. Whether such comments have been misconstrued, badly worded, or whether they were intended in exactly the way in which they’ve been received, my point is that we need the arts now more than ever. And that means more than just music.
Our mental health has never been more at risk than it is right now, and it is the honest expression of art that gives us all something to connect with and to believe in.
To every single person that is out there creating their art, and to every single person who connects with that art, thank you. You are all such fucking beautiful people.
Let’s hope we can all share a beer and dodge a crowd surfer real soon.
While we’re on the subject of showing our appreciation to all the amazing people out there, I’d like to take a moment to show some gratitude and respect to one particular individual.
Readers of the site may already be familiar with the sites official ‘super-fan’, Katy, who resides on the island of Ibiza. Katy has been a follower of Lossul.com right from its very first year, and her enthusiasm for the site has never diminished.
In fact, there have been many occasions where I’ve found myself side-tracked by life and have been a little slow in creating new content, only to find myself tagged into a post on social media that contains a friendly little reminder to get off my arse and get something written.
And in all honesty, I’ve sometimes needed it, and Katy has given me that much needed kick up the backside.
But there was one post in particular that left me completely speechless.
Back in the early days I’d been sent a photo in which Katy was sporting a custom-made Lossul.com hoodie. She told me that she’d got this made so that she could wear it while travelling and to help get the name out there. What an amazing gesture!
But this support went to a whole other level when I received a set of photos on Instagram that showed a tattoo artist working on a ladies arm.
And it turned out that this arm belonged to Katy.
It also turned out that the tattoo was taking her commitment to the site to a whole other level.
After seeing this I couldn’t help but feel a much greater sense of responsibility for the site and so I immediately extended the ownership of the Lossul.com domain to make sure that the website stays exactly where it is!
And even coronavirus hasn’t stopped her from promoting the name.
With all sincerity and from the bottom of my heart, thank you Katy for your continued support. This website wouldn’t be the same without you and every single message, article comment, and kick up the bum has been appreciated. Thank you.
Despite the dullness of lockdown, it appears that some people are getting creative with their attempts to keep themselves occupied.
Can you remember when I met up with Richard and Emily Gottfried for that very first Meeting the Dull Men of Great Britain article? Here’s the link for if you missed it the first time round.
Just recently Richard informed me about an appropriately ‘dull’ pastime that’s been keeping them occupied during the pandemic. With one eye focussed on staying fit and active and with a love of nostalgia in the other, this crazy golf loving pair began seeking out old, lost, and abandoned shops.
You can check out their blogs by using the links below:
And finally I’d like to round off this Latest News post by keeping a promise that I made some time ago. Admittedly this is coming a few months late, but in my last post I talked about the lengths I was going to in order to keep myself entertained during lockdown. And one of those things was the mention of having indoor penalty shoot-outs.
Yes, I’m being serious.
I’d asked readers to nominate two football teams that I could pitch against each other, and then I’d take five penalties for each team and post the results.
It felt like a good idea at the time, but as I sit here writing about this it now sounds a little bit daft. In fact I’d say it’s downright ludicrous. But hey, that’s the kind of thing that lockdown did to us.
What’s even more ludicrous is that I’m now stood in my dining room with a football positioned some three feet in front of me and I’m about to see if I can kick the ball and curl it into my downstairs toilet.
But please don’t be alarmed by that. I’ve put the seat down.
Anyway, I received just one solitary nomination for teams, meaning that my idea was clearly a raging success. But because of this nomination I now have the responsibility of pitting FC Barcelona and Liverpool head-to-head.
So here goes.
First, there’s a coin toss. Liverpool win (heads) and they decide to take the first penalty. They do so, and, GOOOOAL! Liverpool are one up.
A confident Barcelona step forward and strike the ball, but, NOOOO! They hit the goal post (door frame). The crowd (non-existent) are shocked.
Liverpool have the advantage, their confidence is up, and they smash the ball into the top corner. They’re now two up, but an unfazed Barcelona smash in their first successful penalty.
It’s 2-1 to Liverpool.
Both teams successfully put away their third penalties, but when Liverpool step forward to take their fourth there is an unexpected injury (I trod on a plug). Despite this, Liverpool shake it off (bless you Taylor Swift) and score their fourth penalty. So too, do Barcelona.
Liverpool step forward to take their fifth, and potentially final, penalty. There’s a pause, the player stumbles (wary of upturned plugs), then the ball is smashed. But, NOOOO! The goalkeeper (toilet brush) stops the penalty.
The crowd (let’s pretend there is one) go crazy and Barcelona begin to believe. They now have one final penalty and one final chance to bring the shoot out level.
The tension is almost unbearable.
Barcelona place the ball on the penalty spot (a roughed up patch of carpet), take three steps back, breathe deeply, and then BOOM! The ball hurtles towards the goal, cutting through the air at an astonishing speed (not really, this is a foam ball), and…
The ball goes wide, and Barcelona drop to their knees (that plug really hurt).
Liverpool go crazy!
Barcelona are in tears (that fucking plug)!
It’s game over.
Liverpool win 4-3.
Well that’s it for this time, so all that’s left is for me to wish you all a happy new year.
I know things are still bonkers. I know Covid-19 is still with us. But here’s hoping to a much brighter 2021 where we can all come back together again and enjoy some fun, freedom, and lots of adventures.
Stay safe. Stay sane. And stay awesome.
Oh my god, how heart melting & special is that! 🙂
I cannot find the words to express just how much this means to me, thank you from the deepest core of my heart. I’m so touched!! THANK YOU FOR INCLUDING ME IN YOUR AMAZING POST! I’m so overwhelmed right now! Thank you for this!
There’s a meaning behind each of my tattoos, so I have never and will never regret having your blog name tattooed on my arm. Thank you for allowing the honor. …….5 years of blogging! You have really come a long way. It’s easy to relate to your posts. You’ve lifted me out of holes deeper than hell. The best inspiration I get for my travels is from you.
I’m not trying to force you to post every day, but the fact that I WANT you to means that I really love the posts you do publish. I can’t help it if I want more! That’s inspiration. So if you’re inspiring me (or others), you’re right on track! You make me laugh! I love laughing at hilarious/ridiculous posts. Definitely funny personalities for the win on your blog I love. (Dull Men) Your personality shines through in your posts.
If you’ve ever experienced a nightmare that you struggled to wake up from and woke up screaming and covered in sweat, you would know why that word best describes 2020. I’m really looking forward to relaxing my shoulders again. It has been a ‘year of missing,’ missing friends and family and life events, missing traditions and making new memories, missing feelings of well-being, joy, safety.
I am hopeful that we will have learned to take nothing for granted. I can’t help but smile when I think about all the good stuff that still lies ahead and all the memories that will come with it—the trips I still have to take, the books I still need to read, and the love I still have to give.
As for the penalty: VERY REALISTIC! (HAHAHA…) 🙂 Why was the entire Barcelona defense sleeping??? #TeamBarcelona Congratulation to Liverpool.
I wish you a magical year of motivation. Keep that writing mojo flowing. 🙂 Next time if you’re having a little trouble with that nasty thing called writing, here’s my advice:
In the face
With a book.
Chances are, it’ll slither away real fast. (hahaha…) 🙂
Thanks for always giving me your attention, support and mostly your genuine friendship, it has been a blessing to my life. Stay safe, my friend!
A big hug
Hi Katy, and thank you as always for leaving your comments. First of all, I’m so sorry for this being such a late reply. As I mentioned in my most recent newsletter, a combination of life and the pandemic has kept me distracted from my writing. My mojo had also been lost for a while. As such, even replying to these comments has taken me an age. My sincere apologies.
Thank you for leaving so many kind words. I won’t reflect on them too much as I fear it would give me such a big head that I’d never fit it through my front door…and I have to go to work in the morning, hahah. But from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I am truly grateful for your words and am completely humbled to know what all this means to you. It’s truly an honour that you felt Lossul worthy of being including amongst your tattoos, and I most definitely take all this as motivation to keep writing. Even if I’m not always posting as fast as I’d like, rest assured that I will always be here, Lossul will not be going away, and I will always do what I can to help keep you and every other reader smiling and feeling uplifted.
Thank you as always my friend,
Really lovely to see this pop into my inbox and that you are writing again. A great read as always 🙂
Happy New Year to you & the memories of 2020 will make the memories yet to be made in 2021 all the sweeter x
Ah thank you so much Rebecca and my apologies for such a late reply. I’m so glad you’re still reading my stuff, and I hope to get some more new work out soon. Hoping you’re having a great 2021 so far.
Interesting read. Lockdown is tough in many different ways for all kinds of people. What keeps me going is being in touch with my values. You don’t need to make massive, life altering steps, even small steps keep my values alive and keep me in step with who I want to be as a person even when my physical being is restrained by lockdown laws. It may not increase our subjective feeling of ‘happiness’ but then humans aren’t designed to be happy, that’s not how we evolved. But we can keep our values in sight that mean we are choosing how we want to be as people, even when those choices are restricted. 🙂
Hi Helen. Thank you for reading and commenting, and my apologies for posting such a late reply.
This is definitely an interesting take on lockdown…staying in touch with your values…I like that. Yes it would be so easy to let our values slip or lose sight of what matters to us when our lives have been affected in ways we never imagined were possible. Who’d have ever thought we’d have experienced something like this. And as our mental health has had the potential to take a battering like never before, it has most certainly had the potential to affect our values too.
If you’ve been able to keep in touch with your values and show that kind of resilience then I take my hat off to you. With that kind of mental strength it means you could come out of all this in a better position than you were before it all started. Despite us being in a position of feeling restrained and in some ways controlled, your attitude about choice actually grants us autonomy – we can all be free, despite being locked down.
I hope you’re having a great 2021 so far and I wish you all my best.
Great read as always, we love your site’s so hoping to see more posts like this soon! Covid taught us to pause life here in the hippie hq. It was the most life changing event we have come to heads with but I have to say it taught us complete and utter gratitude and appreciation for the little things in life. For the longest time we couldn’t buy flour, then friends rallied over a month and we were able to bake a cake. It will always be the greatest tasting food we ate. Our neighbors and community were amazing, swapping plants and food and daily garden chats to keep spirits up. No person came out of this untouched and there were most definitely challenges we faced but as our gratitude grew we were able to enhance the mindset of happy. We’ve made some long term life changes from this that include environmental and the way we live our life. Hopefully to we were also able to help friends that have faced difficult circumstances by challenging the worrying part of us all and turn it into warrior thoughts. This is a terrible thing to happen to the human race but I feel the world stood United in its troubles and on the same page for the first time in our history. It didn’t matter of you were rich or poor, you couldn’t go out, you couldn’t get bog roll and you were not protected. Due to that we had to unite to find a cure, nature took a bit back and we all learnt from this. It allowed us the the time to think about what truly made us happy and sacrifice of all our usual life districations enabled us to take a good long look at ourself, ( after the initial month of drinking and gaining a drone in covid weight).
Loved reading your posts and look forward to many more! – Laura and mike X
Hi Laura and Mike, it’s so amazing to hear from you both. Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting!
I love your insights, and who’d have thought we’d have gone through what we’ve been through these past 16 months. Although we may not be back to full normality just yet, we’re certainly on our way. Can you believe how things were last March and April? No toilet roll, struggling to buy some of the simplest of groceries, and as you say…to even manage to get the ingredients to bake a cake was like a major win in life.
Although I wouldn’t want to go back to things being like that, I do agree that so many lessons have been learned…life altering lessons…the main thing being the realisation of what really matters in life. I took a lot from the different lockdowns. The first one was a time like no other, when we were really forced to slow down. I’m normally such a busy person but for the first time in my adult life I suddenly had a blank diary…but I loved it…nowhere to go…no-one to see…and I just loved pottering around my garden, enjoying the lovely weather, and slowing life down. I slept better, ate better, exercised more. I actually enjoyed it…well, apart from the supermarket battles and empty shelves.
But those last two lockdowns…the final one in particular, through winter, was brutal. Whereas I thrived in that first lockdown, I began to miss people so much that it was almost unbearable. This really did open my eyes to a few things, and to what (and who) really matters in my life. As for now, I’m just ready for normality to return, but while bringing life back to a slower pace and making time for the people who matter most.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and it’s truly heart-warming to hear about the sense of community you’ve shared. The pandemic really did bring the best out in a lot of people didn’t it.
I’ve really missed you guys. Please do keep in touch and drop me a message. Feel free to send me an email, or I don’t know if you’re both on What’s App? But I’d love to hear all your latest.
Take care guys,
Elliot 🙂 x