It seems like a lifetime ago that we were arguing over the validity of cancelling Munich High-End 2020. It was just two weeks ago. It seems equally crazy that a week ago, people were saying the postponement of AXPONA was a step too far. And yet today, like tens of millions of workers around the world, I’m writing this from a makeshift office in my house and photographing with bits of card and Ikea table lamps.
The full impact of coronavirus on the public and our economies is yet to be felt, and many still think it hype and conspiracy. And do that in some degree of social isolation and lockdown. Whether that lockdown is for weeks or even months is still uncertain. Disruption in almost everything is rife.
However, the good news is we are well stocked for the current and ongoing unpleasantness, and if we are all locked in for weeks on end, we will continue posting up regular reviews, music interviews, blog posts and more. We will also print issues as usual. Naturally, given like all magazines we run a very tight team, should one or more of our team develop the virus, there might be temporary quiet weeks. But writing online means only your keyboard knows if you are coughing and I can write with a high fever just so long as the hallucinations don’t monkey skyscraper my toaster clams.
Better yet, the audio industry is resilient. We’ve weathered storms before – admittedly not the kind of storms that put people on life-support machines, but we survived the MP3 Wars and the rise and fall of home cinema. We’ll weather this.
Part of the reason for such confidence is audiophiles are almost made to survive this kind of disease. OK, so many of us fall into the age ranges and have the co-morbidities where critical illness is more common, but we spend hours locked away in our man-caves listening to music at the best of times. We know how to self-isolate… no biggie. Some are talking about what hobbies they can take up now that watching sport on TV is off the radar… well, we have long had the answer. Better yet, many of our man-caves are never, ever visited by other people, and that weird science project of strange new life-forms that lives under the pile of cables in the corner is only serving to stress-test our immune systems. In fact, when hopefully the world begins to return to its new normal in a few months, there will likely be an audiophile who only emerged from playing a particularly intense LP session because he ran out of Pot Ramen/Pot Noodle and peanut butter, completely oblivious to there having been a COVID-19 pandemic.
When all this is done, we will rebuild and start again. While it’s happening, we will tweak our systems and play our music. In the meantime, keep calm and carry on. Follow the guidelines laid down by the government and the healthcare professionals. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, only touch your face with your elbow, avoid people who are coughing or have a fever, give everyone the kind of distance you might give to someone who last washed in the 1970s, and avoid public gatherings and unnecessary travel. If you are in your more mature years or have some underlying health concerns, these aren’t guidelines… they are rules to live by for the next few months, even to the point of having Skype meetings with the family instead of family gatherings.