One of the more disheartening aspects of the lost year of 2020 was the arrival of yet another email to let me know another gig had been cancelled. One by one they tumbled, one at least, Peter Frampton’s farewell tour, permanently cancelled. We looked forward to this year because it could not possibly be as bad as last year, but yesterday I received an email to let me know that a gig, rescheduled from last year to this had again been rescheduled for 2022. I just hope that Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent of the Zombies, who will both be in their 77th years by then, are still functioning. It did make me wonder, though. Even with the vaccines on the way, could this year still be as bad as last?
Ever the pessimist, I think this year has the potential to be every bit as crap as last year. My Zombies gig will not be the only one to fall foul of COVID. I can’t see any major concerts or festivals happening at least until the autumn and certainly not events like Glastonbury where it is likely that the vast majority of attendees would not have been vaccinated. It would be a mass COVID party. I don’t see crowds at football stadiums until the autumn and with major events like The British Lions tour to South Africa and the Olympics I can only think of two words: no chance.
I wonder about holidays, too. If anyone has booked a holiday for Easter, it’s best to assume it won’t be happening. For the summer, the odds are slightly better but pretty well everything hangs on two things: populations here and abroad getting vaccinated and COVID-19 not mutating into something different and locking us all down again. Even if things improve dramatically by the autumn, the virus will not have gone away. It will never go away.
All these cancelled gigs, cancelled sporting events, cancelled holidays are nothing compared to the human cost of COVID. In the UK, we are hurtling towards 100,000 deaths, a figure we are certain to reach by the end of January. Add to that, the fears are that new cases may be running at 250,000 a day, five times the positive tests announced today, and we are not our of the woods, but very deep in them. This sad story is a long way from being over.
I think we will see Wimbledon on telly this year, even if there are no spectators present, as we will see the British Grand Prix procession and the Open Golf Championship. Many things will go ahead, in empty soulless venues. And when pubs open, I’ll bet we will still be socially distanced, being served at tables.
My gloomy predictions represent a best case scenario. They all hang on the current vaccines being successful and on society slowly lurching back to normal. They all depend on a clear highway, not obstructed by further COVID debris, economic crises, terrorism and a million other things that could all go wrong. Even the weather.
I’m still hoping that later on this year, things will be better than they are now and were last year. The odds are that they will be, but as with any bets, it’s still a gamble. That’s why I am not betting on anything. Just hoping for the best while expecting the worst.