Let's just begin by saying: this isn't a music article.
It is, however, our first article in ten days, and normally we apologise for these extended periods of silence, but not today. Today, we're simply going to explain this silence and hopefully help some people feel better about themselves, if they too are struggling to dish up their normal output.
We'll start by saying this: as much as we say things like "we", and "our" in these articles, the truth is that this website currently has just the one writer, actually. This already makes it difficult to produce articles on a daily basis; sometimes I'm busy, other times last minute events get in the way. At first, I managed to get out around four articles per week, but the last few months have seen a significant slowdown in output, with most weeks only seeing around two articles published.
There are a few reasons for this. With the advent of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns coming into effect, much of the music industry just stopped. No business was immune to this global event and music wasn't either, with festivals and tours being cancelled all over the place. Bits and pieces kept coming on occasion, and of course, the lockdown has enabled musicians to write and record plenty of new music, but in terms of news and stories, the content simply dried up a little.
Still, it would have been easier to keep going had something else not gotten in the way, something that has really hit me in the past month or so: my mental health. The fact that I feel comfortable saying that shows that we're so lucky that today, we live in a world in which mental health is becoming less and less stigmatised, a world where it's okay to admit that you're not okay.
There is a good number of reasons as to why my mental health nosedived, but I won't get into them here. The point is that I simply haven't been in the right place to write. I had no motivation to do so, and though I probably could have forced myself to do them, they just wouldn't have been great. They would have been half-arsed, at best, and I didn't want to put out articles like that. So, my output dried up.
And that's okay.
The world in general has been on somewhat of a downwards trajectory for a few years now, but no-one could have imagined how breathtakingly s*** 2020 would be. Australia burned down, near-WW3, murder hornets in the USA, UK floods, pandemic, lockdown, California burned down, and all this while Brexit somehow still rolls on as well. That's just a brief list but the true list never ends, it seems, and we still have two months to go. The pandemic will certainly roll on into 2021 as well.
It's more than understandable, then, that mental health has followed this trajectory. It's not just me; there is a mental health crisis going on right now, and is anyone really surprised by that? For most people outside of New Zealand, 2020 has been the darkest, most depressing year in living memory, and it's only natural that it will take a toll on your mental state.
So - give yourself a break. If you're not feeling up to it, don't do what you don't have to. I love this website, and when I'm okay, I love writing for it. But no-one has signed up to the patreon as of yet, and the ads have made me a meagre £2.44 in all the time they've been up here, so it's not like I'm getting paid for this. I write on a voluntary basis, and have no obligation to do so.
That's why I have taken a break, and there's no shame in that. The capitalist and Conservative society we live in makes it seem like work and money are the most important things in the world. They're not - we are. Put yourself and your health first, before work. You matter, far more than money. If you're struggling, do whatever you must to get through. That has to come first.
Putting pressure on yourself in a time like this is the worst thing you can do. Now is a time to sit back and reflect on what really, truly matters.
In the coming weeks, I'm looking to get started properly again. Faithless have just dropped a new record and I'm certainly hoping to review that on Monday. For now, and to anyone reading this who might be struggling themselves, just remember - give yourself a break. Don't pressure yourself to be productive and don't let anyone convince you that work is more important than your mental well-being. Now more than ever, it's a time to just take care of yourself. Be sure that you do - and stay safe.
While you're here, we'd like to make a request. We currently run this website on the tightest of budgets, and whilst we gladly do it because we love music, we need money like any other business. We have set up a Patreon which is linked below. If you read and enjoy our content, please give it a look and consider donating what you can to help keep us running. Thank you.