Darryl Morris Weekly – 22.01.21 – Humans

This year’s live music events began to tumble this week, with Glastonbury officially cancelled and many others set to follow – likely wiping out most of 2021’s festival season. The problem for festivals isn’t just the gathering of crowds. The cost and logistical effort involved in getting the event ready, to then be called off or poorly attended, is too big a hurdle to overcome.

Just as the festival season looks set to fall away, 110 musicians and artists signed an open letter to the government, demanding they look again the visa free access to Europe for touring artists. The argument is that red tape and restrictions could make some tours unsustainable, especially for smaller bands looking to build up a fan base outside the UK. One of our greatest exports – music and culture – will simply become less attractive.

It’s the perfect storm for a music industry on it’s knees and unsure of what will face it when it gets back up.

In amongst these stories of delays and cancellations and visa problems are, of course, people. Musicians. Writers. Managers. Stage-hands. Lighting. Sound. Construction. Catering. Humans – with all that human fragility – who have dedicated themselves to a life that no longer exists. Temporary or otherwise, for many, it’s a body blow. Their head, heart and soul have taken a battering.

This weekend, we’ll take the time to dig into that experience with musician Richard Murray. How does it feel to have your life paused? While some of us will find it relatable, it’ll be a stark wake-up call for others. Including a government who have been accused of failing the industry in it’s support and it’s unwillingness to budge on visa free travel for performers.

One performance that did go ahead this week, with all it’s pomp and ceremony, was the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States.

You can’t help feeling America – and the world – exhaled.

Trump has, at times, felt undefeatable. His style of hoovering up the oxygen, shouting as loudly as he can and causing an unmissable raucous meant his absence in Wednesday’s proceedings were felt more keenly. It felt like a different America to the one we had come to know.

As we were putting the show together today, we wondered what more there was to say. Trump’s departure and Biden’s arrival has been analysed from every angle. And then, up popped some curious sub-plots, including the news that First Lady Melania Trump had outsourced the writing of her thank you cards to her staff and Biden’s choices in his redecoration of the Oval Office. Sometimes, the sub-plots can tell us more than the main story. They can give us a sense of who the characters really are. It makes them human.

So, this weekend we’ll speak to an expert in transition protocols and cover off some of the things you might have missed during the transfer of power.

Downing Street released pictures of Boris Johnson watching on while Biden took the oath on Wednesday. Which was a helpful insight, otherwise you could be forgiven for wondering if it had fallen during his nap time.

My colleague Matt Chorley, on our sister station Times Radio, ran an item on the Prime Minister’s daily schedule this week. According to insiders, it often includes an afternoon power nap. No. 10 were quick to hit back, claiming that Johnson works every hour that God gives; slaving morning, noon and night. On the same day, Donald Trump’s schedule for his final few days were released, vaguely referencing how he’d take many, many meetings and make many, many calls. It proudly boasted that he’d be working from the crack of dawn until late into the night.

We have discussed my nap advocacy on the show before. I like nothing more than taking an hour out in the middle of a busy day to rest and recharge. It makes me a better person. So I felt uneasy at the mad rush to defend the Prime Minister against the allegation that he… looks after himself.

The expectation that we must give every ounce of our time and energy to working – to striving and succeeding – is one of the most toxic parts of our culture. It is driving us off a cliff, taking its toll on our body and mind. And all we have to show for it is one of the lowest productivity rates in Europe. I would argue that we are putting wellbeing before wealth – but we aren’t even achieving that. We are sacrificing wellbeing and seeing very little in return. Not to mention the errors and inconsistencies that come from being tired and over-worked.

I can’t help feeling we’ve all been victims of the poor decision making that over-working leads to. I don’t want my Prime Minister to work around the clock. I want him to do a bit less and do it better.

This weekend, we’ll speak to management expert Cary Cooper and ask why we still have such an issue with taking our foot off the pedal. And why it may start where many other precedents do: with our leaders acknowledging that they are… humans.

See you in the morning.

Weekend Early Breakfast – with Darryl Morris. Saturday and Sunday from 5am on talkRADIO.

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