Friday 12 February 2021

Finishing the week that I finally cracked on a massive high

 I believe in being honest. I also believe that men refusing to acknowledge their emotions, feelings and health issues is very dangerous. We have all been under enormous strain over the last year. I have a spreadsheet that tells me when my business will run out of money and we will be forced to take some very drastic action. Every time there is a lockdown easing or good news, that date moves to the right (further away). Every time rules are tightened, bad news happens (such as new variants), etc, it moves to the left. The basic equation, for you mathmaticians is as follows

No cash to continue = (Amount of cash reserves remaing + amount we are generating) - Ongoing expenses

We plot this on a weekly basis. Last week we generated approx 30% of what we generated in the same week last year. In normal times, we would need to generate at least 80% of that figure. With the furlough and help with rates, we can manage on about 50% of the figure.  If our business is back to normal levels by mid June, it is likely we will get by. If it is September, we will need additional finance, which is unlikely to be available. To give some perspective. I am working about 80 hours a week and it works out that I get about £3 an hour for that. I am not complaining, this is what you do if you run a business. I took nothing at all between 1994 and 2000. I was funneling money in, it is a long term project. I see this period as potentially a similar time. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I had a long hard look at the numbers and it very much looks to me as if I will have to re-enter the world of IT consultancy later in the year to tide us through. As my son is still at Uni, we need to have an assurred income. This was something I really didn't want to do, but I am not alone in having to change my plans. I have a good team at the studio and they are perfectly capable of running the show on a day to day basis. What is tragic is that the 'war chest' we built to put up a new building has gone, just staying afloat. This means that Mill Hill will not be getting the amazing music academy we had planned, or the co-working space for creative people next year. But as I said, this is a long term project and we will do it. Rome wasn't built in a day.

 The fact that it is now clear that five years planning effort has been shelved hit me very hard. I've had such ups and downs before, so this wasn't the end of the world, but on Thursday morning I learned that a very old friend of mine, Bill Nugent, had passed away. Bill had been a quadraplegic for nearly 30 years, having broken his neck in a diving accident on his honeymoon. Bill had a heart attack in November and never recovered. Bill featured in the film we made in 2012 "A tale of two Barnets" talking about the challenges of the David Cameron welfare cuts on his life. I have been unable to see Bill over the last year as he was shielding. You can see Bill at 12.42 having a chat and a cup of tea

 I watched the clip when I  heard, immediately before the segment with Bill, was a segment with another amazing person, Stan Davison. Stan passed away a couple of years after the film was made. These two events added to my feelings of overwheming sadness. What happened next was almost comical. I got into work, but on the radio and started doing the morning admin tasks. Work is a great way to get yourself together. I was doing the books when Robert Elms on BBC Radio London started interviewing the owner of the India Club. The club is a marvellous London institution, one I often visit in normal times. Sadly the landlord wants to redevelop and is trying to evict the club. As I started listening, I got to thinking about all of my 'London haunts'. I realised I have no idea of how many of the pubs and clubs will still be there. Even more worrying, I know many of the staff at these places. I've been going to many places for decades and know everyone there. Even if the places survive, will the staff be there? I realised that many might actually have lost people to covid. As I thought about this, I started to well up and the tears appeared. I was just pleased that no one was around. Unfortunately for my dignity, a band turned up for a recording session in one of the studios at that very moment. I felt like a complete fool. Fortunately our customers are a lovely bunch and assumed that there had been some bad news. I quickly got my head together. When they asked what was wrong, I thought that if I said "The India club may be closing" (which was the final straw) they'd think I was a lunatic. If I said anything else it would be untrue. So I simply said "Oh, sorry don't really want to talk about it right now". 

They went off and did their session. When they finished, they checked in and asked if I was OK. It was appreciated. What happened deeply troubled me all day. I am generally the last person to burst randomly into tears, especially at work. I don't think I've ever not held it together at work. What really got me though, was the feeling of being totally overwhelmed, even if it was only for a minute or two and rapidly subsided. In the evening, we had a recording session at the studio. We are working on a project and Graham and Fil came down for the session. Graham lost his son last month in tragic circumstances. He is coping well and has booked for some counselling. After a very grim day, the sheer joy of making music was as overwhelming as the feeling of despair earlier. I left feeling elated. This carried on today. 

 I had some even better news this morning. As a cancer patient, I am now in a group that can receive the covid vaccine. I was contacted by Millway medical practice. This time next Friday, I will be vaccinated. This is a real lift. having lived under the shadow of covid for a year, maybe this is lifting. The vaccine is our passport out, I have my ticket. I am elated.

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