Clichés in the COVID Cabaret

I am a bacon-wrapped cliché, an idiom in puffed pastry.

And sometimes I am the wrong that proves the right.

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I have been absent from your TST lives because If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.

They say that Music has charms to soothe a savage beast. William Congreve in 1697 used “breast,” not “beast.” Some editor missed that typo along the way and “beast” stuck. Close enough. It hasn’t been soothing my beast or breast.

My early quarantine brain was creative, and I got to work making my own micro YouTube series called Cooking Without a Bra. I also asked one of my favorite musicians and friend Benny Brydern to help me create a video (also on YouTube) called “I’m Isolatin’.” I rewrote the lyrics to Razafs’ “Aint Misbehavin.” I like to think Fats Waller who wrote the music is smiling and dancing from the grave, even if Andy Razaf is rolling over in his.

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But that was March/April. Then it really set in. The reality that people were a few cards short of a full deck and our Covid numbers in Los Angeles were rising. I started to become increasingly depressed with a side of anxious as I came to understand what this new normal meant. And it was horrendous for us in the arts.

You would think listening to music might help but it didn’t. If I have enough brains cells to use as kindling to actually do SOMETHING, I can only do that one thing and I can’t split my focus—it’s sensory overload. For the great majority of people this will seems absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know how to explain except to say that often the music I love I’m unable to process. It’s as if my brain is tired and says please, just the silent treatment.

My brain has always been a bit wonky. I have come to realize I can’t do much about it. In between beating myself up about my scrambled mess of a cerebellum, I try to placate myself with the fact that it came standard with the creativity package. You’d be hard pressed to find a gifted artist that wasn’t hosting an Air BnB for demons, with a complimentary booze and opiate bar.

“Without music, life would be a mistake”– Nietzsche

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Nietzches’ full quote takes an idiom and turns it into an oxymoron: “What trifles constitute happiness! The sound of a bagpipe. Without music life would be a mistake. The German imagines even God as a songster.”

Bagpipe? Music?

For some, the Zoom performances and “get togethers” feel good. They drive me up a wall and exacerbate my feelings of loneliness. If it’s just a few people that’s negotiable. But more than that and it feels like Hollywood squares, but every square is Paul Lynde.

Now the positives! I have become way more tech savvy. It often requires multiple attempts, a meltdown worthy of a two-year-old and two returns of cables or equipment. But now I have a makeshift home audio booth (for voiceovers or vocals) and I can use my fairly large television screen as a mirror of my computer.

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My old voice coach gave me a session and that was so nice. The television speakers are louder than the computer speakers so I could hear my coach and his piano. And there he was with his large disembodied head looking at me. It felt good in a camp, 1960s sci-fi kind of way.

Randi Cee
Randi Cee and Benedikt Brydern riff on the coronavirus with “I’m Isolatin’.” (courtesy YouTube)

Trying to live in a positive thinking default space is extremely hard for me but it’s never been more important. And really what choice is there? Throw in the towel and stay in the fetal position, Take a long a walk off a short pier, or Soldier on? I’ve done the first, the second has crossed my mind but it’s very permanent. The third it is. Private First Class Cee, reporting to duty.

Nietzsche himself would slap me upside the head for not simply creating the narrative that is missing from my life. The enforced solitude has illuminated that we humans need some pleasures. Without them it’s not life, it’s just existing. And in the absence of what I used to think of as a very small pleasure, like coffee at the corner shop, I have adapted. I always liked the large window in my apartment. But now it’s bird, squirrel, butterfly TV.

Everyone is in different places literally and figuratively in this pandemic but wherever you are and no matter how thin your own thread of sanity feels, we are all in this together.

Except if you have a mansion and a pool—then you are on your own.

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If you have been playing the drinking game of taking a shot of booze after each idiom, please don’t drive or go shopping on Amazon.

The show must go on

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