How to Survive Quarantine

Here we are folks—for most of us, it’s just another day in self-quarantine. How long has it been already? A month, a week, two years? I for one have no idea. Actually I think nobody knows anymore.

But I do know it’s been at least one month, because a certain editor said to me, “Professor, it’s been a month, and the world is once again pining for your profound and witty insights, so for the sake of humanity don’t let us down.” (I may have slightly paraphrased there).

Hot Jazz Jubile

And far be it from me to let you down, world. Isn’t it weird though, that having all the spare time at your fingertips doesn’t necessarily translate to being productive or inspired? But I’m a professional, dammit, and I’ve got a job to do. So I’m gonna write the best damn column ever. (How am I doing so far?)

Read Em and WipeAnyway, back to current events. No doubt about it folks, this situation is a crisis the world over. And what does America do in a time of crisis? It lines up to buy guns and toilet paper. I mean, I get it…if I were hoarding an ungodly amount of toilet paper, I would feel the need to defend it too. But it’s not just America that’s disproportionately responded to the toilet paper catastrophe—in my original home of Australia, your average supermarket aisle is seeing more action than the main event at Caesar’s Palace. (My friends in Sydney suburbia—no joke—have had to put their name down on a list in advance to pre-order.)

But I don’t want to come off judgmental of the hoarders. I can actually understand why certain people bought toilet paper in bulk without any concern for others. It’s just that they need more of it than the rest of us, on a biological level. Because they are huge assholes.


And on a personal note, instead of buying unnecessary toilet tissue, I’ve been utilizing copies of The Syncopated Times (after reading, of course). I find the quality of paper smooth, non-abrasive, and a satisfactory substitute. And there’s an added bonus, that when I bend over, my girlfriend can read about upcoming jazz festivals.

And what about musicians? How are we faring right now? Ain’t no gigs, that’s for sure. What are we doing with our free time, you might wonder?

With the marvels of modern technology, people are being creative in wonderful ways. You can’t keep a good artist down.

Many cats are doing performances on the internet via something called “live streaming” (which was a surprise to me. I thought live streaming was what Donald Trump did in Russian hotel rooms). You only have to scroll through your Facebook feed to find a plethora of musicians around the world performing for you in the comfort of your own home.

And for all you non-musicians out there, if you’ve ever wondered what the lifestyle of a jazz musician was like, take a look around—you’re living it: the day of the week is irrelevant, you can sleep till midday and nobody cares, and personal grooming slides waaay down your list of priorities.


With the weeks sailing by and every day feeling like the last, life can get pretty monotonous. So as a public service, I’ve come up with a few simple ideas to help break the tedium:

-Pay a stranger $5 to come to your place and hand you a towel after you use the bathroom to make you feel like you’re in a classy hotel.

-Put your Netflix language setting to Spanish and pretend you’re on vacation in South America.


-Self confidence is important, and looking good improves your confidence and mood. Try ironing your pajamas.

-Sprinkle some sand on your ice cream, turn your fan on and pretend you’re at the beach.

-Dress your cat up in boots and a hat and recreate scenes from Shrek.


So that’s all for me for now, folks. Let’s hope we can all get back to playing and hearing live music again soon. But for now, it’s 4 pm, and I think I’ll take another nap. Yep, my third for today. Just another day in the office…

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Reedman extraordinaire Adrian Cunningham is the leader of Professor Cunningham and his Old School Jazz Band, based in New York City. Adrian Cunningham was voted in a 2017 Hot House Jazz Magazine readers’ poll the Best Alto Sax Player in New York. His most recent album is Duologue, issued on the Arbors Jazz label. Visit him on the world wide web:

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