​A New Landscape Begins

Simon Ritchie

a new landscape begins—simon ritchie—august 2020

Well, where do I start?

I remember in the MySpace days when people would post blogs and share their thoughts. I thought that was a nice feature. It was also a great way to find out about new bands. Things have gotten really off kilter lately. This platform (Facebook) definitely has its upsides. I've reconnected with childhood friends that I haven't seen or heard from in more than 25 years. We're able to contact or find individuals that inspire us at our craft. Sometimes they even accept your request and there's some dialogue, which is pretty amazing when you think about it.

Lately though, especially in my great country, The United States of America, things are tearing apart at the seams. We are all at wits end and I don't know what to do about it anymore. At first this was all a nice little vacation. We were having family slumber parties, binge watching “Tiger King" and had really dry fucking hands. Live streams and zoom meetings were all the rage. People were generally positive considering all aspects of life. Suddenly, the honeymoon was over. Things weren't cute anymore. I hate to even admit that I saw posts from people that I've known since childhood that were downright racist.

Maybe I just had the blinders on but it was so maddening and disheartening to see. It makes me sick to my stomach. I have friends that went to my hometown to protest yet, they didn't even get out of the car. They went back to the Wisconsin side. Don't give them a reason. That's all I'll say.

Misinformation is huge right now as well. So many memes with various quotes stating their point, most of which is absolutely false. My best friend lives in Auckland, New Zealand. I spoke to him a few days ago and he explained to me that they haven't had to wear masks for about a month. He attended a rugby game with 40,000 others at a stadium and no masks. The county I live in has double the positive Covid-19 cases that all of New Zealand has. What's the answer? Another friend of mine just beat Covid and is now recovering at home and I still hear people say that, “The flu kills people too." People want Dr. Fauci fired? Why? The guy has been praised by the last five U.S. Presidents but now he's wrong at his profession?

Go tell Steve Gadd that he's not right for Eric Clapton anymore.

The general public now: “We want our music festivals, dammit!" “I'm not wearing a mask, dammit!" My freedoms, dammit!"

My wife and I got tested. It took 12 days to get results. Negative. What do you do in those 12 days and what if we contacted it in those 12 days? Quarantine takes 14 days. Things aren't getting any better. People are worried about mail in voting? I filed my absentee ballots for the April, August, and November Wisconsin elections.

Trust me, it'll be easier than getting your test results. I know people in Michigan that are driving to Wisconsin simply so they don't have to wear a mask.

On top of it all, my wife lost her father last week. A close friend lost a band mate, and a childhood school acquaintance took his own life. It's affected me. Maybe it's because the guy had it rough. People are assholes and I've always given everyone a chance. Being picked on isn't fun when you're a kid. My stepson, Dylan, starts college in the fall but how his taking classes are still in limbo. Honestly, I have no idea where I'm going with this rant. I just want things to be normal again. We all do. Music has been my therapy, per usual. I'm grateful for new tunes from HUM, Pearl Jam, Shiner, Fiona Apple, FACS and Redman, Mehldau, McBride and Blade.

I'd love to see these artists perform again. I want to play gigs with my Dad again. I want to have family and friend cookouts. MLB is 60 games. Some teams don't catch their stride until game 90. NBA is starting back up, if the bubble doesn't burst. NFL is closing training camps and preseason games to the public. None of us know what lies ahead.

At least the Mercury retrograde is over.

I just ask one thing of you. Please be kind to each other. Everyone needs some positively, badly. I was in the Facebook depression rabbit hole. It's really easy to sink if you're not aware of it. Agree with me, scoff at me, laugh at me, protest me, do as you wish. I'll just continue to wear a mask and fight for what I believe in in all aspects of life. I know you'll do the same. I just had to get it off of my chest.

RIP John Lewis.

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