It’s become so close, so secluded.  Don’t mind the latter, but the crowding of life into a few modestly sized rooms is claustrophobic. Turn left for the work desk, right for the stereo, straight ahead to the canteen. I started distance therapy (providing, though I have a receiving session zoom scheduled). Two screens connected by electricity and radiation of some kind. I put on headphones and stare at the glass, straining to read signs that have suddenly changed font and size, listening to tones that are familiar yet different, noticing intrusive wonderings. What room of this person’s dwelling are we in? It is a surprise to realise that for all the detailed descriptions of lives and feelings, we never talk about wallpaper. About furniture. About working from bed. Have they gone silent or is it a screen freeze? What am I missing? Anxiety ripples like a chill breeze. A friend wrote that he’s teaching his eldest to cook, just in case Mum and Dad get ill. Jeez, we’d be in trouble, I think. Then realise the boy has done a couple of terms of Food Technology and has more in his repertoire than Dad. More skill. The son should surpass the father, as the sun outshines the moon. The moon, the big full Easter moon. How do people cling to medieval belief systems in a time like this? A desperate bulwark against despair, against futility, against vulnerability. I had a meltdown yesterday; yelled at the builder. He didn’t deserve it and the shame was intense. I want to buy him wine or beer or something to ease my discomfort. Water under the bridge, he says. But I need to say a tangible sorry and decide I’ll go out early tomorrow to the liquor supermarket. The house is still now… my son coughs  in his bedroom. Our street is still, infrequent cars startle as midnight approaches. The city is brooding, compliant but edgy. A teenaged girl was fined by police while doing practice driving with her mum. You are too far from home, they said. Too far from home. I go outside and commune with the moon before bed.


Following the runaway success of COVID-19 — The Album, Viral Records presents a new collection to spin away your blues. Enjoy another story in song titles!





Get closer     —    Linda Ronstadt  (1982)

Hold me tight     —     Beatles  (1963)

Source of infection     —     Van Halen  (1988)

Fever     —     Peggy Lee  (1958)

Turn on the news     —     Hüsker Dü  (1984)

Corona     —    Minutemen  (1984)

Call the doctor     —     JJ Cale (1971)

Quarantine     —     Payfone  (2015)



Isolation     —     Joy Division  (1980)

All by myself     —     Eric Carmen  (1975)

Only the lonely     —     Roy Orbison  (1961)

Sick as a dog     —     Aerosmith (1976)

Doctor! Doctor!     —     Thompson Twins  (1984)

Take me down to the hospital     —     Replacements  (1983)

I want a new drug     —     Huey Lewis & The News  (1983)

Too late I’m dead     —     Korn  (2005)


Vinyl Connection says: Enjoy music in private. Wash hands before handling anything. Be kind. Stay at home.

This is a simultaneous post at Lonely Keyboards and Vinyl Connection


Here is a bit of humour I posted at Vinyl Connection. A story in song titles.

Although it is music-centred, it occurred to me that an interest in popular music was not really a prerequisite for engagement. All the songs/titles are actual recordings by the named artist.

It went down well enough that another ‘volume’ is in preparation. You have been warned.





Iron Maiden ……………… Virus

Richard Thompson …… Keep Your Distance

The Police ………………… Don’t Stand So Close To Me

The Tubes…………………. Don’t Touch Me There

Nirvana ……………………. Stay Away

Warren Zevon …………. Splendid Isolation



Vienna Teng …………….. I Don’t Feel So Well

Wishbone Ash …………. Doctor

John Lennon ……………. Isolation

The Beatles ………………. Misery

The Modern Lovers …. Hospital

Bob Dylan ……………….. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door


Vinyl Connection and Lonely Keyboards hope you will wash your hands regularly, stock up on records (and reading matter) and only engage with Side 1 of this album


Watch out for COVID-20 — THE SEQUEL

In stores soon (though you won’t be able to visit them)




This morning I visited one of the city’s major hospitals for a scheduled out-patient appointment. Having had sniffles and a cough for a few days, I decided to get checked for COVID-19. All those queues on the news, lots of people playing it safe. Seemed like a good idea, especially as I’ve had pneumonia a few times (which is nasty, I can confirm).

Reception directed me to the Emergency Department, where I followed signs to a portable table like a lectern. A sign said, ‘Concierge’. The only person around was a young nurse, fully masked and gowned. She asked me questions.

Are you unwell? I described the symptoms, referring to my respiratory history.

Have you travelled overseas? No, but a client just returned from SE Asia with a cold and cough.

Was that person diagnosed with COVID-19?

I don’t know.

Have you been in direct contact with someone who has tested positive?

Not that I know of.

You don’t fit our criteria for testing.

I frowned, which she could see because I was not wearing a mask. 

I’m in a risk group, I have cold/flu symptoms, but you don’t want to test me? I thought the idea was to do more testing. Lots more testing.

I’ll ring the testing clinic, she said.

As I waited, a teenager arrived. The nurse glanced at her. Stay behind the line please! And away from me, I thought.

The concierge got off the phone. I’ll send you up, she said. Put this mask on and go to Emergency.

In ER there was a side room where children and their parents usually wait. It has colourful paintings on the wall. There were no kids there to enjoy the chirpy decor, just a disconsolate twenty-something bloke in a mask. The nurse had a mask too.

Nothing seemed to be happening.  I reflected on our Prime Minister’s address to the nation last night. The government is throwing a whole lot of money around, including a big chunk for ‘pop-up’ testing clinics. The Australian Grand Prix has just been cancelled. Will I attend the Record Fair I have booked for two weeks time? What kind of non-perishable food should one have in the larder? The teenage girl arrived and sat down. Now we were three.

A short, very round middle-aged lady donned a disposable gown and mask, then asked our names, which she promptly forgot. I think she was a volunteer. Follow me, she said. Don’t touch anything. Avoid the walls. We are going on a walking train. She sounded like a veteran primary school teacher. Maybe she was.

We were led outside and along a pavement next to the vehicle access road to ER, then under a building and through a door. To swipe us in, she grasped her card through the gown and rubbed it on the sensor. The door opened onto a narrow corridor. Lucky we were walking single file. Our guide held the door open. Walk down, then stop. Don’t stand too close to each other. Don’t touch the walls.

At the front, I went forward and stopped where the corridor was slightly wider, concerned that the rotund staff member would not fit past me. The teenager looked scared. We were in the bowels of the hospital. Down the corridor, single file, rounded a corner and teacher stopped in front of a lift. It was empty except for an ‘OUT OF ORDER’ sign. In you go, she said. Try not to touch anything. Lucky there aren’t ten of us. The young guy next to me was overweight and looked less cocky than five minutes ago. It’s hard to get fresh air through the masks, like breathing through a pillow. The tour leader swiped and the lift doors closed.

When you get out, she instructed, there’ll be people. Keep away from them. Turn right and don’t touch the walls. Why are they obsessed with the walls? Have they just redecorated? I put my hands in my pockets.

At the testing station, mother hen delivered her masked chicks. I was interviewed again, this time by a teenaged doctor. You don’t need testing, he concluded. I felt a bit peeved. Surely in all the time that has passed you could have tested me and ten others? There is almost no-one here and testing is supposed to be a helpful intervention.

Sorry, he said. You don’t meet our criteria, I hope you understand. Actually, I don’t, I said. It may have sounded testy. I’m here, I have cold/flu symptoms, I’m in a high risk group, I’ve had direct contact with someone who returned from SE Asia with cold/flu symptoms. 

But this person has not tested positive, he said. 

I don’t know that. Maybe she’s in hospital right now. 

I’m sorry, he said again. Over his mask, his eyes looked watery, like he was about to cry. It’s all right, it’s not your fault. We only have 900 testing kits, he said. We’re worried we will run out.

Nine hundred testing kits. In a city of five million people. Hope the other hospitals have more.

Off I went to my appointment. 

I have not have been tested for coronavirus, and I have a certificate to prove it. How reassuring.