Four years ago I was privileged to visit Chile to report on the local ice hockey scene over there. Deep into Patagonia, this was what I found:
Once, Cockfield’s playing field was home to some of the unlikely heroes of amateur football. In the 1920s, a time of industrial strife and economic depression, the miners of Cockfield FC twice took the name of this ‘two-street pit village’ deep into the FA Amateur Cup. A run to the semis in 1923 had the so-called ‘village wonder team’ making headlines; only Evesham United could halt their march.
For Britain’s independent music scene, lockdown is taking a toll. Venues are closed, so no gigs. Studios are closed, so no rehearsal space or recording time. The innovation shown in producing virtual performances can plug a gap, but it struggles to recapture the thrill of performing live in front of an audience. Even though the easing of lockdown means pubs can reopen this weekend, bars that specialise in live music are ordered to keep their stages closed.
The training session came to an end and one of the triallists made his way over to say thanks for the opportunity. Instinctively, he offered his hand ... but right now in England, handshakes are off limits. As sport cautiously returns to action, everyone has plenty to learn.
By day, the soundtrack is the throb of dryers and the roar of the spin cycle, at night, the Old Cinema Launderette dances to a different beat. The distinctive Durham venue has created a special niche for itself as one of the best bijou concert halls in the country. Quirky and intimate, it’s invited an impressive array of artists – from folksters to punks – to put on a show in front of the tumble dryers, earning rave write-ups in the national press along the way.
With Britain’s coronavirus lockdown coming to an end, more and more pubs are talking up the possibility of pulling pints once again after July 4. Welcome as that news is, though, it is far from clear what a post-COVID pub might look like. For many publicans, there’s still some way to go before a ‘new normal’ can be ready.