Robert in lockdown! – 7.5.20

Robert’s makeshift camera stand as he promotes Tide Lines’ new album.

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Trying to promote our new album while in lockdown has been an interesting challenge and I write this week of one particularly amusing episode.

I wrote last week about our ‘virtual world tour’ which took me all over the globe from the comfort of our living room but, of course, there will never be a substitute for playing new material to a real crowd in a live setting.

It was with a huge amount of joy, therefore, that I learned on Monday that Eye of the Storm was sitting at number 3 in the Official Album Charts.
The chart company even mentioned us in their weekly press-release in among such names as Lewis Capaldi, Gerry Cinnamon, and Dua Lipa; and we got some nice reviews in the national press.

This led to renewed enthusiasm among the four of us to push the album further and to try (primarily via social media) to end the week with a decent position when the charts are announced on Friday.

Whether we achieve this, of course, remains to be seen and (when this paper goes to print) everything is likely to be in the balance but, whatever happens, we’ve been incredibly grateful for the support of our fans and we’ve had an awful lot of fun trying to promote the album in these bizarre circumstances, as you will now read… At one point, I had to send a video of myself playing our latest single to a newspaper who, in the absence of live gig reviews, are running a series of online sessions.

‘Why don’t you film yourself with Ben Nevis in the background?’, suggested one of the boys. Sounds great – except for the fact I don’t have a tripod on which to perch my phone for filming. I have learned, however, that, in the confines of quarantine, defeatism is failure. And so I set about fashioning my own camera stand.

I took the highest chair I could find in the house and began stacking books on top of it. It should be noted that, if you ever have the need or desire to forge a camera stand out of books, these are the books that provide the perfect height: Squash A Joyful Game by John Hopkins, 1980 – 75p reduced to 30p; The Church Hymnary (Melody edition); and, the pièce de rèsistance, Delia Smith’s Complete Illustrated Cookery Book.

Atop this fine selection of publications, I placed my laptop, screen open at a very particular angle, and propped my phone upon it so that my video perfectly displayed Ben Nevis in all its glory rising behind me and my guitar.

If you happen to see the video flying about the internet, you will notice an incredibly satisfied grin on my face as I look directly at my phone perched on this magnificent make-shift stand. Those of you who are particularly observant and who have read my previous lockdown columns, may also notice a perfectly cut lawn leading down to a beautifully symmetrical beech hedge.