This has always been a weird in between week, these days between Christmas and New Year. The excitement and anticipation for Christmas (or even the dread if you fall on that side of festive feeling as many do) has given way to … nothing.
This week seems like a freefall with no particular goals and way too much cheese.
It is hard to figure out which day it is let alone what time of day or what activity one should be engaging in.
I had thought to write a little piece looking back on 2021 but honestly the best I can say about this past year is that it has been quite a lot like this in-between week. Apart from a couple of months in late summer, 2021 has felt like a waiting game. I sit here trying to remember highlights and honestly I have nothing. All my personal ones involve get togethers at Steampunk, whether it was small daily chats with regulars or team mates or events like our Sessions in Fringe by the Sea or that fun leaving party we had for Lewis (we miss you every day pal). But highlights for the year in general? Not so much.
At the end of summer we started taking slow steps to reopening and as the year drew to a close it seemed we could look forward to a cautiously festive year end. But then it was upon us and so was Omicrom and pretty much everyone was isolating. The week before Christmas, generally one of the busiest of the year, fell flat on its face. The cafe went to take away service again as we feared a hazardous work environment and also a staffing crisis caused by isolating. But it looks like the variant may not be as dangerous as feared and it also looks like the government, and much of the public, are honestly just done with virus restrictions.
In the end Christmas 2021 has felt like the cold leftovers of Christmas 2020 that nobody could even be bothered reheating again. Instead we stood at the counter shovelling them straight out of the tupperware and into our mouths by the light of the fridge door. The novelty has well and truly worn off.
Twelve months ago things were tough, but lockdown meant we felt we were all in the same boat. Well, it turns out some had a yacht with wine and cheese while others were clinging to inflatables. This year we face the full impact of Brexit, spiralling fuel costs, inflation, governments doing nothing about climate change and what kind of boat are we on?
January can often be gotten through by hibernating and making plans for fun things in the year ahead. This year it is going to take a pretty solid force of will to do this. Perhaps tiny steps and daily acknowledgements of the small things that brighten a day are best? Personally I feel that the only antidote to all the things which ail us are in fact the one thing that Covid has made incredibly difficult - coming together. Whenever things seem overwhelming I find that spending some time in the company of others is what gives the most comfort. Solidarity is, like inflation, a term which seems curiously retro now. But like inflation, I reckon it is one which will suddenly have a great deal more resonance in 2022. Solidarity is what we can rally behind and support each other with - the raft we can build together to face the uncertain year to come.
So what is going to be on the Steampunk raft in 2022?
In the months leading up to Christmas, we have spent some time speaking to different people in our community and we are putting together a new series of our podcast looking at what community means to us all. I am really looking forward to sharing these from the middle of January. We will also share the the tiny desk concert with Bluetile which we recorded at Steampunk earlier this month. We will continue to work collaboratively in our space bringing opportunities to come together - whether its browsing records at Orange Moon upstairs, hosting creative teen sessions and hopefully (fingers crossed) some live music too. We have a few more ideas brewing and I’m looking forward to seeing where they will lead. These are but a few bright sparks but here’s hoping in the current dark times they cast enough light to show the way.
Whatever the rest of the week (or 2021) brings, just remember you are not alone. The new year, or next week as I like to think of it, will bring some more opportunities to get together. So let's raise a cup of coffee to that.