Entertainment is not a luxury item

One of many things that has become painfully apparent as the world goes to hell in a handcart around us is that entertainment – film, music (especially live music), sport and even television – is not a luxury, it’s a necessity to our well-being and always has been, but never more so than right now.

It’s going to take some time yet for audiences to return to the first three in that list, although I’m doing my bit this week, even though I’m classed as high risk, by going to see the new Christopher Nolan film, Tenet (If Will gives it a 9 out of 10 rating it’s a 10 in anyone else’s book).

The plethora of choice available to TV viewers (which now includes streaming services such as Amazon Prime, Netflix etc.,) has not only given us respite from what used to be an endless parade of soap operas and repeats across a handful of terrestrial channels, it has also provided employment for more actors and production crews.

And out of that has come some sanity saving just enjoy the ride TV shows such as The Boys, Lucifer, Doom Patrol, Wynonna Earp and by far the best of the bunch In The Dark while we wait for the next series of Peaky Blinders, Killing Eve, Strike and Line of Duty – the finest the BBC has to offer (apart from the David Attenborough stuff, of course).

However, live music, especially in grassroots venues, may never fully recover with so many places under threat because of the enforced closure and the grants offered by the government gobbled up by the larger halls.

That’s a tragedy for bands trying to develop, but it’s also disastrous for audiences.

Feeling the air pressure from a mic’ed up bass drum hitting you full in the chest as a band fires up is an experience no one should miss, whether it’s a sub par pub band playing lazy-ass cover versions of Smoke On The Water, Johnny B Goode and White Room over the noisy chatter of punters more interested in the next pint and a fight, or The Who, Arcade Fire and King Crimson (the last three bands I’ve seen in concert) in all their big room glory.

Social media and YouTube uploads are no substitute for that buzz a gig gives you, whether you’re playing or watching.

And no matter how much old codgers, yes that’s me, say the old stuff is the best, there has to be new artists coming through – real artists, not five minute hero disposable pop dross – to connect with people the way The Beatles, Motown and Led Zeppelin did with me.

We need entertainment. Without it we’re just drones missing out on a vital part of what makes us complete. The problem is, the essential funding for such things too often rests in the hands of people whose enjoyment and fulfilment comes from power. They watch, they listen, but like a psychopath is incapable of empathy, they just can’t fully appreciate the emotional value of what is right in front of them.

Stop this silly shuffle

Arsenal fans would say they won the Community Shield on penalties on Saturday at Wembley, but I think it would be more accurate to say Liverpool lost it.

The game came down to penalties with the score at 1-1 after 90 minutes. Of the five spot kicks taken by each team, one was missed and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the single failed shot which decided the match was the one preceded by what I call the “silly shuffle”, that ridiculous hop, skip and jump run up favoured by Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and which cost my beloved Wolves their Europa Cup dream when Raul Jiminez tried it against Sevilla two weeks ago.

Players might be able to live with looking like idiots when they miss, but considering the potential cost it’s disrespectful to supporters and they need to stop this ridiculous tactic right now.

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Edward Case

Columnist