By Willie Drennan
Below is the draft script of a recent broadcast from the newly formed Braid Brodcasting Cooperation (BBC). The script is not exactly as spoken on the broadcast - it never is with me - but it's near enough.
Welcome to Broadcast Three in a series of unique broadcasts, blogs and videos of the Braid Brodcasting Cooperation – in cooperation and collaboration with other freelance, free-thinking independent musicians, creative writers, song writers, poets, playwrights, visual artists etc - not to mention other rare colourful characters and outside-the box thinkers.
The main purpose, the main goal, is to produce and preserve a rich tapestry of content to cherish cultural heritage, the Arts and creative alternative thought, all served up with copious amounts of live music and recorded music.
That's the plan and that will be the nature of this beast. The first two broadcasts attempted to establish this format, this approach and style. It has just been myself, on my own, so far due to the Lockdown restrictions but very soon I plan to be sharing the brodcasts with other musicians and other invited guests. And I'm learning the technology as I go along. So Bare with me. But first of all I need to get a couple of things of my chest - starting with the local and global Lockdowns.
Throughout history creative writers, poets, song writers, playwrights etc have always been at the forefront in the challenging of the status quo and initiating social and political change. Rabbie Burns as featured in our first two broadcasts was certainly one of those creative voices, from away back in the 18th Century, who called out loudly for freedom of speech, democracy and social awareness and against the abuse of power. That has all changed in the past 10 to 20 years as the dispensing of information has been controlled by the global media from the top down – the music industry and the Arts in general are being controlled from the top down.
The global Lockdowns have rapidly escalated the transition from freedom of speech, in a free society, to a near absolute blanket ban on the dissenting voice and alternative thought.
Dissenters and non-conformists are ridiculed, slandered, silenced, obstructed, covertly cancelled and even openly cancelled. Some actually lose their jobs.... Those who question, or query, or challenge the central authority – those who seek clarification and offer alternative approaches and solutions are, at the very least, told to shut up, stay in the house and respect the experts. They are often labelled, idiots, morons or fascists by the devotees of the super powers-that-be: super powers that be now in control of many aspects of our lives.
I suppose I have been a sort of a Lockdown sceptic since the term Lockdown was introduced into every day language last March. I am not a so-called Covid denier and certainly like to think I am not a Covid eejit. Covid eejit is a term in common use on social media a term used by just regular, normal, every-day eejits..
I'm not even really anti-Lockdown as such. I just think the response to this new flu virus needs to be more balanced, more proportional, and more considerate of the well being of the wider community.
I have been following and abiding by all the rules like a good obedient citizen: motivated to do so mostly out of respect for those who are vulnerable and who understandably live in fear of this virus.
I do understand and accept that there is a particularly nasty flu virus going round that is somewhat more nasty and contagious than the regular annual flues – perhaps, possibly, or even probably - maybe - slightly more potentially deadly than the old flu – that old traditional flu. Remember that one? The one that seems to have vanished off up into the ether somewhere with no talk of it ever returning.. [
I accept that I could also get this virus. I accept it makes a lot of people really really ill. I accept that many people are dying prematurely as a result of it. However...
Song: Open The Gate
From the song you can see I went to great lengths to point out that I'm not an expert in any field relevant to the subject matter. I actually don't have any wee bits of paper to certify me as an expert in absolutely anything at all.
I do have some relevant experience. I have travelled a lot and worked in different places. In The Greek island of Crete and in Mexico I got really sick with some sort of a local virus or high bacteria levels in the local water. It was common for this to happen to visitors but the locals had immunity. In Mexico it was known as Montezuma's Revenge. A revenge on Americans of European stock for their misdeeds in days of yore
And when I returned to Crete a year after getting sick, with their bug, I was surrounded at one point for a few days by dozens of young Brits and Europeans who were working together and living together: who were catching the very same contagious bug. I did not get it a second time.. due to immunity maybe??
And in Big Sur on the Californian coast I worked for a while, landscaping in a beautiful estate: mostly planting trees on their property that sloped down to their private beach on the Pacific Ocean. Yes, an idyllic experience it was indeed - except in Big Sur they have Poisoned Oak. Poisoned oak is like poised ivy, only worse.
I developed a serious nasty itchy rash that kept we awake at night .. It lasted for days and I only got relief from it when I bathed in the cold ocean.. After several days my left eye closed up and the vision in my other eye started to go.
It became an emergency. The nearest doctor was a 90 minute drive away. I managed to borrow a car and drove along the winding cliff-top road with sight in only one eye - and the other eye gradually getting weaker and I was driving on the wrong side of the road of course.. They do drive on the wrong side of the road in America. An important thing to remember if you are ever driving in America.
When I got to see the doctor in the town of Carmel he immediately gave me a jab of steroids and almost instantly my eyesight started to come back. I was with him for less than 5 minutes so the bill wasn't too colossal. A short time later I drove back on my return journey with both eyes wide open.
The coastline of big Sur is stunning when you are able to see it. The doctor in Carmel obviously knew what he was doing. He told me he had to give steroid jabs to people on a regular basis for severe infection from poisoned oak And it was always only to visitors, like me. The locals were immune to this.. The message is the same.
I went off on a bit of a tangent there but I'm telling you all this to let you know where I get my basic ideas and understandings of viruses, infections and immunity from. Even if I don't have a wee bit of paper from a university institution, perhaps I some right to an opinion? No?? Well okay maybe not any more. I'm expressing it anyway.
And apart from personal experiences I have read a fair bit in my day and I know that when the Europeans first settled in North America in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, they introduced small pox and other infectious diseases to the Native North Americans.. Viruses and diseases that the natives didn't know existed. They also introduced whiskey to the natives.. Between the small pox and the whiskey the Europeans almost wiped out some of the native tribes. Whiskey is a bit like a virus. In small doses it will not do you one bit of harm and might even do you some good - and a good whiskey can taste good and might even help protect you from viruses - but if you fire a whole bottle down your neck in one sitting it could kill you. Too much of anything could kill you.
And there's one thing we can all be absolutely sure of some thing will, eventually, kill each and everyone of us, eventually. It might be cancer heart disease TB, VD, AIDS, a car crash, plane crash, boat sinking, war, suicide, murder, bad luck or just very old age - to mention but a few possibilities. And any number of flues and viruses could also prematurely terminate our lives, including this one. But constant fear of life constant fear of death is also very likely to lead to, and contribute to, premature death as well.
This flu virus at this time is different of course. We live in an era of global travel Many of us are globe trotters to some extent. So when this flu first broke out in China travellers from there took it with them to other parts of the world, and other travellers then proceeded to take it with them right across the whole planet to every corner of the globe. So all of us are susceptible to it. The virus itself is not necessarily much worse than other viruses but it certainly has spread faster.
We are also in the age of the global media where global news is instant when it wants to be when it has news it wants you to hear. It's always the same news with the same slants, regardless of which mainstream channel you might tune into. And it's relentless. It's 24 hours a day.
The news is no longer just the news and nothing but the news. It is selected news that often broadcasts and spreads fear. And they are clearly trying to put the fear into us right now, via their experts, for some reason.
But here's the thing, the important thing. There are lots of other experts trained in the relevant fields who directly challenge how this virus is being handled and who directly challenge the methodology and the extreme nature of Lockdowns.
They make reasonable arguments claiming that the Lockdowns and the extreme restrictions are causing more health problems, and have potential to cause even more deaths than the virus itself. They argue this on the basis that other serious illnesses have become 2nd in the queue to the virus. And perhaps more significant – the isolation experienced by many people of all ages, the loss of work, loss of investments, the shutting down of small businesses, loss of independent financial security have combined to rapidly increase stress, and depression and probably suicide.
Who knows which set of experts are right ?
The problem is that these alternative experts do not get a hearing on mainstream media. Most people have probably never heard tell of the Barrington Declaration where thousands of practitioners in the fields of science and medicine signed a petition expressing their concerns about the global Lockdown strategy. Our elected representatives have a duty to work in our best interests.
They say they are following the science but there is no conclusive evidence and there is no official debate or consideration of other expert opinion.
We are are being ordered to turn our lives upside down and inside out on the advise of scientists - scientists that we did not elect.
I don't want to be too sore on our political leaders who have to make the decisions on how to handle Covid. They have been thrown into the deep end. They have a lot of responsibility to get it right. And they are under lots of pressure from global authority and their global media to get it right on their terms.
What about the grandparents who are forbidden from seeing their grandchildren?
And what about school children?? I can't imagine how I would have reacted as a child, as a teenager, or even as a young adult to such a global Lockdown. I Just can't imagine it. There needs to be some message of hope for the future sent out to them urgently.
Song: My Bonnie's Not Over The Ocean.
As Neil Oliver , the archeaoligst, historian, writer, tv presenter you know: The Coast Guy -recently said in relation to the governments Lockdown strategy “not dying is not the same as living”. He's right. Not dying is not the same as living life. Not dying is not the same thing at all -as living life. Constant focus on the avoidance of death is not living life. I've just said what Neil said in different ways, but it is the same point.
I can accept that we all need to be more aware of contagious diseases and how they can kill the vulnerable.. I can understand that the government policy of creating methods that shield the vulnerable are basically a good idea - and I can accept this awareness should continue once this particular virus has moved on, or weakened, or whatever really happens to flus and viruses. Some flues and viruses do seem to just go away.. But protection can surely be set in place without destroying the quality of life and the mental well-being of the vast majority of people who are not seriously affected.
This silencing of the alternative voice is what concerns me most of all. This is what has driven me to do this broadcast.
Song: The Whole Wide World's Gone Mad.
Well you'll have to admit that was different. And a wee bit over the top maybe? But sometimes you have to go a bit over the top to get your voice heard. The second verse of that song goes beyond just the Lockdown. It addresses freedom: freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom to publicly express alternative opinion, freedom to question and challenge our elected representatives if we think they might not be getting things quite right.
I'll leave you with a taster of some of the music that will be on the next broadcast.. And do bare with me I know this particular broadcast has been more than a rant than anything else.
The Braid Brodcasting Cooperation will soon get back on the right track of producing music and stories that simply celebrate life celebrate our shared rich heritage while looking forward with the optimism that future generations can enjoy the same freedoms, opportunities and richness of life that most of us have experienced at some point in our lives, up until now. The worst and the best is yet to come.
We need to get back to living life and move on from merely just avoiding death.
Background music: Flutes at Braidwater Dawn, Endangered Species, William Orr's Lament, Ower The Fields Tae Tildarg.
Featured Songs: Open The Gate, My Bonnie's Not Over The Ocean, The Whole Wide World's Gone Mad, Road To Freedom.
To listen to the broadcast go to my website: www.williedrennan.org and click on the Broadcast panel.