I doubt very much that many people's top priorities at the moment is to head to this website to find out what my plans are regarding coronavirus, but it has been true for a very long time that the News section of this website is as much a place for me to organise my thoughts for my own mental health as it is a place to actually communicate "News" to anybody, so hey, whatever. If any of this information is of use or of interest to anybody who happens to visit the site, so much the better.
Obviously, the entire live comedy industry, not to mention huge swathes of society in general, has been utterly decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, which is a total disaster. This isn't the place for me to speculate about the wider ramifications of this crisis, or to say anything about the effectiveness of our government's response to it, this is just a place to get down what I'm going to be doing about it. Needless to say, all my live appearances for the foreseeable future are cancelled. Among the bigger cancellations of the coming weeks and months is the fact that the entire Machynlleth Comedy Festival at the start of May has been cancelled - you can read their statement on Chortle here. There are still some gigs in my diary which are uncertain at present, but only because I haven't yet been formally informed of a cancellation - I fully expect that I won't be performing live again until mid-May at the very earliest, probably much later still. It's safe to assume that none of the gigs on my Gigs page will be going ahead, and I will only post about things that are going ahead when there is any significant sign that the situation is improving and it might be safe to start performing and gathering people together again. No time soon, I reckon.
Obviously, this means a significant dip in my income for the near future, but I happen to be in a better position than many other freelance comics. I'll be doing other bits of work which I can do remotely from home, or while avoiding public gatherings, in the next couple of months, so I'll be fine. I'm currently in the process of researching some ways in which I can try to do some good in the midst of all this, because the arts and events industries face the very real threat of total collapse. I'm still figuring out what are the best petitions to get behind and the best charitable funds to donate to to help prevent arts organisations from going out of business, or individual freelancers within the arts from falling into poverty or homelessness, and as soon as I find out more about this I'll post my findings here.
I'd also like to use the time offered by any potential quarantine situation to continue generating ideas that might bring some happiness to people faced with a long period of time in isolation. I'm not sure what those will be, exactly. I've got some ideas for some short sketches or films which perhaps I'll make if it becomes safe to organise very low-key projects together in small groups, and I'll be releasing them as and when they emerge in the coming weeks. There's a lot of talk about trying to build virtual communities over the next few months, with lots of ideas around virtual gigs, or conferences/podcasts made available via live-stream so people stuck at home can join in and feel part of a community even though the events we normally congregate at have all been cancelled. If I become involved in any initiatives like that, I'll also post that here.
Finally, I've decided to make the full recording of my 2019 show Joz Norris Is Dead. Long Live Mr Fruit Salad. available to anybody who makes a donation, no matter how small, to my Ko-Fi page, which you can find here. I'm reluctant to make myself into a charity case and just ask for donations in exchange for nothing, because as I say, I am quite some distance from being the worst-affected person by all this. However, because I have lost income and have this recording available to share, I've decided to make it into something I can offer people in exchange for donations. If you donate, let me know your email address in your message and I will send you the link.
Finally, since I announced that the recording was available, people have been so generous with their donations that I have decided two things - firstly, everything I do end up making during a quarantine period will be given away for free online, it won't be hidden behind any sort of paywall in the same way that I'm required to keep the Mr Fruit Salad recording as an exclusive-access thing. Everything else coming out soon will go out for free as a thank you for people's generosiy. Secondly, now that I'm in a position where I'm going to be ok for the next couple of months, alongside my own creative efforts in the weeks to come I will be doing everything I can to try and be useful and do some good on a broader scale.
This is an absolute disaster and it's going to be very bad for everybody and we must all try to be kind if we can. I hope you're all doing ok whatever your situation is. Lots of love. xxx