On Wednesday afternoon, I embarked on a brief social distancing compliant tarry to the White Rose Shopping Centre (WRSC) in south Leeds. Apart from optician visits to procure new gigs, my first sojourn inside it’s hallowed retail halls since lockdown.

Before COVID slithered uninvited upon the shores of this sceptred isle, I’d journey on an almost daily basis to the WRSC. Here, from one of its lofty mezzanine coffee houses, yours truly would tap into the land and soundscapes at my disposal. From this perch relaying the poetry playing out in front of me.

Days where I was literally waking up and venturing to smell the coffee. My treat the now much missed people watching, which without fail would evoke epiphanies toward my daily narrative.

Akin to many habitual vignettes, a simple element of my existence I’d taken for granted. That being said, I’m nowhere near being sole culprit of this ingratitude towards elementary daily life prior to landing on planet COVID.

The new normal a world where bucket lists now include getting a hair cut, unrestrictedly social mixing and attendance at a live gig, show or sporting event diminish, in addition to dream holidays, adrenalin rush activities and the like……. Ah, the good old days!!

What most’ve us would give just to experience days of unrestricted normal from pre-coronavirus. A world when we can once more indulge upon modest existential episodes, such as those Nat King Cole sang about in his song Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer:-

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies
Then lock the house up, now you’re set
And on the beach you’ll see the girls in their bikinis
As cute as ever but they never get ’em wet

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You’ll wish that summer could always be here”

iu-2

This refrain referring to a good kind of crazy, not the s**t storm of surreality summertime has bequeathed the globe in 2020. Nat King Cole singing of impatience for the goofiness borne from sunshine frolics, hanging with buddies, the brio consequential of picnics and beer.

A very different aspirational landscape from now, sixty years hence, where merely leaving home without fears of contracting a highly contagious, potentially fatal virus would be a nice to have.

Written by Hans Carste and released by Cole in 1963 (recording started 14 days before my birth), Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer joining the likes of The Beach Boy’s Surfing’ USA as among that years summer anthems.

What will be 2020’s summer anthem?….. When Will I See You Again? perhaps?…. Or maybe Joe Dolce’s before it’s time 1980’s message to certain government heads to Shaddap-a you Face?

All together now…….

“Mama, she said it all-a da time.
What’s-a matter you? Hey! Gotta no respect.
What-a you t’ink you do? Why you look-a so sad?
It’s-a not so bad, it’s-a nice-a place.

Ah, shaddap-a you face”