Globally, it is clear that the pandemic is far from over. However, government restrictions on movement and meeting people imposed at the start of the year combined with a successful vaccination programme have allowed a gradual return to normality in the UK since late April. I have particularly appreciated this resumption of life over the past fortnight. While most meetings are still conducted online, I have managed to meet most of my research students in person in our lab, in pavement cafes or occasionally in my office with the window open and wearing masks. I have even been to the pub after work on two consecutive Tuesdays. On the first occasion, it was after a progress meeting on a research project when we enjoyed continuing our discussion of a new idea over a couple of beers; and, on the second occasion, t with our faculty management team to celebrate the first anniversary of one of the team joining us, who had only met half the team in person. On both occasions we had all tested negative using the lateral flow test and we sat outside in the sunshine. I have also been to three concerts at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall where we wore masks throughout the concert and both the audience and orchestra were socially-distanced. Last Thursday, I enjoyed Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 ‘Classical’ as well as the world premiere of Dani Howard’s Trombone Concerto. The second concert featured works by Astor Piazzola which were a revelation to me. I had never heard of him let alone his music and really enjoyed the concert. However, as I write this post, the number of cases in Liverpool is rising rapidly and we are being advised to be more cautious in our interactions with other people. Not enough people have been vaccinated and are taking regular tests to allow us to return to our previous state of social interactions. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that we can eventually take back control of our lives from the coronavirus. Our global society is a complex system, which like any other complex system, operates without central control but with simple operating rules generating self-organising and emergent behaviour [see ‘Destruction of society as a complex system?‘ on July 31st, 2019] that allows us to find new states to handle changed circumstances regardless of the efforts of politicians.
You can listen last Thursday’s concert on demand at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s website: https://liverpoolphil.com/whats-on/video-on-demand/on-demand-domingo-hindoyan-conducts-stravinsky-howard-ravel-and-prokofiev-with-peter-moore/3926