THIS week sees the re-release of the Rolling Stones' classic 1973 album, Goats Head Soup. What’s remarkable about this is it underlines the fact the Stones haven’t really changed their musical direction in almost 60 years (except perhaps that little flurry into Seventies disco). Mick and co are still singing the blues, but in a less angry, less intriguing manner.

The Beatles, however, evolved continually, evidenced by the contrast from Sgt Pepper to The White Album. And the point of this comparison with the greatest of all pop band rivals? Our Covid world isn’t allowing for the inner Beatle to emerge. If someone has just a little of the Lennon about them the worry is that enforced containment will crush it.

We are devolving as human beings, losing the capacity to extend our imagination through the inability to interact – except in virtual form.

Our teenagers have spent the summer in the house with their parents. McCartney was 18, Harrison just 17 when they arrived in the flesh pots of Hamburg, to wallow in this dark, exciting new world that was to inform their thoughts and offer unimaginable experiences.

The 17th century French philosopher Rene Descartes’ anticipated the Beatles experience with his dualism theory, underlining the connection between mind and body and how the interaction produces experiences and behaviours. (Mind was distinct from matter. But it could certainly influence matter.)

Now, perhaps John, Paul, George and Stuart hadn’t read Descartes as they strolled the Herbertstrasse, but they grasped the principle of the mental and psychological connection thoroughly – and proceeded to have the time of their lives.

This experience set them up to produce exciting, risky material, music which could never have emerged had they been being stuck in Strawberry Fields with an Auntie Mimi. (Or the cosy art school milieu of the Stones.)

We need risk. We need challenge. But there’s a real worry right now our minds are remaining in lockdown. Yes, we’re scared of the virus but many of us are more scared of returning to our old life as we knew it.

This in itself is not always a bad thing. My pal Sharon recounted recently the number of houses for sale appearing in her street. The evidence is anecdotal, but Sharon is convinced many of these house moves are prompted by relationship splits; life is too short to be stuck with the wrong person.

But Covid-created inertia is also all around us. Yes, there are those who prefer to be at home to work, to save on the fuel, to be able to see more of their children. . . but there are also those who would do well to not assume that all is good with mind and body simply because they switch on to Joe Wicks for half an hour in the morning.

And for some, lockdown has allowed for absolute laziness. My nameless overweight friend left the house this week for the first time since March, assuming all he needed was within ten feet.

Meantime, his body has been atrophying, his muscles as listless as a Stones album in the Eighties, and his daily experiences limited to virtual conversations and excursions into STV-Plus to watch Aussie black comedy Rake (It is excellent, however.)

But there are many like him who are forgetting the wonders of real connection. How soon before we forget what it’s like to sense someone’s nervousness? To see a real face light up?

Young people in particular crave stimulation and challenge. Backpacking, and even packing shelves in Tesco, is now denied to them so we have to find ways to help them expand. You can’t forge a sword without heat. So how can you create a young person who hasn’t endured/enjoyed his/her own Reeperbahn?

We also have to worry about those who don’t have a choice in working from home; the supermarket workers, the bin men packed in their cabs who journey to remove our waste, the care workers in their little Corsas who work for so little and risk so much.

We are losing real contact with others and, just as importantly, our-selves. We need people to keep us right, work chums to remind us our suit should have been binned, that it was our turn to buy the milk – and weren’t we a bit too cheeky the other day?

We need to be able to speak to bosses and read meaning into the hopeless shrug or the suggestion of a smile.

Let’s connect. Encourage people to take chances where they can. Otherwise, they could turn into the dead weight that is the Stones.

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