While there are plenty of digital prophets keen to call live-streaming the future, Brendan Maclean isn’t one of them:

“I cannot stand it, darling. It sucks, and not in a good way.”

Of course, Maclean’s still doing live streams because, like so many queer artists, he wants to give back to his community during these terrifying times, but he acknowledges the gigs we are missing so terribly will never be replaced by the regimented coldness of the digital world.

“No matter how many comments you get, or how many love hearts that pop up, there is nothing that compares to being at a gig and, even more importantly to me, being in a queer bar with my community and sharing that intimate presence with each other.” 

If you’ve ever seen Maclean perform or watched one of his music videos (House Of Air is a good place to start, but not at work) you’ll know he’s no luddite. He knows how to use digital mediums to spread bold, queer, art. 

That need for intimacy Maclean talks about is something we’ve all been feeling. That absence of one another. But in the queer community it feels like we are not just missing individuals. It’s something bigger. Some part of us. 

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 Isolation chills. The cold we’re feeling isn’t just the onset of winter. We’re missing the warmth of seeing one another in the flesh. The warmth of one another. And the warmth of sharing moments with one another. Perhaps it’s because our stories are so rarely told in other media, perhaps it’s because of the long rich tradition of queer spaces and their role in helping us find not just one another, but pieces of ourselves we don’t get anywhere else. 

If isolation has offered us any blessings, perhaps one is the extra time artists like Maclean have had to write. To gather up these stories and craft them. 

As he says, “I never used to write lyrics down. But I’ve been a really good boy. And I get out my little books now, along with lyrics of songs written and unwritten and released and unreleased. And they’re all actually in a bound book now, so I’m very proud of that”.

When the deep freeze of coronavirus finally begins thawing at least there’ll be plenty of amazing music to tell our stories. 

Sharing them together will warm us up again. 

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