Christmas is cancelled.
Well, maybe not officially but, as far as I’m concerned, the festive season will have less sparkle and joy about it now that His Majesty’s Theatre has been forced to postpone the panto this year.
Curse coronavirus for taking away one of the highlights of the year, not just for my family but for many.
And if ever we needed a show that is just two hours of laughter, silliness, spectacle and sheer escapism, it is now.
Had Beauty And The Beast gone ahead we would all have been guaranteed a night to forget our worries and our cares.
But losing the panto is the least of it, as far as theatre and arts go for Aberdeen.
All those shows swept away by Covid-19.
All those festivals stopped in their tracks from Look Again to the Aberdeen International Comedy Festival.
All those venues sitting empty. All those artists and performers left high and dry. All the people who make the magic of live performance happen, from the back stage crews to the front-of-house folk.
All facing an uncertain future as the pandemic turns their industry dark.
It is particularly cruel that this crisis happened just at a time when there was real momentum in the cultural life of the Granite City and the whole of the north-east, in fact. The Music Hall had re-established its position as one of the finest venues in the country, the Art Gallery had just reopened in spectacular fashion and was a “go-to” place for the city again.
P&J Live was getting up a head of steam with a thrilling and exciting programme.
Now, nothing. Nothing, that is, except an uncertain and worrying future for everyone in the arts.
Which is why now more than ever there needs to be unequivocal support for the industry at every level of government and from all of us.
Our theatres, music halls, comedy clubs, music venues, galleries and festivals are too big and too important to lose.
There needs to be clarity for the way forward, a gameplan that will help get bums safely back on seats and unstinting financial support until that can happen and to make it happen.
Theatre, music, dance – all the myriad forms of art – are not extras or “nice to haves”. They are essential.
They are the things that elevate us out of the mundane, make our lives funnier, deeper, more joyous, better.
And when we come out of this crisis we will need them more than ever.
Big setback due to Muppets showdown
We all knew that easing out of lockdown came with risks.
There was almost an inevitability there would be a spike somewhere at some point.
But why, oh why, did it have to be Aberdeen in such spectacularly Muppetish fashion?
All that sacrifice, all that hard work, undone because some clowns think the rules don’t apply to them. It was a heady mix of exceptionalism and arrogance by a few which put the city back so far. Please, learn the lesson and keep the heid.