Written By Zachary Schmidt
first published on the 8th of September on passthesaltproject.org.
re-published here with the permission of the author.
noun & verb
to squish, to squash, stomp-out, snuff-out, stop cold, to extinguish, put on ice, abort, terminate, arrest, to spoil, destroy, decimate, obliterate…
“put the kibosh on this definition already!“
Who has escaped the Great Covid Kibosh? Who hasn’t had a plan that didn’t get kiboshed? Weddings, funerals, holidays, travel plans, new job, old job, concerts, events, university, parties, church, family gatherings – all kiboshed! Kibosh everywhere! It is perhaps the most shared global experience ever. But ironically at the same time it may be the most fracturing global event ever. Fracturing in the sense that people have been separated from one another. So many things that bond humanity were suddenly kiboshed.
I have to say that I am fairly fortunate because I live on the little island of La Gomera off the west coast of Africa. Covid never really hit here although, interestingly, the first case of Covid in all of Spain was here on our little island. I think 9 has been the highest number of cases we have reached. But we still got to enjoy nearly two months of quite a strict lockdown where we were only permitted to go outside to go to the grocery store, a pharmacy, or to work (if you still had work). You were also allowed to go for a walk if you had a pet and there was a funny video on the island of a guy who was taking his donkey out for walks. If I only had a donkey or chicken or something.
Eventually we were allowed to go to the beach and even to swim. But you had to be swimming, not just bathing. And this was also amusing to watch the local police berating gaggles of elderly Spanish women who like to bathe together and gossip that they need to be swimming, after which the women would move their arms vigorously for a spell until the police moved on.
We do still have to wear face masks everywhere, even in the streets or walking along the coast. I go nearly daily to a cafe just down from our apartment that is run by a very sweet lady from Argentina, Monica. Monica is there everyday for about 14 hours a day and all day she is wearing her mask. The other day I had the stark realization that I had not actually seen her face in four months or more. I told this to her and she happily obliged me by unhinging her mask from one ear and giving me a big smile. And now sometimes as I am passing by the cafe I will hear my name called and I turn to see and it is Monica with her mask pulled aside giving me a big smile. I laugh and I smile too.
The world over, people everywhere are making sacrifices to prevent the spread of this virus because it is the humane thing to do — but the resulting environment is strangely inhumane.
My brother Robert and I (The Co Brothers) had just finished making our Derry/Londonderry video in Northern Ireland in January before the pandemic hit. Our plan was to return to Northern Ireland this July or August to follow up on what was the beginning of our Pass the Salt project. And then came the great Covid Kibosh. The kibosh has been tough on everyone and in particular I know a few musicians that are suffering (as if being a professional musician isn’t hard enough already). The idea behind Pass the Salt is to inspire and help artists, to build and nurture relationships, to bridge communities locally and internationally, and to produce and support art that is inspired and healthy. The good news is that the forms for establishing a non-profit have all been submitted which for me (Zac) was maybe the hardest part of the whole business. I hope it is approved.
Music and art are beyond important and really fall into the category of being essential for a community, a city, or a nation to be healthy. And the path of an artist is almost alway difficult — as it should be because it is in the struggle that the beauty is found.