A Day in the Life: Social Distancing with Frogbelly and Symphony



Ray Rizzo - drums, percussion, backing vocals:

Today I rearranged shelving in our kitchen using a hand saw and listening to Traditional Techniques by Stephen Malkmus on repeat. I'm watching Bernie Sanders videos and speeches and developing an impersonation of him. My wife and I are cooking great meals and binge watching High Maintenance. I discovered that the newly furnished but vacant apartment next to us is unlocked. There's a washer and dryer in the apartment, so I'm plotting some justifiable trespassing.

Thomas Lebioda - bass, backing vocals:

Umberto Eco once introduced the human categories of “apocalyptic” and “integrated”. So these days, in my self-quarantine, I am observing an astounding phenomenon: the “integrated” (Integrati) seem to be rather panicked or disbelieving, while the “apocalyptic” (Apocalittici), like myself, seem to be comfortable and in their element and seem to have less trouble to conform to the ‘new reality’. In many ways and at least for half of my working life I have been used to quarantine. As a misanthropic writer and studio-hog I have been a “social distancer” during normal times, dealing with social anxieties when I have to go out on social occasions, go on tour and expose myself to the public. So in a sense I am a professional “social distancer” and therefore for the first time in my life feeling like a perfect citizen! On the contrary I do miss my band and the gigs very dearly! Which implies that in a different world I probably would function more ‘normally’ and healthily, socially speaking. That in itself gives me a lot of hope at the moment. We might be experiencing a historical mass healing, at least to an extent. On the contrary I am feeling very much with those who suffer. To me the dimension of this experience is almost biblical! Otherwise, SNAFU. Sleep, work at the studio, eat, read some, watch some, write some, put a record on, drink, smoke a doobe, sleep, work at the studio, eat, read some, watch some, write some, put a record on, drink, smoke a doobe, sleep, work at the studio, etc.....

Liz Hanley - lead vocals:

I soaked some iceberg lettuce in water with vinegar and set that aside. I combined 2 cups of wheat flour, 1 tsp of baking powder and half a tsp of salt and mixed it together with a fork. I added two tbsp of olive oil and 3/4 cup of warm water. I mixed this until it resembled dough then transferred that to a generously flour-dusted board where I continued to knead the dough till it became elastic (about 6 mins), adding more flour so the dough wouldn’t stick to my fingers. I rolled that into a ball, covered it with a tea towel and let it sit for about 34 mins. I minced a small purple onion and 2 cloves of garlic together. I used 1/3 of that for guacamole with 1.5 avocados, juice of 1/2 a lemon, a small tomato and cilantro to taste. I put the rest of that onion/garlic mixture in a frying pan with a tbsp of coconut oil, a tsp of miso paste, 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, black pepper and black cumin. I let the onions sweat a bit, then added rinsed black beans that I’d cooked earlier in the day (rinsing is good if beans make you gassy). I extinguished it with almond milk and water whenever the mixture got too dry and mashed them up a bit. I added a couple squeezes of ketchup too. I cut a small yellow onion and a yellow bell pepper into strips and sautéed them with a Harissa spice blend and coconut oil. I covered the pan to keep the moisture in and stirred occasionally, scraping the spices off the pan.

Next, I drained the iceberg lettuce, dried it in a salad spinner and chopped it into thin strips. Back to my dough ball. I cut it in half and then in half again and again and again until I had 8 pieces and rolled those pieces into balls. I then rolled out each ball into an 8-10" circle and laid them out on that tea towel. I got a cast iron pan nice and hot and kept it on a medium high flame, added olive oil and cooked each tortilla for 30-45secs on each side or until they bubbled up. You want the bubbles to brown a bit, while most of the tortilla stays white. Then Thomas and I assembled and ate tacos, adding hot sauce. I forgot to take a picture of the meal so here’s a picture of me with a drawing I did of my friend Jasvinder. I’ve been watching Mr. Robot and looking into grants for musicians out of work due to COVID-19.

Benjamin Trott - Cuatro (double tracked), slide guitar, backing vocals:

Just before the onset of quarantine my wife and I were joined by a new family member in the form of a rescue cat; Toby. Seemingly in response to government guidelines he spent the first week self-isolating himself behind the laundry basket in the conservatory. Apparently satisfied that he wasn't exhibiting a persistent cough or lack of appetite (far from the latter) he loudly announced himself asymptomatic and presented himself for cuddles and tummy rubs. Our efforts to acclimatize him to his new setting continue, as do his efforts to acclimatize us to the lock down status quo. As a folk musician I have come to miss gatherings of fellow folk musicians (often in public ale houses) greatly. However, of late I have become an active member of a Facebook group named 'Tunesday Tuesdays', in which folk musicians are encouraged to film and post a performance of a weekly tune (announced on Tuesdays). I have very much enjoyed contributing to this in the form of a solo guitar arrangement of each tune, some of which I deem (if I may say so myself) worthy of inclusion on my much procrastinated solo album.

Other quarantine activities include cleaning and tidying the house, creating a large clothes hanging rail for Naomi (my historical costume wearing mermaid-wife), long video chat sessions with friends and family and preparing to be a GoodSAM NHS Volunteer Responder. The latter is a scheme for public volunteers to assist in transporting supplies/patients to and from hospitals/chemists/shops and generally to help individuals who are vulnerable and/or self-isolating, as well as being available to call, chat and check in on people who may not be coping well without normal social interaction.

While practicing social distancing, watch our latest music video for "Benjamin Went Fishing":