Here’s our latest edition to add to KB’s – #TheLockdownStories. We asked Bloco family how they’re feeling being in doors 24-7? What they’ve been doing? And the pros and the cons of #TheLockdown life. Why? It’s good to share!

This Wednesday, we hear from someone we love here at Bloco, Stu Hardcastle. We met Stu in 2015. He’s a seriously experienced drum workshop facilitator, and musician. Stu introduced us to Beatlife, which he was a part of. Beatlife are an awesome music organisation that runs music workshops in Liverpool. They, like us, love to drum and work with young people in and outside of schools. That’s how we met Al, Matt, Eve and Amina and the other wonderful people that are in and have been part of Beatlife!
He also connected us with the awesome Oslo, Norway crew, that is Dominic, Lila and the Grunerløkka School Marching Band!

Here’s what he’s been up to:

Name: Stu

Bloco Connection: I experienced Bloco for the first time in 2015 when some of the young guys from BeatLife visited you and then a year later when the Oslo crew came over. Finally, in 2018 when I brought some kids over from Cheltenham to play for you.

And I can safely say all those guys remember meeting YOU and for some of them, it’s one of the best things they’ve ever done.

Where in the world are you? A small town called Neston, not far from Liverpool.

What have you been up to during your lockdown? Looking after my 2 young kids which means plenty of games and cuddles. Refusing to stress over their home-schooling! All that matters, is looking after their – and my – mental/ physical health.

How are you feeling? Fine, on a day to day basis. I feel uplifted when i see all the solidarity between different people. Everyone’s experience is different, and we have to be careful about judging others.

How do you feel about your gigs/ teaching being off now? I’ve taught and performed nonstop for 20 years now. Strangely I don’t miss actually playing so much.

But I do miss the kids bouncing in at the start of a workshop and telling me what they’ve been up to. Especially the year 6, who I might not see again. I miss halftime in my weekly jazz residency when we all hang out and put the world to rights, or when a wandering musician turns up who we haven’t seen for ages. I miss the punters chewing my ear about what’s happening in their world and the teachers describing what mad situations they’ve had to resolve or put together.

I guess I miss all the things that us playing music helps people to do – come together.

What are you finding difficult? Ironically, its all of us being together in one space without a break. Most of the time its good, but it’s also important to admit it can be a struggle. We just try to keep talking and being honest about our feelings.

One thing that will make anyone smile: Art thrives in adversity. This will be the time when you work out what you love and are passionate about. Its gonna inform some of the best work you will ever do. Fantastic projects will be born in your head right now. I can’t wait to see what Bloco are going to do next, both as a group and as individuals. You’re going to bring joy to a lot of people.


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