Listen: Colin Buchanan shares what digital projects have replaced his cancelled gigs
Keeping the kids entertained is a tall order at the moment. Between the closure of their usual outdoor hangouts and the time pressure on parents, giving kids meaningful activities to do can be tough.
To help at least make the routine of church on Sundays an easier one, former Playschool host and renowned children’s entertainer Colin Buchanan has teamed up with Compassion Australia to launch Kids’ Talks with Colin.
The free online video series offers short talks featuring messages of encouragement, Bible readings, prayers and music, which Colin thinks is well suited to the current mood of the coronavirus lockdown.
“It’s ‘Colin and his guitar’,” said Colin, “There’s not a lot of hoop-la, and its been really nice. This is a time where rather than sitting back and people saying, ‘entertain me’, I think people are wanting something real.”
When the shutdowns first rolled out, Colin, like many musicians, had all of his gigs cancelled and had to contemplate what life as an artist would be like at home.
“I thought, ‘The gigs are off, I’d better decide what projects I’m going to work on’,” he said. “Then I started to get some knocks at the door, and I’ve actually been quite busy [creating online content].”
“A Strangely Unifying and Powerful Situation”
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In reflecting on life away from the stage and the energy of a live show, Colin said, “I feel like out of this whole situation maybe we’ll start to understand just how different the digital space is to the physical space. There’s things you can do with the digital space – and we’re grateful for that – but when you don’t have the physical space and physical contact, you see [its limitations].”
Like many, Colin’s also acutely aware of the vast impact the pandemic is having on the families the world over, which he says, has made this time oddly profound.
“If the Prime Minister of England’s life can hang by a thread and he’s not exempt, and Lady Gaga’s sitting at home self-isolating, it’s a strangely unifying and powerful situation,” he said. “But I’m aware it can be potentially quite worrying to kids, because it’s got this bigness to it, and this smallness: it’s about the world, and, ‘go easy on the toilet paper’ – it couldn’t go from bigger to smaller really,” he laughed.
Although there have been struggles for many over the past few months, Colin’s hopeful there’ll be some really positive after-affects from what we’ve all been though.
“It’s humbled us on so many levels… and I think we’re going to come out having to rethink what’s ‘essential’ and what isn’t.”
“It’s humbled us on so many levels,” said Colin. “It’s humbled us because our very health and wellbeing have been challenged, and it doesn’t matter who you are… And I think we’re going to come out having to rethink what’s ‘essential’ and what isn’t.
“But I can’t help but think, as people personally will tell stories, ‘I never wanted situation X to happen, but I wouldn’t change a thing’… I wonder whether out of this there’s some really powerful lessons about who we are and how we relate to one another as a community and what we hold valuable.”