At The End Of Our Tethers
There's a neighbourhood cat, a friendly absolute unit of a Shorthair British Blue called Pavlov. His roles in life seem to entirely revolve around being petted and being fed. Unfortunately, things that get in the way of those roles – other cats, doors, people trying to walk away from him before he feels sated – are met with yowling. And he has a good set of lungs on him. Why is Pavlov in any way relevant? Because where he was met with 'aww... cute' during the first lockdowns, his cries are met with fishwife-grade cursing today.
We are all at the end of our tethers thanks to forces outside our control. A combination of dull winter days and spending too many hours staring at the same four walls has made us demotivated and short-tempered. Worse, this confluence of events has made those rare release-valve things all the more harder to get. So, where the audio industry was surprisingly buoyant during the lockdowns of Spring 2020, that energy has not continued into 2021. People are spending less money on luxury goods today, and those exceptions are finding those goods ever harder to find. This does nothing to contribute to a sense of goodwill to all.
It's easy to talk about trying not to have a short fuse in all this, but when you find yourself swearing at someone else's cat for fifteen straight minutes because it made a noise, you begin to realise that maybe everyone has a short fuse these days. Having spoken to a few pale, doughy people in other sectors, they have all had more than their share of abuse slung at them recently, and they have all in turn been quick to start their own temper tantrums.
However, we need to retain some element of sanguinity here. We're at a difficult time, in part because there is light at the end of the tunnel (and hopefully it's not an oncoming express train). This editorial is usually written on the hop as we prepare for the Bristol Sound and Vision Show. But that show is cancelled this year, and many of those launches are delayed. Other products are stuck on a drawing board, in a warehouse, are awaiting components stuck in a warehouse, or on a slow boat from one part of the world to this one. Tearing your hair out over this is one way of getting round the lack of hairdressers and barber shops, but it's not a good look.
As we went to press, Hi-Fi+ learned of the passing of audio engineering legend Rupert Neve. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.