Photo: Denée Segall
Quarantine Diaries: Punk Pioneer Alice Bag Is Making Homemade Masks And Getting "Fit For The Apocalypse"
As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, punk rock trailblazer Alice Bag, who's prepping to release her upcoming album, Sister Dynamite, shares her Quarantine Diary.
[9 a.m.] I slept in. I'm usually up by 6 a.m., so I think I must've slept for a solid 10 hours. I usually sip some tea and watch the news, but today I can't do it. [My husband] Greg is awake. He's made coffee, biscuits, hash browns and is working on MorningStar sausage and eggs. I turn on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" who will serve up some laughs with our breakfast.
After breakfast, I call the dentist to cancel tomorrow's appointment. The receptionist sounds relieved. She tells me they are closing for the week except for emergencies. I have a temporary crown to replace, a porcelain one that broke two weeks ago. The receptionist tells me to call back if the temporary [crown] breaks or falls off. I'm happy to wait.
I hope to stay away from any type of medical office for the rest of the month. Last I heard, there is a "surge" coming, a wave of sickness about to hit. It sounds ominous. I feel like I'm in the Passover scene in The Ten Commandments, where a creepy mist rolls in for the kill.
I decide to rein in my morbid daydreams. I'll wash dishes and do some housework instead.
[11 a.m.] I tried working on some music, but I can't seem to focus. The fact that the sewing machine is in the same room as my keyboard and guitar is distracting. I decide to try my hand at making some masks for my husband and daughter, who occasionally go out for groceries. I look up tutorials on YouTube, but I soon discover that I don't have the right type of elastic.
I try making a couple of pleated masks with quarter-inch elastic, but when my husband and daughter try them on, I can see their ears folding forward at an uncomfortable angle. They smile and tell me how much they like the masks, then hurry to take them off as soon as I walk out of the room.
I take a break to clean two cups of pinto beans and leave them out to soak. I should have done this last night, but I forgot.
[Noon] I nearly forgot that I'd scheduled an interview. Calendar days mean nothing to me anymore. I need to start looking at the calendar again!
[1 p.m.] Finished my podcast interview, but now I'm too hungry to make lunch. We opt for leftover pesto pasta with vegan sausage. I used spinach instead of the usual arugula since no arugula could be found. It was still tasty.
[3 p.m.] Now that I'm stuck at home, I've started working out to my favorite punk songs. I used to be an exercise instructor, but that was over 40 years ago. Now, I'm trying to do the sexagenarian version of The Fitness Marshall. My daughter and I watch and work out with Fitness Marshall on YouTube; it's fun, but I prefer punk music.
I ask Greg to film me. I know my hair color has faded; my roots are showing and my bright orange hair has faded to the color of boiled shrimp. I don't look my best, but somehow I don't care. I need to get my body moving. I need some upbeat music and I'm sure there are others out there who feel the same way. Maybe I can be of some service to my community with these easy, silly workouts.
[4 p.m.] It's time to walk my dog. I used to really look forward to walking twice a day. I know I am still allowed to do it, but I recently had a bad experience where seemingly oblivious people get too close. We have narrow streets where I live.
A couple of days ago, a few neighbors and their kid decided to stop and chat in the middle of the road with two other people. They were all clustered together, so I spoke up and asked if they could please clear a path so my dog and I could walk by. They did scoot over a couple feet for me to pass, but it was not 6 feet, and their lack of concern made me angry. If I'd been alone, I would have backtracked, but my old dog has arthritis and she refused to backtrack.
Alice Bag suits up to walk her dog
[5 p.m.] The pinto beans have been soaking for six hours, so I chop some brown onion, add a little cumin and seasoning salt and set them to simmer on low heat.
[6:30 p.m.] Start the brown rice, wash the avocado and slice it up.
[7 p.m.] For dinner, we eat bean burritos, salsa, brown rice and avocado slices and watch "Family Feud." When I was living in Nicaragua in the 1980s, I learned that a person could survive on a diet of rice and beans and that together, they make a perfect protein. The avocado and salsa is just icing on the cake.
[7:30 p.m.] After dinner, I try to talk my family into learning to swing dance. They play along for about five minutes before remembering they have something else to do.
[8:30 p.m.] We wash dishes and clean the kitchen. I take a shower before putting on pajamas.
[10 p.m.] News and a cup of ginger tea. It's not lavender chamomile, but it'll do. I'm all out of my favorite tea. My husband says I shouldn't watch the news before bedtime. He knows doing so will only make me worry or have nightmares.
[11 p.m.] I lay in bed and look through a See's Candies catalog. I read every description and circle all my favorites. I will dream of truffles and Dark California Brittle. Sweet dreams everyone.
If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, learn more about the Recording Academy's and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, visit the MusiCares website.