I spent my self-isolation period during the COVID-19 pandemic, writing this book: ‘Lover’s Rock – More than a Dance Floor’, which was inspired by Director Steve McQueen’s Small Axe docudrama, Lover’s Rock, shown on the BBC, in November 2020, when people couldn’t rave because of the coronavirus pandemic.The Small Axe ‘Lovers Rock’ arthouse film tells a fictional story of young love at a blues party, in the 1980s. However, although fictional, those viewers who didn’t live during that period, could have assumed that the drama accurately portrayed the lifestyle. Thousands, including myself from the Black British community, took to social media to share our disappointment – the film did not represent our experiences, it did not reflect our style, and it lowered the tone of the era.
I decided to document my recollection of Lovers Rock experience, in this book. “Being active during the Lovers’ Rock era – mid 1970s – early 1990s, I felt I had some responsibility to better illustrate what Lover’s Rock meant to many of us born during that time, and how Lovers Rock became the foundation of many of our long-lasting relationships”.The lockdown has adversely affected the hospitality and entertainment industry, which was the bedrock of the social reggae scene, by preventing all social gatherings under the Coronavirus Restrictions legislation. It has been a huge loss for socialites who had taken for granted how much they needed attention, adoration, warmth, affection and nurturance, all of which could be found in the arms of a stranger on the dance floor. There are those who mock anyone who moans about being unable to rave. “Get a life”; “What’s a dance?” “Find something useful to do!”, not understanding the healing properties these events held for the broken.
A 1944 study was done in the United States, on 40 new born babies to determine whether individuals could thrive alone on basic physiological needs, without affection. It was performed on 20 children, who were fed, clothed and bathed but received no affection. The remaining 20 were bathed, clothed, fed and given affection. The 20 that received no affection died after 4 months, those babies who received affection, lived. Scientists couldn’t even save the ones who hadn’t died yet, because they had given up. Although the experiment was conducted on children, I am sure adults are impacted. The elderly, who have been isolated during the pandemic because family members unable to hug them and hold them, many have given up and determined it is their time to die. Their deaths are attributed to the coronavirus, but the main cause of death is lack of attachment and nurturance.
The Bowlby Attachment Theory found that we are all pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this helps us to survive – and while this theory applies to children, I believe broken adults who have an inner child that still requires healing, need that nurturance found on the dance floor. What this research shows is that if the coronavirus doesn’t get the Blacks, Minority Ethnics and the Elderly, social isolation will! The intrusion of the COVID-19 pandemic, did not only destroy the social scene for ‘lovers’, but took its healing properties with it. Many are dying from withdrawal symptoms. The dance scene had become responsible for maintaining our mental health. Who would have thought that crubbing up in a dance with a stranger, would bring solace and healing to a challenged generation?”