I finished my medical degree in 2018 – it took me 7 years. During that time I put out my first record Reservoir and spent a lot of time touring around the world. 2019 I took largely off music and worked the entire year as a doctor in a Sydney hospital. I worked in a variety of specialties – cardiology, psychiatry, general surgery, emergency. I quit my job on January 31st 2020 and flew to London to commence my year of touring, thinking I would return to medicine another time when music slowed down. In the middle of March I booked an early flight back to Australia when countries were starting to close their borders due to the escalating health virus of COVID-19.
It was incredibly jarring to return home and even more so talking to my medical colleagues who were still working at the hospital where I had been employed, where they were anxiously waiting for this crisis to start taking its toll on the Australian health system. I watched the news each day seeing major first-world hospitals becoming overrun thinking of the junior doctors like myself in those places and how they would possibly be coping. Given I am still putting out an album this year it is virtually impossible for me to return to full-time medical work but I decided I would at least contribute what I could to the efforts of the medical workforce. After a mountain of paperwork and applications I am now registered to work at a number of hospitals across all Australian states should their emergency departments begin to be overwhelmed. I received a phone call last week saying I am on the first list of medical professionals that will be called should the government decide to open a number of COVID-19 clinics around the country. Fortunately, it seems Australia so far has managed to avoid the catastrophic scenes seen in Italy and Spain and New York City.
So for now I continue my work in music. From where I am living in Melbourne I do the normal album-release things – phone interviews for newspapers and magazines, answer Q&As via email, go live on radio stations around the world via Skype, record live videos of myself playing songs for a streamed music festival. All of these things are the new normal of being a musician now. I go for a long walk each day, I try and do something creative, I try and pick something new to learn about each week, watch things that will hopefully expand my mind.
There are good days and there are hard days. Some days I am so frustrated that I am returning to my music career in a year where the world has shut down. Some days I think that maybe this is the break I needed. We’ve all been forced to slow right down – for those of us out of the virus hotspots it seems like a worldwide period of recuperation.
If Australia’s situation doesn’t escalate then I may not be called back to work, the situation seems to be changing by the day. But being a touring musician seems like a world away. So right now I feel more caught between those two worlds than ever, as I just wait to see what unfolds. In the meantime I guess, like everybody else, I just do what I can.
Gordi’s great new EP Our Two Skins is out now via Jagjaguwar. Exclusively for NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION the beloved songwriter not only wrote this piece but also recorded this wonderful stripped back version of the album’s opening song Aeroplane Bathroom.