OK, so it’s got to the point where you’d have to be a covidiot to visit your grandparents/elderly relos IRL ATM and therefore put their lives at risk. So how can you show your loved ones that you care? Obviously phone calls are still permitted (so make sure you do that to check in on the reg), but also don’t forget how much comfort listening to music can provide.

“Songs entertain us, influence our thinking, make us feel better or worse; at best they can help us cope with life,” American folk singer Peggy Seeger wisely stated.

I have an elderly aunt who lives on her own in a big house on a giant block in a town waaaay north-east of Melbourne’s CBD. She’s asthmatic as well, so definitely needs to self-isolate. On Christmas Day just gone, Auntie Annie kept asking my Mum to play First Of May – from The Ultimate Bee Gees double-CD compilation – over and over again. The amount of nostalgic pleasure that listening to this song (over and over again) gave her was blatantly obvious, and Auntie Annie’s blissful expression every single time the woozy-strings-and-ascending-glockenspiel intro kicked in was priceless: “When I was small, and Christmas trees were tall…”

And so I thought to text Auntie Annie a link to the First Of May film clip, so that she could revisit this song any old time (over and over again) – she’s an avid texter.

Next time Auntie Annie visited, she presented me with a handwritten list of songs (see header image) and said she’d love for me “to put them on [her] phone”.

Auntie Annie’s Song Request List:

Don’t Forget To Remember – Bee Gees

Live It Up – Mental As Anything

I’d Love You To Want Me – Lobo

Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers

Il Silenzio – André Rieu (of course!)

No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In) – The T-Bones

Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.

The Fields Of Athenry – Bobby & Laurie

Summer Of ’69 – Bryan Adams

If You Leave Me Can I Come Too? – Mental As Anything

Mum passed on how excited Auntie Annie was in the car on the way to lunch that day, when “all her favourites” started pinging across via text message, back to back. Then the next day, I received the following request via text: “When you have time could U put Tina Turner Simply The Best on my phone? Thanks love.” So, of course, I immediately obliged.

News just in: After shooting off a text to Auntie Annie asking whether she had any additional song requests – also including a link to 10CC’s I’m Not In Love, ’cause I knew it’d be right up her alley – she replied instantly: “I would <3 2 have Gerry & The Pacemakers You’ll Never Walk Alone, if U can find it. Xoxo.” Done.

Hang on a sec, I can do ever better than what I’ve been doing. Why don’t I just send a surprise package of pukka musical selections direct to Auntie Annie’s letterbox? JB Hi-Fi are still delivering, after all, so I’m just gonna go ahead and purchase some stuff online and post her a random pressie. I reckon she’d love Marlon Williams (who wouldn’t, right?). Hmmm… his latest Make Way For Love set or the self-titled debut? Hold up, how did I not know that Marlon Williams: Live At Auckland Town Hall even existed!? That’ll be perfect! And I might as well throw in something by the incomparable Neil Diamond while I’m at it, hey? Hot August Night III (Deluxe Edition), a two-CD-plus-DVD pack, should do the trick. Yep, she’ll love that.

Be kind to your nearest and dearest, people. Especially those who live on their own. A care package containing musical therapy, arriving unannounced via snail mail, is guaranteed to brighten the loneliest of days.