Watching the world watching us: Covid and Six60 headlines a reminder of New Zealand’s privilege

Watching the world watching us: Covid and Six60 headlines a reminder of New Zealand’s privilege



I didn’t go to Six60 last night.

Being a boomer trapped in a millennial’s body, I was, instead, in bed by 8pm, with a cup of tea, a book and zero regrets (I didn’t choose the nana life, the nana life chose me).

I didn’t really think about Six60, save for seeing a couple of headlines about the concert before going to bed.

This morning, doing my usual round through the international news sites, halfway through my first coffee, I was surprised to see the photos of the show making news overseas.

I mean, seriously? Sure, it’s a pretty sizeable crowd, some cool drone shots and whatnot. But not the kind that would warrant articles in international news sites, I thought to myself, clearly still well below the caffeine red line.

It took me an embarrassingly long amount of time to remember why it was special enough to warrant international headlines – and that’s what made me realise that, despite my best efforts, my brain has normalised it all. Living in a small town in New Zealand, I hadn’t even stopped to comprehend how used I am to having “normal” back.

People around the world commented on how great it must be to be in New Zealand, a country that can safely host a concert in a stadium packed with 50,000 people.

I, for one, needed that reminder.

I don’t think I take it for granted, in the sense that I am not reckless or dismissive of our lack of restrictions – but I clearly have internalised it to the point where it only comes into my mind as an afterthought.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I speak to family and friends overseas every day and, for the last year and a bit, they’ve all been in some form of lockdown. At work, hardly a day goes by when I don’t write something related to Covid. Between all those things, you’d think I’d be pretty aware of how privileged my situation is. Even so, I normalised my “normal” and didn’t think of what others, who don’t have it, would make of those images.

I sent the photo above to my friend on the other side of the world who replied with “but they’re all wearing masks, right?”

Nope. Not even that.

Her comments and the sudden realisation that this concert is a rarity in today’s world reminded me of the utter privileged situation we all live in, going about our lives without masks, social distancing or curfews.

We get to speak about lockdown in the past tense while for much of the world it is still a present continuous.

We get to go to concerts. We also get to choose not to go to concerts. We even get to, like I did, forget that we have that choice.

I didn’t go to see Six60 at Eden Park so can’t give you a review of that (my colleague Lydia did and you should read what she thought of it).

But I can give you a review of what it’s like to choose not to go places because you don’t want to, rather than not going places because you live in lockdown due to a deadly pandemic. I can write a review of what it’s like to have a life so boringly normal that your brain gets to forget that the rest of the world would find a concert in New Zealand by a New Zealand band something to even talk about. I can review the privilege of taking my mind off lockdowns and pandemics and choose to go out or stay home, without having to worry about deadly viruses – and that gets a 10/10, five stars, A+, it blows the scale of whatever rating system you choose to use.

But sure, apparently the gig was all right too.

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