Greetings from home isolation. I know for some you the situation is already worse than in your nightmares. Just being isolated at home can be difficult if there’s no possibility to go out for fresh air or no one to talk to. For me staying at home itself is not difficult. Social distance is my normal life. When I’m not traveling I rarely meet other people than my family members. Usually I’m alone all days long and now I can have my family with me all the time and I enjoy it. I love spending time with my husband and having my sons around me. Creating our new routines has been surprisingly easy. My husband and I take our dog for a morning walk (allowed at least in Finland, not sure how it is in other countries), I make breakfast for the boys, my husband works and I do my projects and at lunchtime we exercise together and the routines continue after that.

What makes it hard is knowing the reality outside our home. People are dying and before the summer maybe thousands of people will die also in my country. It’s already happening in some countries and it will happen all over the world. Instead of following the Asian model with aggressive testing, tracking and quarantines (that seems to work quite well for them) my country is at the moment following the strategy many other European countries and the US seem to follow as well, we are slowing down the virus with isolation but not trying to control it (I’m not an expert but I think we don’t have the same preparedness for that). A large portion of the population will be infected, a certain percentage of that will need hospital care and a certain percentage will die. In some cases the health care system needs to choose who. That is a fact.

There will be many other consequences as well. People are losing their incomes, small business owners are already closing doors permanently. Staying at home is a real struggle for people with mental health problems or for those in the middle of domestic abuse. There are food in shops but families who have depended on their kids having a free, healthy meal every day at school are in troubles. In the long run isolation is not easy for anyone. Not to think about the situation too much and to take care of my own mental health I feel I need to do something all the time. For example, it’s not easy to read as much as I had planned, it’s easier to do something with my hands and listen to audiobooks at the same time.

I’m doing several projects but the biggest and the one related to my blog is going through my archives and organizing my photos and magazine articles. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve written about it before and it took me a couple of years to test different systems and to finally choose the one I’m pleased with and want to use. After testing different albums and files and notebooks and choosing between different picture sizes (small/medium size/large) and between different styles (creative vs. documentary), yes, I’ve finally found what I really like.

I’m using two different systems. For the first and more “formal” one I’m going to use large (A4) black notebooks with strong, thick paper quality to document every album era. My plan is to add material from every concert or event I’ve seen in chronological order. I will use 1-2 large size photos from every concert and add set lists, magazine articles, some signed pics/papers and photos of different design projects Mika has done during years together with his sister. I’m trying to keep everything as simple, tidy and documentary as possible so it’s easy to see how things evolve in photos and in the end these books will describe Mika’s career as I see it.

Obviously, it will be as I see it. I’m using photos I’ve taken myself and chosen to represent each event. There will be a lot of material and I’m planning to do one big size book for each era but as I started concert traveling 2008 and saw only two concerts before Songs For Sorrow Tour I will put LICM and TBWKTM in the same book so there will be four of them.

The second system is something I call “tiny tour books” and I really like this idea. I’m using small, standard size notebooks and filling one for every tour. These tiny books are not only about Mika’s career but about different tours as I’ve experienced them. So I’m adding not only gig photos but also pictures of venues and places and photos of myself and people I’ve met. These are not in exact time order, I’m focusing on highlights and favorite moments and generally using all kind of pictures I can find in my archives.

At the moment I’m finishing my first big size book (LICM + TBWKTM), I still need to glue the pages, and have already done three tiny tour books (Tiny Love Tiny Tour, Revelation Tour and Australia Tour) and I like them all and I enjoy going through these finished books and love how they feel in my hands. I had an idea to do little videos where I show the result of what I’ve done and tell about these tour books so I ordered a little tripod for my mobile (because I need hands to go through the books) but not sure if it makes any sense to do something like that and if anyone is interested to see? Also, I’ve never done videos and my English is poor so not sure how these will turn out in the end. I probably need to practice a bit.

I enjoy doing this project because it gives me an opportunity to do something with my hands and gives a tangible result but I also feel sadness while going through my old photos because I’m starting to realize that this part of our life is being taken away and we don’t know when and if we will get it back. None of us knows what will happen and how the world will adjust to this crisis. Obviously we need to think that at some point this will be over and that we just need to stay strong and get through this and focus on protecting those who need it most. And I really, really admire everyone who is keeping up their good spirit and even helping the others to do the same. It’s so important.

What makes me weirdly happy in this situation is that it’s giving Mika an unexpected opportunity to live quiet life for a moment. He must be so worried about his family and absolutely devastated for the cancellations but at least now he’s living quiet, ordinary life with his partner and can hopefully do everyday things he usually can’t do, read, think, maybe even create something at home. Seeing him having a possibility for all that makes me really happy and just watching him doing the most ordinary things gives me so much comfort.

For that reason I’ve loved watching Cooking With Mika and I hope he continues his insta live sessions and keeps those moments as simple and cozy as they have been so far. To be honest, I’m not interested in seeing too many live guests or too complicated recipes. All I want is him cooking, eating (!), dancing, chatting about the songs he has chosen, about his everyday life and about the world in general and of course a glimpse of Andy – who is the sweetest – just to know he’s there. That is enough and I could watch that every day. Well, as often as they offer it to us.

I hope everyone is well and surviving and finding ways to live through this home isolation. I’m trying to figure out how to introduce the books I’m doing in case anyone wants to see and also writing another, longer blog post about music and will post that when finished. Take care xxx