Conleth Kane: I'm ready to live my life again. Humans are not built for lockdowns
Gail Bell asks experts and people in the public eye what keeps them going. This week: Lurgan-born Londoner, singer-songwriter Conleth Kane
Up and at it – what is your new morning routine? How has it changed?
The first thing I do is walk to the kitchen, put the kettle on and then switch on the radio. I need to have a cup of tea before I can function. I get back into bed and immediately do any email or social media responses so I know that is done before my day begins.
What might you eat in a typical working day for...Breakfast?
I either have avocado on rye bread or Shreddies with 'Rude Health' almond milk.
Perhaps a vegetable wrap with hummus or some vegan soup.
A vegan burger with salad is my usual go-to evening meal. Or vegan pesto pasta with spicy beans and rocket leaves.
Have you been able to work from home – if so, how have you found it?
When I released my album last year, I did the majority of promotion online. I even did a live BBC Radio Ulster performance from my dining room because they were not having anyone come to the studio. Throughout lockdown I did lots of online coaching for kids who were auditioning for films, commercials and other professional work. Some of them got quite a few of the jobs, so that was super rewarding.
Best/easiest lockdown meal?
I became vegan before the first lockdown, so I used lockdown as a real opportunity to explore cooking. I love toasted rye bread with smashed avocado, tomatoes, rocket and chilli flakes. Quick and easy.
I absolutely adore my 'Honest Burger' every Friday. Sometimes, I pop into Soho and go to my favourite restaurant, Old Compton Brasserie.
How have you kept physically and mentally fit during lockdown?
I absolutely hated working out from home as I love being in a room of people and feeling the group energy, but I did online pilates and yoga and took a huge walk every single day. I also did mediation. I struggled mentally - very much so. It was a real challenge.
What has been your daily outdoor exercise?
My main form of exercise is Bikram yoga - it's in a hot room of 45 degrees. Working out in the cold isn't for me.
How do you relax?
I find it very hard to relax, but yoga really helps me switch off. I try to do about three or four classes each week.
Teetotal or tipple?
Halfway in between... I never have alcohol at home. I only drink when I am out at an event or in a social situation.
What book are you currently reading?
You'll Never See Daylight Again by Michaella McCollum. It's a fascinating read.
I completely binge-watched The Handmaid's Tale on Amazon Prime during lockdown.
Most surprising thing you've learned about yourself?
This is such a hard question. I like to think I know myself very well. I suppose I am stronger than I think. Two days before the initial lockdown was announced, I burst into tears and had a panic attack. I was about to lose all social contact and work and I honestly didn't think I'd manage a few days, never mind months on end. I definitely struggled, but I managed when I thought I wasn't going to be able to deal with it at all.
On a scale of one to 10, where have you been in relation to cabin fever and where are you now?
I suffer from claustrophobia and the thought of being trapped anywhere makes me fall apart. Lockdown was my worse nightmare. I was forced into a situation in which I knew I would really struggle, so my cabin fear was always a 10. It has definitely decreased to around six or seven. I shudder when I think of the lockdowns and being unable to leave home.
What are the three things you missed most during the beginning of lockdown?
My family, my friends and my work.
Where will you go and what will you do when restrictions are fully lifted?
Thankfully, in England the majority of restrictions have been fully lifted for almost two months now and it has been amazing. I have been clubbing, going on holidays, catching up with friends and being back on stage. I'm ready to live my life again. Humans are not built for lockdowns - the damage on society is massively disproportionate.
When people don't respond to email/text. I understand people can be busy, but to not respond is rude.
Have your priorities in life or perspectives changed?
I lost friends during the pandemic due to mental health issues, so that really amplified the importance of our existence and the fact that life can be snatched away at any moment. I have always tried to achieve my goals in life and do what I love and spend time with those I love most. I'm still sad and feeling a little hollow from the entire experience, but my mindset is positive.
Any new skills or hobbies?
I rediscovered my love for reading over the past year. Also, I definitely know now how to use Zoom.
What would you like to see change for good when this is all over?
I think we all know that the health care system needs way more attention and the government needs to step up. Also, as someone who works in the arts, I definitely felt that our industry was tossed aside during the pandemic. As an industry, it brings so much joy to people's lives. Artists are important and our industry is viable. It should never be treated with such disregard ever again.
Has coronavirus changed your attitude towards your own mortality?
I fear death because I love life, but I try not to give it much thought. I am not going to hide under my sofa from Covid-19, though. I've had the vaccine and I want to get back out there and live my life.