Tonic Music Blog and ‘All in this Together’ Recording – A response to the current climate

Tonic Music advisor Dr John Barnes explains how social inequality can destroy mental and physical health, and why it’s so important in the current climate. The blog includes a beautifully recorded song by John in response to the pandemic.


‘The Ghost Town Effect’ was published on 27th June 2020 by Tonic Music Advisor Dr John Barnes.

Accompanying the Blog is the recording  ‘All in this Together’ an anthem reflecting the current pandemic and to ending inequalities in physical and mental health linked to social injustice over many years but now amplified by Covid.

The Blog – The Ghost Town Effect

The 1981 hit Ghost Town by The Specials reflects the anger of young people at social conditions of the time; “no job” and “all the clubs closed down”.

In 2010 John was amazed to learn from health scientist Michael Marmot just how badly physical health and mental health are affected by the conditions in which we are born, grow, live and work.

Focusing on the differences in health outcomes due to economic poverty in his blog, John is calling them the Ghost Town Effect, as it’s less of a mouthful to say than the scientific term Social Determinant(s) of Health (SDOH).

As John suggests we know COVID is more likely to be serious if you are over 70 or have predisposing illnesses. If you are from BAME communities your risk is also particularly high and there are rightly calls for specific protection for BAME frontline workers. It’s likely that the Ghost Town Effect is part of this finding. People from poorer areas have had at least a doubling of risk of death due to COVID compared with those from well off areas.

Read the full blog here

Listen to the song entitled All in this Together, which John wrote and recorded whilst writing this blog.

Also, the song can be downloaded via ‘Now that’s what I call Glastonbury Calling’, a Fundraising album put together from artists across the West Country, with all proceeds going to keeping local music venues open.

Check out ‘Now that’s what I call Glastonbury Calling’

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