Lockdown insanity and the loss of drive!

I woke up late again as there was nothing to get up for. I rolled over and went back to sleep because I’d lost my drive. Lock down for many people was a time where life stopped and the world outside became exactly that, outside.

The tattoo shop had been closed, my son didn’t have to go to school and my wife wasn’t allowed to go to work at the vets. Time no longer meant anything to anyone.

I am not able to function well without a direction and for a few weeks there I don’t mind admitting I was lost. I had projects on hold all round and was getting a little despondent about everything really! Right up until I realised that my workshop was on its own. I didn’t have to see a single person let alone come in to contact with anyone.  So, I went.

Working hard in my workshop

For the first two days I felt guilty that I was working as no one else was allowed but then I realised I had bills to pay and what I was doing would also keep me sane. There is a lot of talk about mental health these days but especially in lock down. I, like everyone else in this world has had my demons and Metal Machine is one of the ways I keep myself on the straight and narrow and firmly out of trouble!

I had time to focus 100 percent on what I can honestly say is a dream of mine. Making furniture as part of my working life along with our tattoo shop is the way I want my life to unfold. I want to have a happy medium between working with my hands and running the business that has kept us afloat for the past ten years, Madhouse Tattoo!

Lockdown gave me a time to have clarity of vision on what I really wanted from all parts of my career. I started a website to sell my products from. It gave me a solid and professional base to legitimize my new business. All that good stuff is not the point I’m making however. What made things better for me was simply the fact I could focus on making items by hand and stop thinking about all the doom and gloom for just a few hours here and there. The only problem was I got busy! Really busy!

You may not believe this but when you put out to the world that you are making things or doing anything and it is seen you are serious about it, I strongly believe that work will follow. I was the busiest I had ever been while on lockdown making things for family, friends and what I call real customers. People who are not related to you that is!

The first battle was simply to get out of bed but that was easily won when I realised, I had things to do. My social media spread word of what I was making and how I was feeling about it as well as showing the fact that I had found a way to combat the mind-numbing boredom of lockdown. The objects I was making were pushing me to my talent limits and in some cases beyond that. Apparently, this showed people that I was willing to put myself out to them and in that being the case I became relatable as well as real. Being real rather than fake on Instagram for example is key to making any kind of headway. Some people on Instagram have been with me since I started making things and have followed my journey. A lot of them have become friends or at the very least customers.  Because I have always been me and my agenda hasn’t changed others can see I am on a quest if you will and that won’t change anytime soon.

You know in reality I find it hard to watch news and see the world falling apart around us all as I tend to air in the direction of A depressive. I like to shut it all out and making something is a great way to shut out reality.

One of the biggest builds I had ever done came in in this time and that was the farmhouse table with X framed legs and matching benches.

I took the job on for more or less cost as I wanted to show myself that I could do it. That is what drives me. Can I make this? Can I make this to the level of quality I want the pieces I make to be. That chase is what inspires me to get out of bed in a lock down and as it turned out the table and benches ended up being one of the best builds I’ve ever made. The joy of that for both my customers and I distracted me enough to want to get up again the next day and the next to make more furniture and products.

How did you get through lockdown and what drives you to forget what is on the outside and concentrate on what drives you? Leave a comment to let me know. 

Have a look at all my products and see what it is that kept me sane through lock down!


  • Hi Jim. The table looks stunning. A great showpiece.
    We were lucky here at ABC. With everyone working from home in the middle of a heatwave, we had more jobs than we could almost manage. We took on a brand new office so in a way we expanded!. For our staff though it was difficult. Having to send them out in full PPE into homes and empty offices, it plays on your mind should you be doing this ! Is this essential work? Well for the people who had the a/c fitted we know they would say yes. It’s a tough decision though. Our sanity was pushed by decision making.
    Lockdown was such a strange time for everyone. I for one accepted the rules but I do hope and pray that we never have to do that again.
    Keep up your great work Jim. And Madhouse too. You have two fabulous local businesses that I am pleased to support.

  • I’ve been lucky enough to remain in employment during lockdown, but working from home has its challenges and I was wary of rolling out of bed five minutes before work every day and never getting out of my pyjamas!
    Routine is such a massive part of everyone’s lives and going to work/school provides that for most people and all of a sudden lockdown took that away.
    Fortunately our gym started online classes and I enrolled for the 6.30am (I know!) class every day. It gives me something to get up for, I am done before work and my physical health has improved as a result.

  • My favourite blog so far. To find something to focus our minds when everything around us is turning to sh*t is so important. As you asked the question, for me it was training as if it still had a goal that hadn’t been cancelled, getting awesome at my piano pieces, and getting my furry boy the treatment he needed. Oh and of course ordering a shed load of furniture and training equipment from you to make me totally self sufficient during lockdown.

    Nicky Summers

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