Cleaned myself: no opportunity
Monkey see, monkey do: oh dear me
Believe in God? are you mad?
YTLH: working on 2
So here I am, in the bunker with Ma & Pa. They chose to lockdown about a month ago ‘just in case.’ Whether it’s down to my late arrival at the ball or otherwise, it has become clear that they wish that their relationship with me was restricted to my leaving bags of shopping on the step then going back to live elsewhere, like the shed for example. Mother has reminded me several times already that I once insisted upon doing the same thing many summers ago – when it suited me, I’m told, as if this time, it now suits them, and they’re owed; and father has wondered out loud a few times where all the sleeping bags are stored. He’s mentioned it in the context of a Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago double bill heading our way soon, but I know what he means. They’d understand if I wanted to assert a little independence.
Until at least the clocks go forward I am staying put. And now at least, as my sorties are restricted to little more than shopping trips, which I have taken to doing at 6 a.m., I am no longer cross-examined as to with whom I’ve socialised and how I managed the hygiene of the encounter, as I was when I returned after a hard day’s slog on the garage forecourt. Once we get into April I’m not saying I won’t. The Wi-Fi signal just about reaches and Pa has started talking about wanting a project. Now that all laws have been relaxed to get us through the crisis, how about turning the shed into a bijou one-bed studio without planning permission I wonder? Living outdoors has its attractions but I am unsure whether I like the sound of the wood pigeons for their heralding of spring arriving, or should avoid it for the melancholia it brings of summers wasted.
For some of us it has been obvious for a long time that this benign bull run would not last forever but who’d have thought that capitalism would have thrown in the towel so quickly? At tea-time tonight I’m going to be the only person in the country who doesn’t work for the government. Oh yes, thanks to my constant companion, prescience, I managed to agree to work not just outside the PAYE system, but also without being a proper self-employed person either. I am perhaps the only schmuck in town who is beyond the reach of the government’s charity.
Is it that capitalism is finally seen to be inadequate for all our human needs, or is it that our sweet cocktail of free enterprise and democracy has produced a well funded government that can step in and do things like it’s currently doing? Without wishing to sound all Momentum about it all, isn’t this the time when we realise that life works better when public and private are all mixed up together? Like when the trains went miles slower but went everywhere?
Roger has closed down his business for the moment, and soon my only recourse to funds will be to beg him for charitable payments. To stave off that moment coming I am making a much bigger deal of the local cinema advertising campaign than is strictly appropriate. But, without a single counterparty with whom I can progress the project currently going to work, it’s beginning to look a bit home-made. Roger has said nothing yet, and I wonder whether he finds it odd that he receives an update every couple of days, when prior to that he wasn’t getting any.
We are still in something of a honeymoon period for watching tele together. The Aged P’s have never condoned binge-watching, so we have a massive back catalogue to get through. That’s the good part. The bad bit is the actual watching. In drama series, particularly the good ones, where the writer doesn’t treat you like a retard, they haven’t got a fucking clue what’s going on from the get go. Mainly because they spend the first fifteen minutes of every episode arguing where else they’ve seen the actors, without paying any attention at all to what’s actually happening. As for light entertainment they have an entirely different approach to mine (everybody I’ve ever met?), which seems to be based on having received their grounding in such things about fifty years ago. My mother believes that spontaneity is the essence of high comedy. The other day I heard her bestow her highest compliment on Bradley Walsh, saying, ‘that was entirely ad-libbed,’ whilst wiping a tear from her eye, as if his improvisation somehow placed it beyond the merely excellent and into the realms of the almost unattainable. I remember now her saying similar things as I grew up and it makes me wonder whether hearing that from her is what has persuaded me to wing it so often when faced with an audience; like I want to provide them with something that is more than merely scripted and professional. Mmmh. Maybe I should re-draft the script for the cinema advert.
And everyone will say this, but I can’t not either. The government has told us to stay indoors and to go outside for but two reasons: i) essential shopping; ii) one piece of exercise. Yet there are people everywhere. The young people in the street are constantly in and out on their bikes, and their parents are hanging out and sitting on their garden walls talking to each other, like it’s the 1970s. I complained about it to the Aged P’s the other day – this particular woman had left her place in the queue outside the corner shop from beside her husband, where she’d been observing the two metres in front and behind rule, to go and talk to her mate at the head of the queue, where they stood and talked for fifteen minutes about eighteen inches apart, her husband tried to call her back but she just shouted at him something like: ‘don’t be stewpat dorling, she’s me friend.’
‘You can’t stop folk from wanting to behave normal,’ came Pa’s wisdom – incidentally, the other day, he told me again, that he has still to meet anyone as wise as him (which includes me of course); and this from the man who gave me one of his science lectures two days ago, for not using the hand-sanitiser when I returned from posting his customer satisfaction survey to Travis Perkins. I started to say, ‘but them’s the rules,’ then gave up, knowing that to defeat me in an argument was a far more worthy pursuit than was to discuss the rights and wrongs of the matter.
I do see a business opportunity here though: a sort of two metre diameter hula hoop attached by braces to your shoulders. It could even have a pocket for sanitary wipes hanging off it in case you get a visitor.