The Coronavirus Diaries, 28th January 2021

I finished watching It’s a Sin. I think I wept through at rest 50% of the final episode and a fair amount of the others too, so it may seem perverse to recommend it. There is humour, The acting and writing are uniformly excellent. The 80s soundtrack is wonderful. In case you hadn’t realised, the series title comes from a Pet Shop Boys’ song.

Back in the day when I did my postgrad journalist training it was in an outpost of the London College of Printing (later the London College of Communication, now part of the University of Applied Arts; sometimes it’s hard to keep up), in an old building that had once housed the Daily Mirror in Back Hill, Clerkenwell. On the other side of the road was another building which had been repurposed as we’d say now. Neil Tennant lived there. That’s before Clerkenwell was trendy. I know he was a journalist before a pop star, did he have an affiliation with the LCP? Perhaps, or maybe it was the proximity to the Guardian offices, or just a quiet part of town to live in away from the starry folk in more obvious locations. I don’t think I ever saw Tennant while I was there, but as I started to write that sentence I thought perhaps I had, but Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian at the time, was someone we saw frequently. Also Rebekah Wade, who had studied at the LCP and swept in to give a guest interview: a mass of red hair, a confident stride and an intimidating stare. The room was packed, but I don’t recall a word of what she said. Nothing about getting your scoops through phone hacking anyway.

Anyway, back to the tv programme. I’d love a Q&A with Russell T Davies about some of the characters and how they develop. I never watched Queer as Folk, so I have some catching up to do there.

Moving on, Celia and I had a walk this evening down to Myatts Fields and then to Ruskin Park. It’s a nice circuit. As we neared home I had to leave her and stride ahead as I needed the loo, but I passed a new shop opening soon selling cakes. I shall have to investigate. Food shops are almost the only things open so hopefully it will survive. Yesterday I went up to the City. I had two missions, one to go to the bank to ask about my new debit card which should have arrived and hasn’t, the other to exchange my empty Sodastream canister for a new one at Robert Dyas. In my neighbourhood people are shopping. It’s quieter than normal, but this is a residential area and there are things we need to do each day which get us out and about. To appreciate the full effect of lockdown go to the City. It’s only about two miles away, but the contrast is striking. The two City branches of Robert Dyas are temporarily closed. The bank had shut half an hour before I got there. There are few people about. Places which are usually buzzing are silent. Offices are almost all empty. It’s slightly busier in Westminster, but not much. I had the disorientating experience of walking up Whitehall last week and although the mounted soldiers were on duty at Horseguards there was no one standing taking pictures, no crowds of tourists.

Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer did a Q&A with some Channel 4 news viewers last night. He was cautious about easing restrictions, warning that we need time for the vaccine to do its work, and until the whole world is vaccinated we are not safe. Timely words. You can watch the session here. So it looks like a few more months of Zoom socialising as once again we see winter fade into spring as the pandemic continues to rage. We have been here before. Let’s hope we’re not here again this time next year. But somehow I do think the world will be a different place.

Stay safe. Keep well. Accept the vaccine and be patient.


10 thoughts on “The Coronavirus Diaries, 28th January 2021

  1. Looking forward to my vaccination on Tuesday: psychologically, I anticipate it feeling like a little shot of optimism. Interesting to read of your LCP days – as a boy, I was in the church choir with Alan Rusbridger, back in my Guildford days!

    • Blimey, is Alan Rusbridger from Guildford too? Good to hear you are getting the vaccine. Remember it doesn’t make you invincible! That was J V-T’s main message really, that until everyone is vaccinated we are not safe.

  2. Well, he was born in Rhodesia but the family came to England when he was very young – went to Lanesborough School and later Cranleigh public school.

    • My friend Gill’s brother went to Lanesborough. I had completely forgotten that until I read your comment. Lots of Cranleigh School connections: friends’ brothers, joint drama stuff with my school. Apparently The Dig was filmed in a field near Guildford. It’s strange how it keeps cropping up!

  3. As our restrictions loosened a tad this week, we had a discussion about haircuts. Decided to wait until we get vaccinated. Its been 10 months – a few more could hardly matter. I have been enjoying the “blondes” who now have six inches of brunette at the roots.

    • I should love a haircut. Though I have found it interesting to see how my goes from wild to looking ok, to looking wild again as it grows. Currently in the dandelion clock phase. I thought yours looked pretty good on Zoom!

        • I don’t know, the trailers made me want to watch it. Then I saw the interview with Russell T Davies on Channel 4 news and that sealed the deal. I think one of the heartbreaking things is that although we have moved on a lot there is still so much homophobia.

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