Where we celebrate/commiserate a year living in Brighton and consider what other jobs I could do, as we plunge into yet another lockdown.
I’ve been back in the UK for a year now. Yes amazingly it is only a year since I was trying to decide whether to stay, whilst enjoying some wonderful late summer sunshine in Brighton.
Of course when I made the decision to settle in the UK for a bit I wasn’t to know that The Virus was on its way.
Had I known, I certainly wouldn’t have opted to live alone in a small flat in the city centre (chosen for its proximity to cafes, theatre, galleries and other things I enjoy), without any outdoor space. But hindsight’s a wonderful thing.
The projects I planned to work on whilst I was here haven’t come to fruition. This is mainly because of The Virus but also because I’ve been plagued by a kind of low-level depression since I got here (mainly due to the virus and the general feeling of isolation it has caused).
Back in March, I thought it would blow over in a few months and then we could all go back to our lives. So I sat indoors, watched a great deal of Netflix and waited. Now I’m getting to the point where I don’t believe I will ever travel, or go to a live music concert, ever again.
(Warning: rant alert)
The government handling of the Covid crisis has not filled me with any confidence. I get so angry. Our old people were sacrificed, crammed into care homes that were used as dumping grounds to stop them from taking up hospital beds.
Meanwhile BoJo takes one u-turn after another. The man is just too stubborn to admit that he might have got it wrong. He patronises us as if we are small children. He reminds me of my parents, always telling me all was well when it patently wasn’t.
He tells us that there is a ‘science’ behind every decision but won’t tell us what the science is. The subtext is ‘there’s no point because you’re probably all too stupid to understand it’.
Working in ‘the arts’
The Arts have been abandoned as frivolous and unnecessary whilst the government pats itself on the back about what a generous, caring system we have.
Work, always a challenge to find, has dried up completely; freelancers are always the first to lose out when cuts are being made. Most of my emails are going unanswered; at least before I had the odd encouraging rejection letter to keep me going. Nobody is interested in reading about travel right now. Yet still I fall through every loophole for any government assistance.
The latest is that all us people in the arts who have seen our incomes dwindle to nothing should go retrain and get a proper job (I’m paraphrasing but that’s then gist of the government rhetoric).
In fact, there is a quiz on the government website to help us to pick the most useful way to retrain for our sparkling new pandemic-proof career change.
I took the quiz and their suggestions for me are :
- Paediatrician (this takes around 11 years of training so I’d better get moving on this fast).
- Yoga therapist (it’s not as if everyone I meet isn’t training to be a yoga teacher is it? Soon there’ll be more yoga teachers than there are people in this country).
- Sexual health adviser. I say nothing here.
It really is just random; I’ve taken quizzes on BuzzFeed that probably have a more scientific basis.
Lockdown Part 2
Suddenly last weekend someone leaked that a nationwide lockdown, similar to France and Spain, was imminent. People started panic buying haircuts. Queues formed outside of Primark (wouldn’t want to be caught in a lockdown without a selection of cheaply made t-shits, after all).
Mentally, I feel as if I barely survived the last lockdown, and when it looked like we were doing it again my brain went into freefall.
Except we’re not and this one is very different. For a start, the schools are remaining open. ‘Non essential’ shops have closed but during the first week a lot of independent shops appeared to be flaunting the rules; there is a greetings card shop near me that has remained open and somebody told me that a nearby carpet warehouse was also open.
During the day you wouldn’t know there was a lockdown on and the streets are as busy as ever. It is only at night that things are deathly quiet, with pubs and all ‘entertainment venues’ closed. It’s too cold (and/or wet) for people to sit on the beach drinking and chatting like they did in the last lockdown, so I’m not sure where everyone has gone. Most likely they are at home, which obviously is the intention.
We shall see how the winter plays out. Some people are predicting that this lockdown will be extended through to next summer, but I can’t see it. The mood has changed and there are too many lockdown objectors now, marching for their rights to roam the streets in large groups, unencumbered by masks, spreading the virus to people more vulnerable than them. This type of partial lockdown is really not satisfying anyone; depending on your POV you either find it too restrictive or not restrictive enough.
All this and it’s barely November. Somewhere amongst this winter of discontent we also have to deal with the fallout from Brexit. Bojo flounces out of every discussion, like a spoiled child not getting his own way. No deal Brexit has now been rebranded as Australian style Brexit; this makes it sound less frightening but the result will still be the same. An Australian style Brexit is a no deal Brexit; have no illusions about that.