A Journal of the Plague Year Day 52

Saturday 9th May 2020

A hot day, a weekend, the first time they’ve coincided in about 7 months, of which the last two have been under lockdown. For some – I should say many -that’s irresistible. Apparently all the parks were inundated; the ones in East London, lair of the hipsters in the noughties, kept up their tradition of BBQing in their crappy parks (mostly bare lawns and no landscaping), en masse as they used to do on Sundays. So much so that the fun police gave up, and sent Tweets instead.

Hackney, so full of the city’s yoof looked positively normal. At Broadway Market, the punters flocked anyway -despite the lack of a market:

We decided today would be the day where the second wave would start from, and not to go out. A pledge in blood, with cat sacrifice. But outside it was already kicking off.

We could already hear whooping, as people gathered into picnics on the lawns below, obviously with alcohol thrown in, and still morning. For the rest of the day some guy strummed his guitar too. How very dare they! Totes envied them.

By late afternoon I think they went inside to vomit and die, but a lovely car alarm took their place. For hours on end, we had to watch telly to cut it out.

Norbit was the film, dating from 2003. Eddie Murphy was nominated a few times for the Golden Raspberry Awards for it (opposite of the Oscars for the worst film of the year). I’m sure it would be unreleasable today.

The trailer looked fun, very un-PC (fat woman knocking over stuff, breaking shit, and causing hi-jinx at waterparks), and a guilty pleasure. But when faced with the reality it fell a bit flat; oh how we’ve changed.

Don’t get me wrong I did laugh, but for a large part I was on Rasputia’s side, made ever more the monster by believing herself beautiful and confident against all odds. And Thandie Newton annoying AF as the downtrodden supermodel-type who wants to open an orphanage and falls madly in love with nerds on her wedding day. Also for a large part, every scene is filmed with a real, obese actor, just her head’s replaced by a CGI Murphy, who plays many of the main roles. I mean, poor woman. Also her younger self is played by an overweight girl, face clearly unhappy to be doing the screen time, as she causes ponies to suffer by sitting on them. I mean, how’s she gonna live that down back at school?

Anyhoo, despite the weak reception (scoring only 9% on Rotten Tomatoes) it opened at no. 1 at the US box office, and earned $160m worldwide from a budget of $60m. It also went on to spawn two sequels.

Some mates have suggested I go over to their place in Stockwell and we’ll have a drink. They’ll sit in the doorway and I’ll hang out on the steps, New Yawk in the 70s style. Not sure I’m with that. Also they’ve invited me to an online clubbing experience at the Dalston Superstore. I’m just like NO, £1.50 a ticket to watch other people bouncing on a group chat -Xmas lights behind, while a DJ sorts out the tracks, and one of the little screens will have performers. Seriously???

IT Crowd re-runs finished off the day. That perfect balance of ker-plunk and cheese as to be tongue-n-cheek, with the whole cast and directors in on it. A production taking the piss out of it’s low budget and ham writing. In a way before its time.

I have absolutely degraded into a slob. Scrolling in bed for half the day, getting up to feed. Watching an episode of something on the box while I do. More scrolling, more feeding. A film, then more scrolling. No change of clothes, shower optional. No outside, no exercise. I’m not reading books, that got replaced by scrolling. And now not even that, I’m addicted into TikTok. I wonder if this should feel so normal. What if we just say fuckit to the guilt, we’ve got enough on our plates.





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