A Journal of the Plague Year 2.0 Day 6

10th November 2020

Yesterday I found out I’d lost a highly lucrative stint that two agencies had approached about, to be in a Braun ad for the Asian market -Taiwan and Japan. £33K -more smackeroonies than I’ve ever known -evaporating instantly, and a rehash of my plans on throwing money over the bed and laughing manically, before putting a deposit on a future sun-dappled life.

It didn’t help I can’t grow enough stubble on the jaw and have an ugly, gurning smile; should never have sent that last photo. Not that I was ever realistically in the running -but all those clean cut plans, and catalogues flipped through, now pissed on. I then showered, shaved (finally), washed the hair and dolled myself up, all to go shopping in Lidl. Trundling through the aisles feeling frail and old but all bespoke, and willing to fuck for affirmation. Ended up blowing £60 -six-ty pouunds! including a three fish bake (£6) and a vintage six-pack of cider. Which is breaking a rule I’ve adhered to for the past few decades: never drink at home or alone, ever since I was necking two bottles of Vermouth daily (the greatest alcohol to £ ratio) in front of the box, to feel invincible to life and the Teletubbies.

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But I’ll save it for going out, planning to meet a mate in some muddy pocket of London to drown my sorrows, despite we live in opposite ends of the capital. Saw a B-movie about a cop battling alcoholism and er, a werewolf somewhere in the American midwest. Which was a spirited sojourn into shouty catastrophism over crumbling structure and rather reminded me of being back at Werk. The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a subtle comedy valiantly acted, despite a low budget, slightly off screenplay, and the death of Robert Forster mid way. Director, writer and starring protagonist Jim Cummings of Thunder Road fame (much feted in Sundance and Cannes in 2016) reprises the role of a disintegrating cop who proves he’s not just a pretty pin-up. Albeit almost too pretty, like a fashion model fighting off a rather big alsatian for an edgy shoot. He’s probably had to battle this his whole life, to the point of fuck it, imma just do this myself, to the tune of the tiniest violin.

I mean c’mawn just look at that.

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Cummings does go to lengths to portray the individualism of society -a tad too luridly in how every oar is ethusiastically thrust in, and how that really fucks up investigations, or anything resembling project management. It is of course to be taken tongue in cheek and provides much needed humour to a cold Rockies backdrop, but everyone throughout is so ludicrously self serving, finger pointing, angry, gossipy, needy yet obnoxious it takes a toll on those who endure it in real life. No longer artistic hyperbole -it is what’s wrong with the world. But it does have its moments, from corrupt cops trying to give sorry presents to insulting member’s wives at the lovey-dovey AA meeting. At some point, life administered, our Mounties man mentions things were better at Abu Ghraib.

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Acting out comes thick and fast, from his randy, escapologist teen daughter to spitting, accusatory mourners to mind-numbingly thick townsfolk intent on a witchhunt, it all adds up to sex cop’s ongoing meltdown. I am now a fan of this guy, notably his outlook on society which we could share many, many intimate vodkas over, possibly at a lakehouse. I’d positively go wibbly if ever we went for the same bottle in the supermarket and our fingers you know, accidentally brushed. Or he came and stalked me round the mysterious dells of Clapham Junction and the NHM SHOP LONDON SWIE 6SQ ENGLAND 0800 696969 and I’d pretend not to like it.

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So, there isn’t a great deal of scares, though the one that did make me genuinely jump came from a thrown beercan. This film isn’t meant to be a horror, which comes as a side, but I’ve found in general I’m pretty much immune nowabouts to getting fear off a screen. Horrors these days are far too formulaic, riddled with cheesy jump scares of fluttering birds or people brushing past to the sound of giant screeching strings. And monsters that don’t really act like monsters (unrealistic: slowing down when cornering prey, crap at chases, always getting up again), hounding victims so stupidly frail it’s frustrating (she who runs falls, is investigative of fear while calling loudly, gets lost within seconds in the woods -usually via a leaf litter slide, only ever hits the thing once when it’s down).

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I’m no longer scared by women and children with white face paint, large eyeballs/ mouths, complex skin conditions or bad hair days. Furry man-suits, rubber faces, pointy ears and dribbling teeth. Sex party costumes. People who are transparent, or clad in steampunk. I’m genuinely more frightened when watching fat people on youtube jumping for rope, or teens having a laugh with wheels. At least you know what happens is going to play out the way it immovably will, in real time, in real circumstances and reactions, that strikes it closer to home. Real pain right there.

The horror

The horror

Outside it is of course such a disaster we’re living in. When they made the 2011 film Contagion the ultimatum was to create something as true to life as possible, rather than take the tried and tested alternative of going all big guns blazing with deadly little monkeys, as in 1995’s Outbreak. In which er, Dustin Hoffman tried it out as an action hero, with fellowised midgets. Maybe that’s why the monkey was so dinky.

Come on, Hollywood.

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Contagion instead tracked the spread of the invisible virus (rather than use a cute capuchin stand-in to materialise the end of mankind), killed off its protagonist A-listers randomly as any virus would, and portrayed its heroes as entirely normal folk without burnished six-packs willing to give their lives -and all to a backdrop of society barely keeping it together. And so it has come to pass. Motherflipping has it indeed.

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News of a relevant vaccine and that everything will be back to normal by Spring is keeping us waiting in bated, slightly laboured breath, and starting to rattle the cage already at who gets it first. Unemployment has hit 5%, which is actually much better than expected, though its hardest hitting to the young, already lumped with a zero contract future before all this. Domestic violence is again at crisis levels and kids apparently are forgetting how to use knife and fork, as relayed by the BBC in desultory, tutting tones (okay in reality it’s about kids reverting back to nappies and no longer bothering to read since school’s been out for so long).

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Keeping our head up, above water, above stooping for the last beer or stooping when we don’t get it is the battle scene that’s really playing. Just getting on with it, and trying to exact a slobbery, slothenly form of happiness behind the drawn curtains is work enough. Who gives a shit if kids eat out of packets in front of the telly, it’s not actually causing harm, unless it is all crisps and corn you terrible deserve-to-be-downtrodden parent you!

My shining saviour will come in the form of a proper B-movie methinks, while stuffing nachos in my face (can give up on the diet now, which can fuck right off back to celeriac hell). According to the Top 13 werewolf movies, I should check out Bad Moon (1996). “Half Man. Half Wolf. Total Terror.” Can’t flipping wait.

Time to live again, renewed.

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Oh, and Jim, if you’re out there, call me.

Yesterday

Tomorrow

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