A Journal of the Plague Year 2.0 Day 11

15th November 2020

So have been updating yesterday’s entry (pretty much doubling it) which is terrible habit and that oft takes up hours. But was rudely jarred out the rabbit hole by the sound of a big explosion, echoing at about ten past one. I checked the window and no ballooning little mushroom cloud, the platforms utterly quiet and not one lingering scream of agony, or desperate klaxon.

Ho hum. Oh well, no delightful fantasy of a spot of excitement to break the day (roaring fire engines, police vans, cable news teams, possibly filming me rescuing a small, blonde child). J said he hears it at his workplace every so often and it may have something to do with trains. Perhaps crashing, or they’ve set off a firework at the pigeons.

It’s Sunday, which means the Day of Rest. Again. Albeit I did clean the flat and got J to do the kitchen. Later a sudden storm whipped up quite atmospherically, and thunder boomed, making me wonder if there’d been a random lightning strike earlier, from a cloudless sky. Made a curry, watched some people vlogging their holidays, vicariously trotting the globe before snoozing again into ponderous nothing.

And realising I currently, utterly am devoid of a life. The biggest part of my day so far has been a noise.

Rather a big part of my existence these days is all about forgetting I exist. News sites, architecture fora, armchair travelling, culture wars, kittens, fat people falling, animals being dicks, dashcams, industrial explosions. All plated up from my personal, algorithmically enhanced echo chamber.

Meanwhile, back in the real world the almost-distant state of Slovakia has pulled off a feat never before seen anywhere else on the planet -testing almost 70% of its populace over two days, and discovering over 50,000 extra cases among its 5.4 million people. UK sent observers to the huge process and are now rolling out similar to Liverpool, having learned from how one country can test a full half of its population within 24 hrs. The Slovakians used antigen tests which can give results in 15 mins, but aren’t as accurate -yet have proven very useful for smaller countries or catchments. It’s coming here in one form or other soon. Literally out of a movie, and a point in history to always remember. I can’t overstate how subtly important it will be -the beginning of the end.

Oh and on the subject of governance I’ve just discovered Chris Hedges. Academic, activist, writer-reporter, and cultural commentator who’s literally been through the wars and seen a thing or two about human nature, governments and institutionalised idiocy.

He mentions we are living in an era of corporate, totalitarian socialism. Whereby the banks and multinationals call the shots, and are supported by a corrupted state -a genuinely libertarian, capitalist system would’ve finished them off a long time back. Instead they get the money of the workers, equally divided. And get away with it by promoting a culture of illusion to the populace, one in which we replace hope and empathy with narcissism and hierarchy, a marriage of cool new social media and the cronyist establishment.

That selfie stick or Insta-feed, it’s a form of idolatry (Hedges is surprisingly religious still, perhaps from all the death he’s seen in the conflict zones). We are on the pedestal now as the new God, yet just as exceptionalist, judgemental and illusory.

Only found that in passing, and it speaks to me. So much. But it’s all very heavy for Right Now, and I don’t have an hour or three to give it justice, respectfully dissecting and disseminating, fact checking, shaking my fist at the skies and plotting arson. I know organising a revolution may very well be Getting a Life, but not when you just wanna watch Jaws IV The Return, swaddled in blankets and biscuits.

It’s been two full days since I actually had a change of clothes, drifting about in a bathrobe like a secure-wing patient. Hair’s a thatch and a big red zit mars the chin. I’ve resolved to go out for dinner, to make some Dutch-Indonesian chips, an invention from immigrants on that side of the Channel. Chips from the Chippy, which I’ll ladle with peanut sauce, mayo and raw onion.

Don’t care what anyone says, tis a thing of beee-yoo-tee, and a bed for my face.

However this El Dorado will involve me picking a costume, as Londoners can be wont to do, sorting the hair, a shave and concealer on my head in order to brave the Great Outdoors. Arrrghhh. As a great philosopher once said, ain’t nobody got time for dat.

It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s wet, but I gotta work for it. I do enjoy my own company a great deal I’ve discovered, it just takes hours to get rid of the niggling guilt at the back, like spiderlegs in a cranny. Or the sense that someone, somewhere out there is judging me, as I lie in bed for 5 hours smelling of wee and squirrels. To get the place empty, short of an ebola outbreak I lie in wait, week after week for that perfect storm. J has left for the night to see his other half, A has decamped for the weekend to his art studio (a garage in a friend’s house). So finally, I have the flat to myself to cavort in, streaking from room to room in human skins, drinking from a badger skull and farting openly, gloriously.

I’ll be watching some horror flick likely, stuffing my face. Bring it on.

Update: Just got back in. I found myself something to embellish the chipfest. A trifle. A MOTHERFUCKING TRRIIIIFLE BITCHES, reduced in Tesco’s. I am literally delirious.

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