A Journal of the Plague Year 2.0 Day 17

21st November 2020

Life’s been quite lovely these past few days. Hanging out with friends, taking time to cook and having clothing (even changing them). On occasion feeling snug, as I am now swaddled in a blanket and staring out at trees, one of which has a birdfeeder and occasional sparrows. Every time your head swivels to look at them they fly off like Godzilla just showed up. Tits.

I’ve looked at the phone the once all day, missing a call from Mum and about 80 Whatsapp messages on various groups. Werk has about 33 emails mostly entirely unconnected to my having to view them, such as a customer enquiring about a missing button, or the enticing update to get your printing requests in. An unwelcome reminder of other responsibilities, of a very real world beyond.

Can we all just agree to Universal Basic Income, aka luxury communism? The gobots do the work and the getting taxed, we do the fruits of their labour. Even if we do have the tech to set it all up and live happily ever after, I bet some fat cat, oozing shares, will demand it all carry on as normal, as miserably normal, as he’ll benefit somehow or other. Like being able to look through his glass floor and see financey people scurrying about in his name, or an extra diamond cushion in the penthouse he never visits.

They tried UBI out in some village in Canada back in the 70s. And found out instead of people burning their windfall on a new pick-up or wardrobe of the latest disco flares, they invested in their own education: retraining or a new degree to build on. Likewise when Norway discovered North Sea oil and reaped back the dividends 40 years later. It put its profits into a sovereign wealth fund, that only ever invested in safe, middle-of-the-road returns, making an extra $trillion. -Enough to gift each citizen into a kroner millionaire, or a population of 5.3 million trustafarians with a $188,000 to blow at the shops.

Already comfortably one of the world’s richest peoples, they did instead vote to reinvest the dosh back into their future generations. Britain on the other hand, that also grabbed a large chunk of the oilfields lost out on an estimated £250-600 billion, thanks to subcontracting the work to private middlemen and funneling off profits to offset taxes (in effect sending it all to a series of property bubbles).

Switzerland was another nation rich enough to try UBI, saddled with the hardships of being the world’s parasitical tax haven, and an inordinate amount of rich folk trying to smear money all over them, year after year. Being really quite used to getting money for free at the top of the capitalist pyramid scheme, they voted not to instate it, less it wobble the whole lovely structure. Yep, they voted NOT to have free money into their accounts each year, the equivalent to £25,000 p/a on top of any work they did. Oh, the Swiss, land of cuckoo clocks and neighbourhood watch.

I’ve found a universal truth to all this. Universality. And I don’t want to go back to Werk.

I like working for myself, being my own boss and all that jazz. I suspect most people, who’ve ever been in contact with other people, may share this world view. It can’t come sooner -Millennials and Generation Z completely fucked with their zero hours future (ensuring no pensions), and saddled with the debts of their forefathers. From global warming to what’s accruing as we speak: all those commercial rents those poor property moguls are losing out on, that is the main rippling cost of the pandemic on populace and businesses alike. Won’t somebody, somebody just think of the children? Trapped somewhere in some lonely chalet school without a single airline to their name. And those yachts just aren’t going to staff themselves.

Maybe we’re all born in the wrong time, when in the future we could be swanning about in a luxury of no regimented schedules and non-commuting, investing our hard-earned cash in pizzas and onesies and trips to Morocco. We’ll maybe just pretend global warming isn’t happening. We’ll maybe just look at those scurrying below us, automated or otherwise and pray they never get sentient to the set up.

Am binge watching The Crown, where money and prestige only buy isolation, and a fucking nightmare of a life without power over one’s own. And feeling thoroughly sorry for poor little rich girls, which we all really are, somewhere in our whirring.

It is perhaps this we should be thankful for. Glass half full n all, that we have our loved ones still in the midst of a pandemic, and that the zombie apocalpyse never did manifest itself.

But then emails. And competition.

Yesterday

Tomorrow

A Journal of the Plague Year Week 15

Sunday 21st June 2020

Yesterday was the longest day for Britain. The sun wobbled about for 19hrs. Across Eastern and Northern Europe especially pre-Christian festivals are kicking off this week depending on where their summer solstice will fall, with drunken shenanigans in the wilderness, wreaths and flowers in their hair and lots of bonfires through the night. I’ve done Midsommar in Sweden a couple of times, and it’s always perfection. A welcome reminder to our pre-Christian, pre-Communist, pre-Capitalist days.

Lithuania

s

Poland

s

Slovakia

s

Sweden

s

s

Norway

NIkolai Astrup

Nikolai Astrup

Alesund enjoys the worlds biggest bonfire 40m /130ft high over the fjords

Belarus

s

Russia

s

Latvia – a fantastic series is here, by Espen Rasmussen: https://espenrasmussen.com/STORIES-II/A-MIDSUMMER-NIGHTS-DREAM-2006/3

s

s

s

s

s

Stonehenge will be taped off this year.

s

s

All this comes on the fact I’ve spent most of the day indoors, having succumbed to microwave food coma after lunch. It’s 8pm and still light, another few hours to go before nightfall, and not one druid seance, or dance round a fire thrown in.

But fuck it, enough on my plate to feel guilty about it. Life’s too short, in the best possible way. It doesn’t mean you have to be jetsetting around living it To The Maxxx, rather don’t sweat the small stuff. Hello sun, goodbye sun.

Made Ukrainian latke for dindins, fried potato cakes with carrot, onions and sour cream dip. Will try aged cheddar in the mix next time, a stronger flavour as the sheeps cheese was undetectable. Then another magical dusk walk, the one after dinner to digest, that the Mediterranean peeps traditionally do. In Greece it’s called the Volta, or the Peripato, in Italy the Passegiata. Saw some foxes, and gaggles of teenagers on street corners, their voices and laughter rising in the last of the sun, as our own urban swansong to Midsummer. The kind of gatherings good natured and sober, as opposed to knifey and drunk like when I was growing up. Generation Z is so much more grown up than we ever were.

Yesterday

Tomorrow