The Revolution will not be televised.

Of all the strange things I find myself thinking, reading, doing during lockdown, watching ‘The Crown’ on Netflix has to be my single most surreal experience.  Here I am, glued to a screen, watching a drama about how Old England dies as Old England dies.  I’ve got to confess, I’m loving it.  It couldn’t be any better if the B.B.C., King of Costume Dramas and Propaganda, had produced it.

I’ve started on Season 3, coz I can’t face any more death and there’s less of it, in Britain, as the century recedes.  So far, I’ve cried with Olivia Coleman’s Queen Elizabeth, as she buried Winston Churchill.  I’ve felt the pain of an ageing Prince Philip, as he recalls his Mother been taken to an asylum in his youth, and I have sympathised with a duty bound young Charles who must forsake his acting at Cambridge to spent a term in Wales learning Welsh.

Given that, spoiler alert, he goes on to be the Prince of the Country and to earn a tidy sum from his assets there, it’s not at all an unreasonable demand.  But he’s young, he’s got a lead role in a play, and he’s played in the drama by someone that looks less inbred than the actual Prince Charles.  It’s hard not to feel for his earnestness.

I could blame it all on the writing and the acting and the production values that pay astounding attention to period detail, but that’s only half of it.  As well as becoming emotionally attached to fictionalised versions of Establishment figures, I also went through a phase of worrying about the Prime Minister, back when he had the virus and wound up in I.C.U.

Seriously, I was up every morning, checking on his health on twitter.  Stealthy, obviously, I wasn’t adding #getwellboris to my search history.  Then, as soon as I heard he was back in Checkers watching ‘Withnail and I’ and ‘Love Actually’, it was business as usual #borisisawanker

I’m ashamed of my empathy with a potentially dying man because it makes me both weak and stupid.  Johnston has shown zero empathy for the sections of society most in need of humane governing.  His polices, his indifference and his previous career as a faux journalist all contributing indirectly and directly to countless deaths, and that’s  before the virus.  To wish him well is the political equivalent of wishing harm on others.

And for all that, I didn’t want him to wind up on a slate with some kind of pauper’s funeral, coz even the Tories couldn’t have spun a state affair.  I didn’t want his pregnant girlfriend bringing into the world a fatherless child, even though it’s almost certain she will fall victim to the very same sort of feckless parenting arrangement that drives less privileged women to benefits and food banks.  I didn’t want to think of how fucked we were as a Nation, if we couldn’t even keep the Prime Minister alive.

And so I wished him well and now he is, and I wish I hadn’t spent that last wish so carelessly.

I can console myself with the knowledge that I am a ‘good’ person.  By this I mean, I have reached some ambiguous state of morality devised in the distant past by mediocre men who couldn’t face their own darkness.  It’s the equivalent of the participant medal they give all the kids on sports day.  You have failed at an intelligent response but at least you tried.

And that’s the point, it’s all so very trying now, as time stands still and we find our minds racing, desperate to fill in the void that used to be the outside world.  Desperate to understand where our democracy went and what has replaced it. Desperate to predict what our future might look like even if these prophesies are dark and dystopian.  A bleak future is better than a blank one.

It might be helpful to consider that our democracy hasn’t disappeared, it never existed to begin with.  It’s an illusion that is crushed beneath the boots of every national emergency or every casual observation of an airport in action.  We have always lived in a pretend democracy with its implied freedoms for the many and its actual freedoms for a lot less than that.  But at least our democracy has widespread access to Netflix.  And thank God for that, and thank God for ‘The Crown’, the fictionalised one, obviously.











The Quest for Truth in a Post Truth Pandemic

I haven’t blogged since this crisis began because I haven’t wanted to share my thoughts, largely ‘coz there are so many of them and most of them are depressing as fuck.

We’re all going to die. That thought comes and goes like a pendulum swinging, forward and back, on a six foot clock from some place in the past. The past is a foreign country, except it isn’t. It’s a series of actions and consequences. Individually.  Globally.

The future is a foreign country, right now, and that’s the closest thing to truth you are going to hear today.  When are we getting back to normal?  We ask, seemingly unaware that normal wasn’t normal, and that’s why we’re in this Orwellian nightmare to begin with.

Business as usual is where we were ’till the economy ground to a halt.  We were so busy buying and selling stuff, and working our asses off to pay for it, that we lost sight of the society we were all still part of.

‘There is no such thing as society’, Thatcher told us.  The Sunday Time’s expose on the Torie’s response to the pandemic is a damning indictment that she was taken at her word.  But you can’t trust The Times ‘coz it’s owned by Rupert Murdoch who everybody knows is a shady character.  He is not as dodgy as Bill Gates, though, who may be using this pandemic to further his evil plan of creating global vaccines. 

Global vaccines don’t sound evil, unless you’re a passionate anti vaxxer.  And they are a growing movement.  Mothers mainly, much maligned and mocked, because they don’t trust their governments and they are afraid of harming their children.  And yet, only a fool would trust the government and not fear they are harming our children.

At least the anti vaxxers believe there is something to vaccinate against, which is more than can be said of those who believe there’s no coronavirus at all.  It’s all an elaborate hoax to take down a global cabal of elite paedophiles trafficking children through a world wide network of underground tunnels, so they can terrify them, kill them and drink their blood, ‘coz it gives you a high better than, but comparable to cocaine.  Who knew?  QAnon.   And the blokes arming themselves and taking to the streets to protest their right to die. 

You’d have to be crazy to believe any of that, though?  Which takes us close to another truth.  We’re all a bit crazy, now. 

They built us houses and gave us toilets that flushed, and fashioned some garments for us out of other women’s labour, and we forgot the basic truth about ourselves.  We are animals.  Fancy animals that can talk and play Nintendo DS. 

And thank God for Nintendo and all the African kids that were exploited in order for me to have some peace of mind during a lockdown.  ‘Coz lockdown isn’t easy.

Obviously, it’s not as bad as the trenches, and we should grateful we have phones and we have fridges.  Except that’s a false equivalency.  This is our trenches and we are at war.  We have no idea with what or who, but these are not peaceful times.  You can tell that from the death toll.  Which is also a lie.  Not a lie, so much, as a fact, post truth.  Depending on where you get your information from, the figures are much higher or there’s no-one dying at all. 

It’s a plan to keep us in our houses to lay 5G, which will kill us, or else sell all our secrets to the Chinese.  It’s important to remember the Chinese started all this. 

And the truth is, there is no way to tell what the truth is, except it’s not all sunshine and flowers, and it’s not all apocalyptic horsemen, and those of us young enough will know a lot more, in fifty years time, when they release the information. 

By then I’ll be dead, or getting a letter from my local G.P. telling me they have signed a DNR on my behalf. 

Now, there’s a depressing thought and ain’t that the truth?