A series of hard-hitting tidbits about London life, including an insight into the cultural icon that is Henry Hoover.
The answers you never needed to questions you never asked.
You may not even recognise it as news.
The pandemic isn’t linear or coherent. I started writing an article about my claustrophobic thoughts about an unknown lockdown. A city that once paid no attention is now all ears, in the wake of sirens marking time — as the only time stamp they move through the streets faster than anything else. The sirens cut loud, continue for longer, can be heard from farther away.
Consequences: Listening to the wind I dream all sorts. I dream long and strange and weird.
We still can’t see the horizon. Confusion; contradictions; dithering. Any article about the pandemic is merely a jumbled mess, because as much as we fumble for stories — my bread and butter and the things we all turn to to make sense of the world — none exist.
About this time every day the family next door comes into their backyard into the sun for about 15 minutes. The kids’ shouts are pure joy and happiness.
London: Pandemic Epicentre. TouchDown Feb 23, LockDown March 24. The London I stepped into is an episode of ‘Black Mirror’. Let’s hope we get through this in better shape than Charlie Brooker’s protagonists.
A friend’s dog that has never barked at planes before, when they were a constant overhead, now barks at each and every isolated and intermittent plane that flies over.
In April 2020 I read a piece about goats coming into the Welsh town Llandudno. The author writes: ‘The world’s metropolises … are now silent save for the strange duet of birdsong and sirens.’ I love that sentence and wish I’d written it. I wish that sentence had never been written.
Some birds of prey flush out other birds by mimicking the emergency call of the birds they’re hunting: The hunted birds flee the safety of the tree into the air where the hunter dives in.
The sirens of London float above all else; like foreigners from our pasts, swathing through the city. Last month was an eternity.
Meme: A woman from the 1950s holding a cell phone. In a speech bubble:
‘It’s Kurt Cobain calling, he says we’re stupid and contagious.’
I imagine the virus is knife-edged and stone-sharpened, smooth and without mitigation. That’s not true. I once conceived the virus as a 1980s boy band version of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but that’s not true either. If, when we get out of this — and I have to believe we’ll get out of this — we find we’re worse off than any one of Charlie Brooker’s protagonists, then we’re in so much trouble. The politicians say, “We’re in this together”, but only when it suits.
Anxious: I avoid people, fearful; when all I want to do is smile and chat and make friends.
The Henry Hoover Rap by Zound Asleep Productions
Happy Alley by Kevin MacLeod (Filmmusic.io Standard License); firstname.lastname@example.org
Henry I Love You by Mack Whitwood
Henry the Hoover by The Horne Section
Henry Hoover as a flame thrower
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