One of the many crushing doubts I had about starting this blog was the timing. If I was going to write some pieces peering through the lens of lockdown I should have started the bloody thing at the end of March. Back then fulsome and oppressive quarantine measures were the order of the day. I could have written of isolation and cabin fever and given the whole thing a dystopian feel. Instead I only managed to motivate myself towards the end of May by which point we could all venture out as much as we wished and trips to the supermarket didn’t have to be essential. Let’s face it, I began writing this blog just at the point my clever lockdown-lens became foggy. Further significant easing looms.
This was all brought into sharp focus for me the other day when I received an email saying I could be returning to quizzy action in a matter of weeks. I ought to be happy. In many ways I suppose I am. Everything is about to get reasonably ‘normal’ but I have complicated feelings on the matter.
I read someone on Twitter recently raging about the relaxing of restrictions. They implied the imminent opening of pubs and so on was tantamount to a death sentence for thousands of people and that blood dripped from our government’s hands. Yeesh. In opposition to that I had an unexpected conspiracy theory chat with the bloke who sharpened our knives last week. An odd man who worked wonders with a grindstone to give him his due. “There is no virus.”, he claimed. “We should never have entered lockdown. Covid-19 is a strain of synthetic flu released into the populace by the Illuminati to benefit disaster capitalists!”. I confess I was guilty of enabling him slightly by nodding along but when a Flat-Earther is wielding several knives, all of which are getting deadlier by the second, you take the crap on the chin.
My opinion is quite wishy-washy compared to these piping hot takes. I think lockdown easing is necessary for everyone’s mental wellbeing. There isn’t going to be a vaccine available for months (indeed, we may never find one) and the impact of lengthy social and familial isolation on humans is proven to be extremely deleterious. We should obviously do everything we can to emerge from lockdown as safely possible. Lives can still be saved and that’s a positive we should all cling to. I wish more was made of the recoveries than the deaths. I wish people wouldn’t accuse others of murder so lightly. I wish people would accept minor inconvenience to help facilitate minor diminished risk. Like I said, wishy-washy stuff but I’m shades of grey all the way through, I’m afraid!
Beneath almost all of these blogs I’ve written a little bit about the progress I’m making with my play. I’m not going to bother today. None of the new measures will allow theatres to re-open and that fact is providing me with a substantial obstacle. An enormous creative spur for me is the knowledge that what I’m writing will see the light of day. If I’m confident someone (or I) might produce it, the play writes itself. The minute some doubt enters my mind I really struggle. Right now, the miserable situation the nation’s playhouses find themselves in is really getting me down. What am I writing it for? Who am I writing it for? Am I using the country’s dramatic malaise as an excuse to stop tapping about on my laptop and start tapping about of my PlayStation 4? Possibly. Probably. I’m definitely making more progress on The Witcher 3 than I am with my play at the moment!
Okay, so I lied about not putting anything here. I’ve decided I need to ‘own’ it. I’ve made no progress on the play since my last blog.
Thomas Willshire is a writer/actor/comedian who just about lives in London with his wife, Polly and dog, Fergal. He considers himself the fortunate product of a supportive and loving environment.
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