An odd sort of day so far. Bitterly cold outside. I had thought about catching the last train up to the west end, cycle around for a few hours, then head back as it starts to get light. This is probably a bad idea though. The night is at it’s longest, and coldest. I’m no longer young and carefree, my joints will suffer because of the temperature. Well, I try to remain carefree on the surface. More seriously, though, there might be peelers about at the stations and well known focal points on the lookout for rebel ragamuffin ne’erdowells intent on assembling for wanton fun, given the year is ending. People are optimistically commenting that the new year should, might, will be better than the present one. This sentiment seems more poignant than usual, understandably, however it won’t be any better or worse. It will be different, certainly. This comparison can be made of any two consecutive years though. The division, milestone, marker, is only today because the calendar was arranged in a certain way. Other calendars, holidays and significant days exist in the past and present. I remember last year leaving the theatre after the matinee was in and finding barricades being constructed to separate and contain revellers, and leaving a narrow pathway for us to retreat to safety. We went to All Bar One underneath Charing Cross Station. There were fireworks later that evening. That doesn’t happen any more. The celebration seems to be more a product of habit, rather than anything of substance. It is a convenient excuse to carry on from Christmas, create a week-long gap of nothing. That’s actually the part I enjoy the most, I think. A time of no pressure, little to do. It was during that week last year that I began writing this journal. It felt like a good time to step back, to observe. I began writing at that low bar in Victoria. It seems like a past era, detouring, deriving there after work.
Since then, there are barricades everywhere in life; in supermarket queues, in railway stations, hastily arranged one way layouts which don’t work or make sense. There are mental barriers too, things we can’t do, health based guidelines advising against normal behaviour (“don’t meet your friends”), societal shaming, lynch mob mentality creating alternate sets of morally superior but fictitious rules, which are repeated enough to become rooted in the folklore “fake truth” (“you can only go shopping once a week”, “you can only leave your house for one hour”, “don’t hang around in parks”). The last one reminds me of Richard Lester’s 1969 post nuclear dystopian classic film ‘The Bed Sitting Room’, in which Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore play policemen hovering over the land in a rusty battered shell of a Morris Minor, suspended from a hot air balloon, instructing citizens to “keep moving”. The landscape comprises small hills of broken white crockery. That must have been a fun set to create.
There are political and ideological barricades now, too, which short-sighted cowardly xenophobic foaming lunatic people have spent five years campaigning for, yet also hide behind. Their small minded defensive regressive empire building attitudes have been given agency by a corrupt political agenda led by buffoons, and has created hurdles towards us travelling to, living, studying or working in other countries. The bulk of Europe see us as a laughing stock now. Plenty of us have the same view, actually. There is a sizeable resistance to the enemy within. There are still convoluted back door routes to better, saner, more carefree parts of the world, which hopefully may become clearer over time, but to some the channel now represents a border to be defended. Continual comparisons with previous ancient wars helps push the patriotic nationalist superiority. Bigotry has been authorised, permitted, validated. Stupidly, we are a small dependent island choosing to childishly isolate ourselves, but that’s what the blinkered stupid majority wants. When reality is pointed out they lash out, shout, attack. They’re all brainless disciples following an unelected leader, a lumpen caricature in tweeds and bow tie who speaks in riddles. It’s like a scene from a twisted fairy tale. At the end of the story, it will transpire that all the sensible people have run away and are enjoying the sun, leaving the inbred fools to argue amongst themselves. They only know anger, you see.
George has returned to Athens, presumably seeing National Service as a better option than staying in a cold inhospitable land. It may have always been his plan. His experience here has probably given him something. A member of our royal family, one of the lovable rogue types, has moved to the Americas, happily being disowned in the process. People leaving is a part of life.
The plague is still rampaging, getting worse. It is mutating into new forms, with potential to infect anyone, or everyone. I know several infected people including an entire family, additionally someone who is elderly, in hospital, and quite weak, also mentally confused. I don’t know what the outcome will be, or how I will react. Hospitals are now literal bedlams, I’ve seen news photographs of ambulances queueing outside the Whitechapel hospital, unable to deliver patients, as the hospital can not accommodate them. I can’t do anything about it, I just observe with a detached feeling of inevitability.
I’m becoming more mentally self-sufficient, I’m now more able to tolerate extended time alone with little external stimulus or resource now. I might do the bike trip early in the morning instead, if I can work out travel times. A fall of snow would give a beautiful diffused light. This evening I just have to grate a corgette then contemplate the Jools Holland Grotesque Circus. Then the year is over.