Is it just me, or are seagulls enjoying this lockdown just a little too much? You can’t blame them for enjoying the comparative quietude of the city, but they sure seem to be milking it. These (to use the scientific name) Scumbags of the Skies, are getting brave to the point of cocky, strutting around like they own the place, even less inclined than they were before to step out of the way of an oncoming human, enjoying mass gatherings any time they want and even closer to our windows, not to mention even louder. I’m sure I saw one wearing sunglasses whilst lighting a cigar the other day. And just yesterday one was pointing his wing to some pals, and there was something in the look in his eyes that made me think he was directing the other gulls in an elaborate pincer movement to block off a child carrying some chips. We need to be vigilant, people. We can’t let these birds get any more organised, or we’re going to come out of lockdown to find we’re under martial law – martial avian law!
Moving inside the home, and inching back towards some level of sanity, it would appear that, in this crisis, and perhaps in the face of subscription TV giants like Netfilx and Amazon, terrestrial channels are all but waving the white flag. As someone who hasn’t yet subscribed to an all-encompassing, all-producing-distributing-dangerously-all-powerful entertainment megalopolis, I get to witness first hand, the painfully weak schedules their terrestrial “rivals” are offering the licence holders. I know they’re unable to film new programs, but come on – they’ve got a captive audience: literally! They should be busting out the big guns! And if they haven’t got any Howitzers and canons to bring out that’s understandable, but they could at least bust out some bazookas or AK-47s! Once again, I’ve somewhat forgotten what I’m talking about, but now suddenly want to watch Platoon.
Ah, films! Yes, perhaps they could put on a film or two? (And not one that they showed two days before, ITV!) At the moment, the poor continuity announcers are having to try and inject some enthusiasm into their voice to mask the undertones of embarrassment as they wax lyrical about the upcoming umpteenth repeat of a show that wasn’t very good the first time it was on, or the subsequent dozen times it’s been on since. At least have the decency to admit you’ve got nothing – “Sorry everyone, I know it’s disappointing to hear, but it’s Mrs Brown’s Boys again. Don’t worry, it’s only half an hour. And besides, ITV are showing the same film they did yesterday, Channel 4 are showing a decade-old Come Dine With Me, and Channel 5 – well, we don’t need to worry about them. So, unless you’ve got Netflix, you might as well stick with us. BUT WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T READ A BOOK!!”
There’s another thing about TV at the moment: have you noticed the proliferation of adverts that are, however tenuously, trying to connect their product to the NHS? Just like how before a world cup it seems 95% of companies try and convince us that their products (anything from white goods and new carpets, to hairdryers and perfume) are essential to own for us to get full enjoyment out of the upcoming sporting bonanza, companies are now desperate to jump on the bandwagon of national pride we are finally feeling for the NHS. They try and make some (let’s be frank, non-existent) link to their toothpaste, or garden rake, or pair of clogs, or whatever nonsense they’re trying to flog us. It’s a fine dividing line between showing your support for the nation, and shamelessly piggybacking on global catastrophe to sell your wares. I’ll let you decide which some of these companies are doing…
The TV switched off, have you noticed how quiet it is in the city these days? Whilst this is lovely, it comes with its own irksome thorn in the side: suddenly a little noise feels like a lot of noise. Beforehand, against the constant backdrop of the city’s soundtrack that made up a kind of white noise, a scooter’s high-pitched engine whizzing by wouldn’t event register. Now, however, you can hear it coming a mile away, and as it approaches it seems to become deafening, like some giant devil-sent mosquito. Voices outside sound like a moustachioed drill sergeant yelling his orders at you from inches away, his spittle Jackson Pollock-ing your face. In this time of eerie quiet, noises are most definitely amplified and have the capacity to grate far more. So, I sincerely hope the chuffing idiot across the road who’s decided to order a drum and play it (really very badly) with his window wide open all the time is reading this and realises that he has neighbours (and that 80% of them want him dead).
Speaking of neighbours, and finishing on a high, isn’t it nice that we suddenly all know ours (apart from Drummy McDouche)? Coronavirus may be the biggest international crisis and global purveyor of tragedy in our lifetimes, but I’ll say one thing for it – it’s finally given us all something in common. Something for us all to moan about in unison. Something that gives us the empowering nudge to say hello to our neighbours when we see them outside: like an extreme version of moaning about the weather, but, due to it’s far more grave nature, provides an even stronger link, encouraging more in-depth conversations than merely highlighting that it’s raining. Could we, at the end of all this, whenever that may be, actually end up as a closer community? A more open and understanding society? Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but it’s certainly made us rethink our social interactions, and perhaps view each other with a greater degree of tolerance than before (despite me lightly advocating murder in the previous paragraph) – and we’ve got to try and grab these silver linings where we can, however flimsy!