16th May – Week 8
Mozart is playing here and I’ll just let him while I get the writing going. The eighth week of these, and I was about to write the word ‘already’ but is it? It’s been a long slow time in most ways, this gap between how life was and whenever all this will be over. So in the gap of now how are you? Well I hope, and we’re both ok here too thanks.
Ok, though in Sarah’s case it’s fair to say she’s as tired as I’ve ever known her to be and still sleeping as I write, having done six funerals this week. Not all Covid deaths but all the circumstances of each death affected by the virus and all of the funeral workers, complimented by me on here before, doing what I know they do because Sarah tells me. Improvising quietly in all the change, getting the broadcast technology working for those not allowed to be at the funerals, holding steady in the centre ground, creating safe places for the tears and the grieving, being absolutely reliable when hardly anything else is. Then coming home and sleeping early, to be ready, always ready. They never get clapped on any doorsteps or celebrated on any posters these sharp-end of life workers. So here’s another paragraph by way of a thank you from me.
In the evenings this week and last, after our tea and before our early nights we’ve been watching ‘Normal People’ and loved it. It nearly didn’t get past our ‘slow start’ monitors mind, but that was about us wanting easy entertainment to escape into. And once we accepted that the beautifully filmed, scripted, soundtracked and acted story was uneasy entertainment we were fine. I’d read the book and kind of knew what happened and what didn’t, but this was better than the book. Shiftings around, changes of emphasis, subtleties and watch it if you haven’t. There were times we wanted to shake the pair of them, would turn to each other and say “it’s because they’re young” one minute, then completely get it the next. It’s film making of a very high order and wonderful to see such pacing and patience given so much room in our short attention span times. Well done Sally Rooney, well done BBC and all. Perfect for now really is ‘Normal People’. Perfect any time.
Another thing I loved about the programme was their voices and seeing so much of Ireland. The longing to go there and be there particularly intense now we can’t. A similar longing was when my phone rang, phones hardly ever ring now do they, and someone from Germany wanted to talk to me about an exhibition on ‘options for action from within civil society’ and wanting some of us Granby activists to be involved in it. I said yes to his request for an interview that I’d almost certainly have said an immediate no to before all this. ‘Yes’ for the pleasure of talking to someone I don’t know, from Europe, saying European names and lovely sentences like ‘the exhibition will be in the former Templehof Airport.’ I know I can’t go there but for half an hour or so my phone felt like an even more magical device than usual because someone from Berlin was on the other end of it.
Anyway, I’m not going to overstay my welcome in your own attention span this week or spend much more of my own time sat here at my screen. There may be a local lockdown walk later, to see if it’s holding here in Liverpool, and there may be some pictures. But for now there are all these buttercup photos to look at, Elizabeth Alker is finishing on BBC Radio 3, a new edition of Ethos magazine has just come through the letterbox, and so I’m off for a read of that.
And it’s a bright morning now in Liverpool, where we’re hoping the lockdown holds and that all manner of things, though not well now, will be well – won’t they?
Later on, a lockdown walk. Same as Week 5 for comparison.
Queues, though, much the same as three weeks ago. Happening and good natured. Still not many people on the buses. But definitely more cars on the roads, longer queues at the lights, not all going through in one go, “slouching towards Bethlehem.”
Week 8 then and the lockdown’s largely holding. Well done Liverpool x