Home alone

Max came round to pick up a letter and we kept a distance from each other. My communication with him was rusty as he was the first human I’d spoken to in the flesh for a while. I’m here in my flat, alone with the snake. I’ve been looking at my family’s past, thinking about my own future.

Last night I stubbornly cooked a gammon that went off on the 14th. It smelt a bit off, but I thought maybe cooking it would help. “Might be just the outer layer”… Two hours later I took a slice of rancid cooked meat and put it in my mouth. The body knows immediately. I spat it, washed my mouth out and retched.

I’m pretty loose with use by dates as they’re to protect the seller from idiots. But don’t fuck with pork or chicken. I had to throw the whole thing out. Damn. Sorry piggy I wasn’t paying attention. I had sad runner beans and gravy for supper. Still tasty. Gravy helps with everything.

This morning I hardboiled all the eggs that went off on the 7th. They’re fine so far, and I’ll know when I crack one that isn’t.

There’s not much choice in the local Tesco when I try it out. Tortilla and quiche seem to be the ones that don’t get picked for the team.

The delivery comes and so come the scared people. “The army is going to close down the streets, there’ll be a curfew,” says one of them on WhatsApp with the certainty of someone who hasn’t a clue. They buy all the food on the shelves almost immediately so they can take it home and sing to it it as it rots.

I have no idea when in the day the Tesco delivery comes but I imagine there’ll be a queue of angry people as soon as the van arrives and I’m not going to be one of them. Every time I go near that place it feels bad. There’s always some arsehole trying to make the staff accountable for the fact that another arsehole already got all the X. “Someone told me yesterday if I come at this time etc etc” It feels negative and sick in there, with all the bad energy and the shelves literally teeming with whatever this thing is.

I bought a load of stuff a month ago when my army friend predicted this, so I guess I am in a lucky position. My larder can do a month. But obviously I’d sooner not be burning into emergency supplies right away in case I get properly sick, as I’m on my own here and I understand it can last a good week at high symptoms, this bug. Better to get a modest amount of fresh food daily until symptoms kick in and I’ve only got the headspace left to open a tin. But I guess most people don’t have a prescient army friend or the luxury to risk the supermarket.

On my Facebook timeline my friends are just starting to manifest sick children etc. I’ve been doing my best to totally isolate but I wonder how things will go now.

Seeing my brother was a blessing though. I’ve only really started to understand how fundamentally alone I am now that my social life is no longer a thing. Thankfully I have a beautiful flat, and an attractive pudding of a snake holed up here with me. I’ll be ok for however long it takes. I might need to be a little more proactive with the shopping. And I wish that I had a bread machine. I have wanted one for so long I might go to Peter Jones tomorrow in my mask and see if I can get one over the counter. Then I’ve got warm bread from flour water and yeast and you can be sure that even though all the ready made loaves are being gently stroked in their precious rotting piles by the trembling hands of the fearful, all the flour and yeast is just sitting on the shelf looking pissed off.

A machine is nice because you can set it to wake you. Or I might just make it with my hands.

I hate being in supermarkets in the daytime right now. Normally it’s only like that in the evening, at lunchtime or on weekends. But suddenly all the people who keep themselves locked in boxes are living at home all week. Get back in your boxes! The world is mine on the weekdays, dammit. Even Friday.

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Virus

Fifteen people in my local area logged in to Skype and held a Nichiren Buddhist meeting virtually this evening. I was expecting it to be digital carnage. It worked out very well. It’s strange but maybe the spectre of this horrible illness will bring us closer together. I keep expecting to wake up with a temperature. I’m scared of it. My lungs have taken damage already with the double pneumonia and lung collapse aged twelve. I think they’ve come back stronger. But there’ll be cracks where this little lung eating fucker can set up shop. It’s going to kill some of us…

It’s not the end of the world though, even if going into a supermarket today was a bit like the zombie apocalypse but with no brains. I walked into two and walked straight out. Elbows and sweat and high levels of contagion. Not the place to be while people are panicking. Although I guess I loaded up on survival stuff a month ago when my ex army friend predicted this. “Don’t be a civvy,” he exhorted his civvy friends.

We’ve been forced to switch off our greed for a while, and step away from contact, that’s all.

Sure, there are still greedoutlets, like the blank faced yahoos who are cleaning the aisles of looroll or pasta or hand sanitizer to resell. I’m sure there are also huge stinking dicks rolling other people’s lives on the stock market with their leviathan bags of playmoney. But mostly we are on lockdown wondering what the fuck to do.

And meanwhile the world starts to breathe. Nature is remarkable. Apart from the fact that this particular disease isn’t fatal enough for nature’s needs – (we are the virus), it’s a paracetamol.

Nature got sick a long time ago, with humans. For a long time humans was beneficial to nature, and so it spread through nature’s systems and nature’s home quite freely. Nature eventually had humans throughout her system in symbiosis. It was only then that humans manifested as a parasite. It started with a mutation.

A small strain of humans mutated into a contagious pathogenic cancer called “the Industrial Revolution.” It was unstoppable. The IR cancer spread like wildfire, with IR cancer cells quickly destroying original cells and replacing them and self-replicating. Parts of nature’s body that were entirely healthy and filled with human cultures were replaced overnight with IR cancer human cultures that mutated again and again into more and more dangerous forms.

Nature went to the pharmacist the other day. Its friends were saying “go to the doctor!” but so far nature still thinks it’s not bad enough. “Humans used to be nothing to worry about,” nature is telling itself. It’s only in very recent past that humans has been terrible. So nature took a Covid-19 pill. And it’ll see some benefit from it.

The next month or so nature’ll be thinking “Great, so I took that Covid and actually the symptoms are right down straight away. I might take another stronger Covid in a bit just to make sure but for now maybe I don’t need to flush my system with antihumotics, despite what my good friends tell me.”


Let’s try and learn from this. We are a pathogen. We don’t trust each other. We have been trained to believe that everybody wants our stuff.

We can be what we were. A positive community where the advantage for one is the advantage for all. Although we have learnt from the past.

Communism doesn’t work because of fundamental human greed. “Oh you think that nice thing is YOUR nice thing? Well I’m reporting you to the State because all nice things belong to all people and to start with I’m taking it from your possessive capitalist hands.”

But because the glorious ideal was fundamentally flawed by being too idealistic… Does it mean we have to abandon all kindness and sharing? No. Find a way to share.

Oh, and if you’re healthy and in the UK sign up for the red cross reserves just in case.

Home

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Ancestry

“Anyone fancy me running their family tree,” says Kerry. “It’ll give me something to do while I’m isolating.” She has no idea what she’s just bitten. I have an inkling there’s some crazyass ancestry going on based on word of mouth and heirlooms.

I send her some names, along with the truth – that I don’t really know much about my family. I was young when dad died and still too young to be interested when mum died. Names of cousins and relatives fall out of my head quickly to make room for sentences like “good that you used a transactional control and didn’t just rely on a management review control,” which is the sort of thing I’ve been saying on camera recently.

There’s so much hearsay and speculation about families that you have to wade through months of crap. It doesn’t help that we were living frequently in bailwicks and protectorates, and that everybody on both sides of my family were haring around the world all the way back to the 1500’s. “It looks like he was going on holiday to the Americas at a time when it was extremely dangerous to travel that far…” says Kerry of one of my distant antecedents, a man whose spirit I have always wanted to believe still partly flows through me.

It’s kind of comforting. There are common themes that chime with me. On my mother’s side, there are a surprising number of diarists. I suppose that’s what I am now. Diarist after diarist, sometimes documenting interesting times, sometimes just reflexively documenting. Like this blog, sharing the day to day and letting perspective work.

On dad’s side of the family tree we find the speed and the fascination with things that go forwards. There’s a picture of dad racing an ancient dragster in the early days of motor racing. He was one of the pioneers of motor racing, but his MOTHER was doing it before he was. Just a few days ago I was at Brookwood museum admiring the Barnato Hassan that he used to race before he sold his share to his best friend. Keith only died recently, and there are still some shared vintage cars. I’d love to try and find a way to memorialise the friendship of these two men, dad and Keith Schellenburg, and raise some money for cancer research and Alzheimer’s along the way, and go forwards quickly in something old and dangerous for legacy and for charity. Here’s the photo somebody uploaded to ancestry of dad in a dragster a decade before I was born. The thing looks terrifying. I want a go. Photo of a photo.

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It’s comforting to know that dad was a fucking maniac long before I existed. I’m finding the whole process of digging strangely satisfying. But it makes me want to breed… I see the lines and the connections, the legacies and the priorities. I see branches of family going and being good at one thing or another but I start to see the themes that my grandparents knew by word of mouth. “The sea is in your blood” “there’s healing in your heart” “we are a diplomats”. There’s a lot to understand from seeing how you follow patterns. What did I learn from these people? And what have I forgotten…

 

Fuck

And so here I am with a snake around my neck. I’ve just finished the last of the jobs that I can see coming for the foreseeable future.

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The original director on this corporate film was isolating on this, the second day. Such a shame to lose his genius. He was working hard to get the shots exactly right. With two active cameras he spent hours and hours going over, making sure he had all the perfect shots. Occasionally he told the actors how to say their lines.

It was difficult to interpret his genius, as crew and as actor. He would use his own voice to speak the line, but mimicking was no good if you weren’t him, and we couldn’t interpret him. If you weren’t actually him in his personal head it was impossible to understand what he actually wanted. If he wasn’t such a genius – (and he was, you can tell by his behaviour) – you’d worry that he was merely a self involved idiot with no real clue how to do the basics of his craft, but surfing a career and money on the back of some sort of connection and a huge self love.

Obviously I didn’t think that of him myself. I thought he was jolly good. He did all of the talking excellent well.

When he didn’t show up to work this morning I was surprised. I wouldn’t have had him down as the first person to pull out on an unfinished job just because he could get away with it

I was terribly disappointed that a man of his undeniable genius had chosen to self isolate at the first opportunity and to be replaced by a director who could talk to actors, give playable notes, and understand shots all at the same time.

I’m one of many humans who frequently wear multiple hats in this industry. You’ve noticed this, oh best beloved, as I have written about the pains of being an actor, being a producer, being a writer, being a director… I guess we had a skilled second AD come in to replace our extremely clever first AD. The second AD understands how to make the company gel.. It’s my usual position on a functioning set. The first AD frequently hates people but obsesses over shots and mechanics.

I reckon the dude who made me say “ad hoc” a million times will find a way through what we made in the edit. But today’s filming felt lovely and much more respectful without his peculiar genius.

After work I went to The Lucky Club and saw Brian just before everything shut down. I didn’t realise how lucky I’ve been to get my shit lined up in time for this crisis. All the producing, all the casting, the three weeks on a Netflix and the corporate videos – I’m in a better position than I can ever remember being in as we step into this abyss.

This is going to be terrible for my industry. Terrible. Once again I’m thinking about my friends, the people I care about. They’ve had to make horrible decisions. “It’s that or there’s no work to come back to when this blows over,” says one. There’s no provision for the self employed. What the fuck will happen to my industry? It’s terrifying. This is the beginning…

Really? Loo paper? Really??

I’m talking to the dude at checkout in Tesco. I ask him if the loo roll sales are off the scale. The aisle is, of course, cleaned out, as are other items randomly selected by internet hysteria. Have we not learnt by now after all the electionbots? Schools need to teach internet as a main subject. It came up so quickly. But you can guzzle poison dressed as medicine if you’re not careful, and it mutates you so effectively you’re barely capable of rational argument once you’ve had too much.

In Tesco, my boy starts a story: “So there’s one old bloke and he’s got 8 loorolls. He’s at the counter and the lady behind him has been saying to him: ‘I need one, I’ve run out.’ He’s been pretending not to hear her. He doesn’t give a fuck.” (I’ve got a good back and forth with my local Tesco. They see me a lot.)

Tesco dude continues: “I tell the guy when he gets to the counter that maybe he should consider giving her one pack. He’s all up in my face immediately and threatening to report me like I’ve done something bad.”

If you zoom out, this is hilarious. The selfish neurotic eejits are going mental. Guys, seriously, there’s a tap in your bathroom. You probably have a hand towel and you might even have a washing machine. There are many many options outside of rubbing paper in your arsehole. If you are stockpiling loopaper you are literally doing it for one reason, and one reason only. You’re not very good at being a human.

I get it. You’re terrified of shit. The prospect of deliberately getting your own waste on your own hands is so fucking far up the scale of things you couldn’t countenance doing that you’d sooner inconvenience everybody around you than risk it. And likely you are right to be like that. Because most people’s insides just involve horrible bowels releasing stinking effluent into the world on a regular basis. But your insides are a miasma of foul dark bubbling selfish blind fear. Your shit is toxic. As toxic as your opinions. It would likely dissolve your hands. Go ahead, captain, build your tower of Andrex and know, even as you plug the last gap with paper, that at least one person thinks you are a total complete and utter irredeemable moron. Bless you. There’s just no point. I can’t even tell you to wake up as the idea of waking up has become tangled with the idea of “woke” which was well meaning for about a month before it became a weapon word wielded by the willingly uninterested. Go and give some to someone else. It might help bring the Ph level up a bit.

Back to arsewipery, which is what we’ve all come here for.

I’ve been to Thailand, where the wonderful warm bumgun has transformed my understanding of this arse cleaning process. But this old guy in Tesco!? How many of us are like him? This is how we get runs on banks. “Everybody is getting all the loopaper, so we have to get all the loopaper too because otherwise … otherwise … otherwise … well otherwise we might run out of loopaper. Um. Yeah. Yeah! Otherwise we might run out of loopaper!! We might run out of LOOPAPER! And then… ANARCHY! Quick! Grab it all! All of it. Fuck everybody else. Fuck ’em. Mememememe.”

For something so completely unnecessary, it’s hilarious and very revealing.

It also puts the focus on loopaper, the familiar versions of which are chemically treated and unsustainable. The stuff is a luxury which people have misthought into a necessity.

After a month of quarantine, where most of us have been just casually wiping their arse with their hands because of the idiot loopaper hoarders, maybe the sales of bidets will go up and Andrex, after an unprecedented high, will find an unprecedented low.

Let’s look at loo roll. The abrasive and uncomfortable solution we have found in Western society to the need to make sure that the acidic waste we excrete is not left to damage our skin and stink out our friends. The stuff that’s filling the garages of all the guffawing idiots is not sustainable. We can do better.

It’s a touch point and battleground with this disease, perhaps once the dust settles and we stop jackhammerfucking our global economy into the dirt over fear of what is basically a bad flu, we can emerge wondering how we can wipe our filthy arses more sustainably. There are plenty of good online companies that deliver the stuff and make stuff more ethically than the big ones. Go towards them. Then the idiots with stockpiles won’t buy any as they’re going through the pile, and you won’t either. The market will speak. And the aftermath of this bollocks will be at least not so much fucking chemical deforestation bum-wiping. You take the good where you find it, aye?

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Early start

Off in the morning so early it’s late. My alarm woke me up at 4.20am. I didn’t manage to make coffee for myself.

It’s filming again, but this time I’m the dude in the stupid costume, rather than booking the dude, organising shit to make the dude look better, moving the dude, dealing with the dude’s problems or getting drunk with the dude after work.

The early hour has been chosen because it’s a public place. We start shooting at 7.30 in full costume. We are wrapped and clapped by 9. It was mostly walking and wiping, but the costumes are recognisable and visible.

By the time we wrap it’s getting harder to shoot without joggers plomping through shot. The first members of the public were starting to show up and merrily ask what it was we were shooting. The early morning made sense, but I’m terrible at early.

My car took me to the most remarkable hotel. I wish I’d overnighted there. Such high ceilings. Our Wardrobe mistress had a room in which to store the elaborate costumes. She’d been able to sleep in it too. It had the highest ceiling I’ve ever seen in a hotel room, with remote control shuttered windows at the top. I staggered around seeking coffee and found a sexy restaurant but it was too early.

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The shape of the day was to get into that elaborate and fiercely impractical suit of armour that in reality wouldn’t stop a thrown pebble. Then I had walk in a straight line a few times and look angry. Thank you very much, happy humans, clap clap clap and then off for breakfast on my own at Cote Brasserie. French Breakfast with juice and coffee for £12.

Then I went home where I discovered that you can’t buy Oculus Rift headsets online at the moment as all the geeks are self isolating and have already bought them. Just as well, as the ticket price is too high for the use I’d likely get from it.

I booted up the laptop and plugged into a virtual world. The day’s money has already been earned so I had nothing plucking at my conscience. I played a load of games and the day flew to shadow and every few minutes I had to stifle the nagging suspicion that I should be somewhere else either working or in conversation.

All the conversation is about the virus though. It’s endless. We are shell-shocked. Things are getting cancelled as quickly and surprisingly as all the loopaper getting snatched up for a respiratory virus.

I could manage the self isolation thing. It’ll probably be loosely helpful for me to spend more enforced time at home. I can sort through piles of stuff, and make the flat much more pleasant to be in. It might be a good time to get on eBay as well and list some stuff, considering lots of potential buyers won’t be leaving the house. I’ve just got to hope it’s business as usual until Tuesday is finished, as that’s my last day of filming on the corporate gig that came up at last minute. Once that’s in the can I can rest easy, put my feet up and have a holiday at home. Sadly we just had the axe fall on the charity gig for kids, all the rest of the filming is in the can. One. Day. More…

Gradually petering out

There’s so much in the balance suddenly. Do we carry on with business as usual or do we isolate? I’ve got a memorial service this evening for an old friend of my father’s. A very dear friend of his. There’s no way I’m missing it. But I’m not feeling entirely comfortable about being in a room with lots of old people, in case I carry something in with me.

We were rehearsing this morning for Scene and Heard. We did it in costume and the kids watched it. The sword of Damocles is hanging over this show and all of us know it’s going to fall, but until it falls we are trying to carefully continue. Some actors are already isolated. One of the costume designers is locked in with all the costumes she’s designed. It seems almost certain that what is normally a pre-tech stagger through will be the one and only time we get to run through these sweet short pieces we’ve learnt.

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Max and I are going to drive to the memorial, rather than getting on the train. His car is almost dead but hopefully it’ll make it up and back. With the feeling like it is, nobody wants to get on trains or on the tube. One of my friends saw a woman sneeze this morning by putting her entire head into her handbag. The spectre of plague hangs heavy over all of us.

I’m in an uber heading back from Mornington Crescent. I’d normally get a bus but I’m as bad as everybody else. It’s hard not to think about this virus even though I was fine with being hugged by lots of drooling alcoholics last night. I don’t really think of myself as being at risk, despite my bad bronchial tubes. My lungs have come out very well from past pneumonia and I know how to breathe. If I get it badly I’ll have to prop myself up in bed. I’ll have a shit time. I won’t get much sleep but I reckon I’m unlikely to kark it. My main concern is spreading it. I don’t want to give it to someone vulnerable.

My other concern is loss of revenue. Tomorrow I’m filming at 6am. I suspect that’ll go ahead. It’s a small scale shoot and only a few hours in the very early morning. Because of the costumes we are expecting to be flooded with curious people, so we will film before most people are awake and then vanish. It’ll likely happen.

I’ll be cramming lines for Tuesday, though, and it’s more likely that the Tuesday one will shut down. It’s as much to do with the personalities of the humans involved as it might be to do with potential government guidelines. If an actor who is already partly shot decides to isolate themselves then the whole shoot gets either binned or postponed. Ditto a crucial creative behind the camera.

It’s all so unprecedented and unusual. I’m in a standstill traffic jam now on Park Lane. People are laying on their horns. This is worse than I’ve ever seen it, angrier than I’ve ever known it. It’s crazy… I’m gonna get out and walk.

 

Messy…

Just as I’m heading home I get a message. “Is it ok to have to couple of people back?” Normally, with another flatmate, I wouldn’t even bat an eyelid. But there’s precedent involved here. I’m fine with it though of course. She’s been to a funeral. People are mourning. I get it.

There are no boundaries set up anywhere in the flat when I get home. The whole place stinks of smoke and people are smoking AT me because “he doesn’t allow smoking”.

Everything is up for grabs apart from the Bandol that I specifically told her to make sacred and she succeeded.

“Shall we make a call?” says one of the guests, and I say “There are no drugs tonight here please.” One of the guests is already in a K-hole. Fuck knows what the rest are on already. The guy who suggests we make a call literally actually tries to neckpunch me after I say no. He’s hammered and angry with me for drawing a boundary so he literally neck chops me, (and connects as it’s so completely out of nowhere.) (“Make a call” usually means get cocaine, FYI)

The guy from blogs long past who was cooking in his pants is waiting in a car outside and doesn’t come in. They know him. “Why’s he but welcome?” I get, not knowing he’s outside. He knows he’s not welcome, but it’s not him that’s not welcome. It’s the culture of push until you find resistance and then push harder. It’s about the boundaries. People who are allowed to be disrespectful are not welcome. I’m very relaxed. But don’t fuck with me in my home. My home is my sacred place. This is not a student party house.

I’m witnessing the end result of a human being who draws no boundaries around themselves at all, while people flock to that lack of self confidence and see how far they can push.

I had a few conversations with guests who believed I was a lodger in her flat and had no right to start drawing limits. Fuck this so so much. I’ve had enough. I’m not here to fix her. This work will take years, and I need to be happy in my own home. I’ve got no reason to believe, if I wasn’t here, that the place wouldn’t have been completely trashed in the name of fun. There was one guy gearing up to fall on the TV, trying to organise wrestling matches near it so he could make it look like an accident. The same guy that actually punched my neck because he’s read it’s a kill punch. Ha ha ha cunt. Thank God I derailed him by not caring enough. If he’d seen me caring he’d have thrown his whole bodyweight into the telly and pretended it was an accident. Thank fuck he’s gone. He thinks he’s lost his tie, his favourite tie apparently, and he wasn’t leaving until he found it etc etc etc repeat until dead. The only comfort is he’ll be dead at 50.

I thought it might be nice to reconnect with my upbringing. I feel weird about jettisoning it as irrelevant. Society was important to me back then. Plus she reminds me of my mother, with her priorities and with the way she goes about her social life. But no. No no no.

My association of her with my mum has probably caused me to put up with an untenable situation for far too long. Every time she brings anybody to my flat it’s like the yahoos are out in full force. It’s crazy. And it’s no longer my home when they’re there. It’s untenable. I won’t do it…

I’ve been in a suit all day, filming a corporate video at short notice, involving massive cramming.

I think the most valuable note I got was “be less posh,” but it came after the first scene was in the can, and from the writer. Director should’ve asked me. There was a lot of back and forth about me hearing and repeating a Latin phrase. She says it and I repeat it.

Only now with the spirit of hindsight do I understand that what the director wanted to tell me was “Play it like you don’t know Latin.” Easy if you’re told and now too late I know how he wanted it. He just kept giving me unplayable line-readings.

I forgot to switch off my knowledge. The key with work on camera is usually innocence, but I’m the last minute replacement guy on this shoot. The original guy was an actual Spaniard speaking in his second language. The makers are trying to step away from middle class white dudes doing corporate videos, but frankly in the interests of diversity maybe it’s legit to have one of us still there? I am definitely the only one, if you don’t count the director.

There’s another day scheduled on Tuesday. It might not go ahead because of virus. I’ll find out. God it’s so weird. This unprecedented panic. About a flu. A bad flu. How many of you got swine Flu? Or SARS? Were you washing your hands obsessively? I bet you weren’t.

There’s more at play here, either in international isolationist paranoia, or ramping up the good old fashioned fear of other people that makes the state more powerful.

Either way, don’t take advantage of other people, and don’t let yourselves be manipulated by people who couldn’t give a fuck about you.

Last time she pulled shit like this she vanished for a month or more knowing I wanted to talk it through. I’m wiser now. Time will tell precisely how much wiser…

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What I avoided

I dropped the rental car in Park Lane, back into that underground car park. The end of two very full-on jobs back to back. It was a beautiful day in Mayfair and suddenly I had nowhere to be. I slowly wandered through town, eventually stopping at Reblochon, a little deli opposite Green Park. I ordered a Leek and Potato soup and a glass of champagne, and I sat there fascinated by somebody’s grievance. He’s made over £700,000 for the company, it seems. But Pete has creamed most of it the bastard. He’s not a happy man, our employee.

The other person in the conversation is mostly quiet, unsure how to react, awkward. He is clearly from privilege, unlike the speaker, who has been working hard and knows it.

He comes under fire, this privileged fellow. He’s had a bit of the pie as well, clearly, at the speaker’s expense. Eventually: “I’m off. You can pay for it,” says the guy opposite me and he leaves in well displayed high dudgeon.

I greet the privileged man sitting next to me by name, even if it might be awkward for him, because I know him of old.

“Hello, T. That sounded tricky.”

To his credit, despite beard and glasses and over 20 years, T recognises me immediately. I’ve had a fair amount of time to piece him together so I’ve got advantage in this exchange.

His voice was familiar. But I needed to see his face to be sure, or so I thought, until I noticed his unmistakable name at the top right of the Excel sheet that he had open on his laptop.

He was at school with me and we shared a 3 person dorm when I was 13. He lay passively by while Harry pulled me out of bed when I was sleeping and stamped on my face. He overlooked whatever he could overlook and deflected whatever he could deflect. A thorough childhood coward. I recognised a throughline into his passivity in adulthood. He ain’t no Pete, our T. He’s Pete’s bitch, still stealing but only stealing a fraction of what big bully P-bomb is stealing. And stealing from a highly motivated guy that would thrive for everybody if he was adequately compensated, but didn’t grow up in a certain narrow frame that can be identified by accent nuance.

I greeted T. We swapped numbers and I was courteous. I’ve got no beef with these people from my dysfunctional young adulthood. He’s a nice, mild fellow. He just had too much for free. Like me. And his son is a drama scholar to Harrow…

So this old harrovian ended up handling a grievance next to me as I necked my bubbly at lunchtime. I listened to how he coped.

I’m done for a bit, productionwise. I’ve put away a challenging and satisfying few weeks where I’ve embezzled nothing, fucked nobody over, worked happily and hard, and been roundly congratulated for my positive spirit and how much I care about the people I’ve found work for whilst getting the job done. I think I might be considerably better at this production malarkey than I thought. But the acting always has to be primary.

Which is why I’ve accepted a corporate gig, filming tomorrow for a major company, playing an auditor who speaks in the elusive “Perfectspeak” and is proving a bitch to learn.

They lost an actor last minute as he’s isolating. I got sent pages and pages of jargon to learn. I’ve managed to push some of it into my head and now it’s sleep. Tomorrow I must be crisp and smart. I’ll be pretending to be the type of person I sat next to at lunch, but making a fraction of what he routinely steals from his workers every day. Sorry, not steals, there’s no theft, it’s all completely legal. It’s in the terms and conditions. Sorry mate. Nothing we can do. Fuck off.

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Loo paper

I’ve got three rolls of loopaper left. It’ll last me a good amount of time so long as I don’t have one of those guests (I’d say edging towards 20% of the population) who voraciously consume the stuff, I’ll be able to wipe my bum. Everybody in my area is a fuckwit though.

You can still buy eggs, bread, milk, cereal, soap etc. But my local Tesco is devoid of loopaper and has been for a few days. It seems that the good people of Chelsea would sooner starve to death than get their hands dirty with running water. Squeamishness outweighs survival.

As a species we should’ve been extinct ages ago. Imagine how quickly most of London would die if even the water was cut off, now we have become so entitled and incompetent. And faced with the prospect of locking ourselves in our own homes for a few weeks, the prime concern of the majority of people seems to be to make sure they don’t get their own shit on their fingers while they starve. Good stuff you idiots.

The daily newspapers are cleaned out, and finally for the correct reason. If I managed the local Tesco I’d have been displaying the tabloids in the bogroll section for years. Now the tabloids have finally found their true mission in life : to service the unhappy bottoms of isolated people with naturally disapproving faces.

I think we instinctively know we are a spent species, redundant and slowly atrophying. Every time there’s an opportunity to panic about extinction we will. Impractical ignorant vain and useless bipeds sustaining each other through an economy based on promises based on nothing. This disease will thin the numbers. It’s not the one we need but maybe it’s the envoy. We can learn through this how badly everything is contained, how the bluster of government doesn’t match the action. And all across the nation people have filled their spare room with Andrex because they won’t be having guests for a while. Dirty.

It will also drive changes, some good, mostly bad.

Great, so people will get the habit of washing their hands. But also we will isolate ourselves even further. We are all in such bubbles anyway. Touch is getting rarer and more meaningful. We greet one another with elbows. We stand in bubbles in public, suspicious and afraid of those around us. And so many so selfish. So ignorant.

I reheated the Chinese meal I ordered the other day and Kitcat’s mum told her not to eat it for the disease. “That is exactly why I bought it,” I told her

I came within one click of ordering a DIY T-Shirt saying “I went to Wuhan and all I got was this stupid T-Shirt.” I stopped myself as it isn’t worth 25 quid for a momentary laugh and then some twit throwing a stone at me on the tube because they’re so blinkered and trusting of what they’re told that they think it’s a genuine tourist shirt and that they’re in danger.

A lab in Whitechapel is paying £3500 to infect you with the virus and test vaccines. That seems like genuinely the best option, as if we are all going to get it anyway we might as well do it where you get free meals surrounded by clever people who are seriously invested in making sure we don’t die. Plus we’d come out with either a vaccine or an immune system that has successfully fought it. Plus they’re likely to have lots of loopaper.

I’m also tempted to go on holiday, as flights will be cheap. I’d go to the valley of the kings but I don’t want to get quarantined somewhere where I don’t speak the language and it all seems likely right now. I’d go to a ski resort in France but I couldn’t afford a quarantine.

Fuck the government for providing for the people with regular income anyway in quarantine but not for the freelancers. I guess now this crazy fixing job is over I can afford to be shut up a while. But I don’t want to. There’s life out there.

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