The things we are “supposed” to be thinking about

It’s my first night at home for a week. There is no cat to feed.

I ran a bath, and employed unusual restraint on the size of it. Scrubbed and then lay until I was pickled. I hadn’t got back home until about 3pm and I’d probably still be in the bath if I hadn’t had a briefing on Zoom at 5pm. Scene and Heard. I’ve volunteered for something interesting again. It’ll keep me occupied this week and will hopefully put something back into the London I love.

I haven’t been home for a week. All the lights have been off. According to my smart meter, that bath cost me the best part of £3.14. The fridge freezer was set too high though and has been chipping away for months. It was burning about 0.10p an hour.

These things can make you obsessive! There’s a setting where it tells you your kilowatt hours live. You can switch something on, wait a few seconds and see a result. It is terrifying being able to break things down quite to this extent. With everything but the fish aerator switched off we were looking pretty clear though, so at least I know I don’t have any weird drains on my power.

I’ve been swept up in the narrative even if I haven’t meant to be. I listen to lots of Radio 4 as I’m driving around etc, and right now it’s all about “What luxuries do you think you can’t do without? Call us and share.” We are being primed for a decade of hardship. But it’s weirder and darker than that, because there’s no windfall tax and energy companies are posting record profits. Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds have just seen a £47000 price hike on their energy bills. They are looking at what they can to be able to continue to operate – they are asking for donations but theatre is a wonderful industry that has been scratching by forever. Nobody goes into theatre to get rich. And it is an industry under fire. “Singing is a vector for COVID,” says the narrative. While the energy bills are soaring, so the theatres are being quietly styled as dangerous places and their running costs are being hiked. The audience that fills the seats are being discouraged from filling the seats by the narrative. Lockdown didn’t kill theatre. We rose up. We believed. We rallied. Brian was opening and closing so frequently it was like he was a saloon door. People with money at the top of production chains quietly bankrolled losses just because they knew they were employing people who needed employment… That was lockdown but I’m not sure we can sustain it if they start to attack us like they have been attacking the NHS for years. Pulling basic grassroots funding, deprioritising, patronising, crushing. I don’t want to live in a world where, as with the Gainsborough Studios, the old theatres are turned into flats for Captain Job-Description and her howling ninnies to have their pad in the smoke ya? I mean yeah, if you charge way too much for tickets then of course you’re a Cock. But we’ve all got to make a living. And theatre provides an early home for some really interesting thinker who, given their rein, could change the world. It’s almost like the people in charge don’t want the world to be changed… I guess that’s what “Conservative” means really. You have to stop the plants from growing freely in your conversatory. And If you cause the plants distress then they can yield better fruit to eat. You can even imitate a crisis – like setting a controlled fire in a pineapple conservatory – and yield record fruit by making the plants panic and push out all their best stuff.

I wonder what history will say about this period. About Boris the jolly arsonclown, and about the empty-faced parade still dancing behind his shadow. We are supposed to care if it is Liz or Rishi who is chosen to deliberately drive us into the iceberg. Rishi is supposed to understand money and is openly disapproving of Liz, so it looks like Liz has been chosen so she can sink us and then Rishi can say “I told you so” and be presented in a few years as an option for a “recovery” that’s just as fucked as everything before it. Empty transparent nasty mean humans the lot of them. No more empathy or kindness than a flock of geese. Leaders? Nah. None of them ever were. None of them ever can be. None of them ever will be. Like the officers in WW1. Dangerous proud fools with too much power.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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