Three momentous things happened in my life at the weekend, and they all involved television:
Firstly I spat at it when I saw people (aka dickheads) flouting the two-metre rule on Primrose Hill. I don’t wish to waste too many words on the utterly selfish, stupid, arrogant, thick, pig-headed wankers, except to say that they are selfish, stupid, arrogant, thick, pig-headed wankers who don’t, or can’t, understand the rules: that we are not allowed to go outside unless it’s to do an essential shop or clap the NHS.
Secondly, Queen Elizabeth II popped in. Now I’m no Royalist but it was nice of her to bother.
And thirdly, by far the most profound, was that I danced around my living room while watching a Queen concert. More to that, while normally I’d be glad to be alone given I can’t dance to save my life, in this moment I wouldn’t have cared a jot if the world and his wife were watching… because I was HAPPY! Yes, I actually, and genuinely, couldn’t give a shit. And that’s because I now realised that just like music, Coronavirus is not all bad.
As you will know by now, I live with depression and I’ve lived with it all my life. And yet, over the past few weeks I’ve been feeling a bit OK. It’s kind of strange and I’ve wrestled with it. It’s been kind of weird and I’ve questioned it. I’ve doubted myself for feeling OK when everybody else is worried, hated myself for being cheerful when others are dying, and most importantly, I’ve coped in isolation while others climb the walls.
And that, right there, is the answer: self-isolation. For a long time now, due to poverty and depression, I’ve hardly left the house. I’ve been forced to turn down a chance to see my friends because I couldn’t afford to take my turn at the bar, my car has been docked because I didn’t have money to put petrol in, I haven’t darkened the door of the supermarket because I didn’t have a pot to piss in. With pockets empty of money but full of poses, I didn’t see a soul from one week to the next and forgot what it was like to hear the birds sing.
But now it’s not just me it’s EVERYONE. EVERYONE is stuck in the house, EVERYONE is feeling the pinch and EVERYONE is clueless as to when the misery is going to end. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I’m glad everyone is singing a-tissue and falling down – this is awful, this is tragic, this is a thing I wish would blow over tomorrow, even if it means Liverpool winning the Premiership – I’m just saying there’s something in the knowledge that we are all the same, that we’re in this shit together, even if we all fall down, that somehow makes me feel better. To paraphrase Fats Domino, Though we’re apart, you’re part of me still, for you were my thrill on Primrose Hill. In other words if I’ve got music and memories I am never alone in isolation.
A more scientific study of this phenomenon can be found here: https://www.thedailybeast.com/coronavirus-is-making-a-lot-of-people-anxious-and-depressed-but-some-sufferers-actually-feel-better-now?ref=topic
but for me it’s simple. There is something in the togetherness of combat, there is something in the newness of this set of circumstances that’s blown into our lives that gives me hope that if we get through it then the world can change for the better. I’m not being hippy-ish (though I still think chopping down trees for HS2 is the crime of the century and utter bollocks, man) I’m just saying that in my eyes this thing is happening for a reason, not least to make us see it’s time we got a grip on things we’ve been letting slip and slide for years. It’s time we got a grip and realised what’s really important, or asked ourselves what really matters? To be fair, perhaps the people on Primrose Hill were meeting to ask that very question, so they might not be dickheads after all. Who knows?
Because when the Queen (as in Lizzie) spoke to me I listened and when Queen (as in Freddie) sang to me I danced, and in that moment I decided nothing really matters, anyone can see… Any way the wind blows.