Welcome to the first day of Lock-Down 2! Let’s face it, it’s going to be a hard act to follow. We’ve all heard the various allegories; the difficult second album, second-season syndrome, the over-hyped film sequel (Greece 2, anyone?), but we’ve reason to be more confident about this one, for a number of reasons.
Fundamentally, it’s a virus tailor-made for Brits, or those that have lived among us for a prolonged period. Why? you may ask. Well, lets look at the basics.
Firstly, its given us something to talk about alongside the weather, or more pertinently, to overlay meteorological tittle-tattle. Yes, we’re unlikely to be regaling each other with stories about glorious lockdown heat waves, but think of the fun we’re going to have once it starts snowing, and there’s no cars to ruin the pristine white landscape. We’ve had fog today, for crying out loud! That should get us through the introductions of at least fifteen zoom calls.
Secondly, it allows us to renew one of our national past-times: orderly queuing. And whereas before, the supermarket queue was a dangerous place to be, with people coughing and spluttering into their hankie, this time we have the added benefit of compulsory face-masks. Now, whilst it is the case that most Londoners at least would prefer face masks to totally block their visage to avoid any eye contact whatsoever, it does nonetheless increase the prospect of assuaging the overly talkative stranger from trying to start a conversation about the absence of a proper Bonfire Night, or the difficulty of planning for Christmas during a lock-down.
Thirdly, and perhaps the most significant of all, the renewed emphasis on working from home will put to bed for the foreseeable future one of the most ambiguous office etiquette issues of our time: how does a man formally greet a women in a business meeting? Do you shake hands or go for the double-cheek kiss? If you do the latter, do you go left-right or right-left? If you accidentally bump noses do you pretend to hark from Inuit stock, and try and carry it off? Men of all ages have elbow-pumped with glee for the past six months; however, now, we’ve really hit the jackpot: we can virtually do what we like! A coquettish eyebrow raise, a spoof military salute, a children’s TV presenter-style rainbow wave – we are liberated.
With Brexit coming, the second lock-down has given us the impetus to renew our British values. Let’s compulsorily moan about authority without having any inclination to do anything about it; let’s talk about the Blitz spirit, even though none of us were there; lets lament why Covid won’t allow us to go on a three week holiday to Australia even though we weren’t actually planning on going: let’s use any given set back as a reason to drink tea and eat bourbons (until 12pm) or to say ‘sod it’, and crack open the Harveys Bristol Cream (post midday if you can wait).
Personally, I am already thinking about the potential of a lock-down threequel: Fergie’s Man Utd, circa ’06-’09 – Think Ronaldo. Radiohead’s OK Computer? – Seminal. Jaws 3? – Ok, fair enough…