I have been inspired to write this blog and its successors by listening to the daily official updates on Covid-19 by the government ministers and officials. Let me describe the symptoms:
1. The delivery is slow, not to say ponderous, because the speaker wants us to know that he is dealing with A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE, and that he has to communicate with ORDINARY, NOT TO SAY, THICK PEOPLE, whose brains work slowly.
2. At certain points in the narrative an oily tone of sympathy must he used because PEOPLE ARE DYING, a fact barely worth mentioning in the case of deaths from poverty, smoking, alcohol or being non- British.
3. The update will include many expressions of gratitude – “I want to convey my deepest appreciation”etc- to NHS workers, bin men, delivery workers, care home staffs, in other words TO POORLY PAID SUPPLIERS OF ESSENTIAL PUBLIC SERVICES NORMALLY IGNORED BY THE GOVERNMENT. This is done through gritted teeth in order that some of the public appreciation of these good people may be hoovered up by the government.
4. The ability to jump from the past to the present or even the remote future when asked a question that means, “ YOU MADE A RIGHT ARSE OF THIS, DIDN’T YOU?
5. The frequent use of journalist’s FIRST NAMES, in the hope that they will not ask the above question.
These are the symptoms, what is my diagnosis?
These people betray none of the usual signs of life, human, animal, vegetable, bacterial, or viral, and must therefore be diagnosed as MEMBERS OF THE UNDEAD, who have their own unique modes of existence.
(The difference between UK movies and Hollywood is paralleled by that between UK UNDEAD and USA UNDEAD, the latter having a behaviour akin to Nelson’s putting a telescope to his blind eye, in this case to report I SEE NO DEATHS, I SEE NO PANDEMIC, I SEE NO FAILURE JUST KEEP ON TAKING THE MALARIA PILLS, BABES. NOW WHERE’S MY ORANGE SLAP?)
They are doubtless the UNDEAD, who have been gone from life for some time, and have returned surreptitiously with tell-tale bits of soil festooning their garments and with an uneasy conviction that if they don’t hold their pose immovably BITS OF THEIR HEADS MAY DROP OFF.
My point is that if we listen to them too often we may forget that they are FROM ANOTHER PLACE.
To prevent this I would recommend:
1. Don’t listen to them too often, above all don’t believe what they are saying. (Would you believe a CROCODILE?)
2. Make sure you keep listening to real people who are alive. I made a point this week of thanking, from an approved distance, the man who empties my bins. He listened courteously, then replied, “Ach it’s jist the same F-ing job it was last year.” He is alive and not impressed with his own heroism. Or I read the Scottish novelist A L Kennedy who wrote that anything good ultimately comes from love. She is alive and impressed by what human beings can do at their best.
3. When Jesus rose from the dead, he came back ALIVE, according to reports. Alive enough to put up with daft questions and having fingers stuck in his wounds. He no longer speaks directly in this world, but his unmistakeable, irreligious aliveness is seen and heard in people like my binman and A L Kennedy.
For the next while, this blog will try to spot both the UNDEAD and the ALIVE in our midst.