Hopefully, my inability to focus on writing because of this obsession with corona will, like my little cough and fever a few weeks ago, pass in a few more days and I can use this luxury of time to get on with my next book. Meanwhile;
I am not a big Sci-Fi movie fan. Someone very cerebral once asked me which version of Solaris I preferred, the original black and white Russian language version, or the George Clooney one. My answer was the latter. The reason being that the Hollywood version of Solaris is considerably shorter. I am not cut-out for current times.
This sci-fi movie, the one with the shoddy production values, terrible pacing, hackneyed dialogue dredged up from World-War-Two and a narrative arc that is as yet undiscernible to the participating audience, the one we’re living in, is really no good at all.
In a culture that loves blaming we have, as yet, no identifiable bad-guys. Diseases, having no moral sense or decision-making capacity let alone eyebrows to menacingly arch make lousy villains. Commuters going out to work, those who wantonly shop for non-essential grout and other people having the same idea about where to exercise as the rest of us all have too much sympathetic backstory to truly fit the role. And like them or loath them, and I’m sure we all do, even politicians are mostly trying to get us to do what they think is best in an unknown and chaotic situation.
The politicians could fulfil the role of bad guys if they continue to berate and threaten people going into parks and refuse to reign in the police in interpreting the lockdown regulations. The Community Support Officer who threatened me with arrest when I sat down for five minutes in an empty square on the way back from Sainsburys is not the only jobs-worth out there. That, and the fact that we have no sitting parliament to hold to account might give this awful plot the kick it needs. If the police get more systematic in their too rigorous interpretation of the law, we will have ourselves some easily identifiable, indeed uniformed thugs, being directed by somewhat sickly but nevertheless unaccountable masterminds. Which will of course be a great relief to the lover of coherent story lines.
Neither is there a manageable number of heroes in this rubbish story. As the mother of sons I am all too aware of what a narrative mess those Avengers movies got into when there were over a dozen good guys. I ended up thinking Thanos might have done us a favour when he killed half of all life in the universe, just so I could keep up with the story. Now every NHS worker, food shop worker, delivery driver, veg picker, the butcher, the baker and the sanitiser maker is a hero. Quite right too, and this was always the case. But its hard to identify with so many good guys all at once, particularly when one’s own act of self-sacrifice for the common good meanly involves sitting about and arguing over the rules of Monopoly.
When I’m not actually caring about little racing cars getting rent when they’re in jail, taking my turn on the Mutual Aid phone, in Zoom meetings developing remote classes, changing our individual hand towels again and looking on Social and Media-Media I will continue to exercise what freedom I have left and wonder.