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3:AM in Lockdown 18: Gerard Evans

By Gerard Evans.

28 March 2020

6.30am

I feel like I’ve woken up in some dark Philip K Dick story. And part of that story is that I feel like that morning after morning. The bad dream that doesn’t end when you wake up. ‘The Seventh Seal’ by Scott Walker keeps playing in my head, particularly the 2nd verse.

And this is how it feels, like the Middle Ages. So I consciously replace it with ‘Barbie Girl’ by Aqua, which only feels last century.

The dark clouds of coronavirus persist but I’m not playing. I can’t change the cards I’ve been dealt, but I sure as hell can control how I play them. Victor Frankl knew, in the most desperate of circumstances; an inspiration to us all.

Friends pontificate online and on the phone about whether this might finally change the world and give us, at least, a far more compassionate version of capitalism. That this is the wake-up call.

I’m burnt out on that front — a lifetime of dashed optimisms, the waves throwing them onto the seashore rocks until the tank finally reads empty. I’m not holding my breath. But I am gloriously still: deep under the surface, there are no waves, just the calm water and the fish going about their business.

Truthfully I’m in a reasonably high-risk group, as is my wife. So survival is taking up all our attention. Trying to find that delicate line between paranoia and awareness. Meditating for longer every day in the knowledge that my mental health is also under attack. I got called a snowflake recently and realised, to my initial surprise, that deep down that’s just what I am. Not ready to melt yet though.

Lockdown itself isn’t much of a disruption — I’ve been (happily) self-isolating to some extent for the last 10 years. Realising that I’m uncomfortable in groups of more than 3 was the most liberating and calming change I ever made.

Mindflash back to when I was a teenager and I was going to live forever — I even painted that on the back of my leather jacket, inspired by the Kids From Fame theme tune. I wonder if Noel Gallagher liked that song too. Coughing up a ball of blood when I was on tour and nonchalantly simply laughing about it. Seems a universe away now.

Superstition knocking on the door. That writing this is like tempting fate. Like the Scottish Play or the (now ‘other’) C word.

New vocabularies grow out of nowhere. Social-distancing, self-isolating, furloughed. Fucking furloughed! I mean…

Binge-watching TV will surely take over now. It’s also a weird barometer of how much of a downhill trajectory TV drama has been on over the past few decades. Even The Bill seems pretty good these days.

Or maybe I’m just getting old. Which is OK. Getting old is something I gently treasure right now.

Gerard Evans used to be George Berger but has transitioned.

First posted: Saturday, April 4th, 2020.

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