What would you most fancy doing right now, that you would normally be doing in an ordinary December? I don't know about you, but for me there are many small rituals. Some I enjoy and are big events, such as the Pogues/Pogue Traders Xmas show and the Barnet Eye Xmas party. But it is the little things that I really miss, the almost casual Xmas catch ups. This time of year I have a list of friends who I try and catch up with. Around now I'd normally be meeting with Frank the Scouser from Reading for a long and boozy lunch at The Artillery Arms near Finsbury Square. We used to share an office up there and on a Friday have a couple of pints of Fullers Seafarers beer and a lunch. When we moved on, we'd meet up a couple of times a year to maintain the tradition. The Artillery Arms is just one of the many great pubs in London, that you'd probably never know unless you worked there. It was briefly famous in the 1960's as the Kray brothers nototiously 'conducted some business' there. These days it is a tad more sedate (or it was last Xmas when I was last in there). I would typically meet Frank for a late lunch and then adjourn to meet other friends who worked in the area. Sometimes, perhaps rather inadviseably, I'd bump into a friend at Farringdon or on the train and have another pint. The Three Compasses in Farringdon was often the venue for these impromptu mini sessions. If it was not too late and I was not too full from the late lunch, it wasn't unknown to stop in the Mill Hill Tandoori and either collect a take away or if with friends have a sit down meal. Sadly, as London is in tier two, I can't meet with Frank, as there is no outside dining. I can't thenadjourn elsewhere for a few beers. I can't nip into the Compasses if I meet a friend on the train. I can collect a takeway, but I can't eat in with a friend.
I do wonder what this crisis will do for the genre of films that deals in disasters and pandemics. Whatever your opinion of covid, the thing that is most shocking is just how boring a pandemic is. There's no flesh eating zombies chasing us, no requirement to hack the heads off those infected. In horror movies, a srious sounding President or PM makes sober announcements. Instead we have had Donald Trump advising us to inject bleach and Boris sending his advisers off for a spin to Barnard Castle to check their eyesight. It makes you e-evaluate everything. If aliens were to land in London in 2020, the chances are that they would be boring aliens. They would not have Gerry Anderson style UFO's that glow and fire lasers. They would probably land in a car park in Slough and stock up on own brand orange juice from LIDL (other brands are available). We would probably have Boris on telly advising us to steer clear of Slough as there was congestion and reminding us to wear facemasks and wash our hands if we met any aliens.
The awful truth is that if an asteriod was going to hit the earth, it would be terrible, but a new terrible. There would be no toilet roll for weeks before the impact and we'd have Donald Trump telling us that it was fake news as the Earth disintigrated. Maybe in 140 million years, a new race of super intelligent dinosaurs will uncover the remains of our civilisation and start speculating how we met our demise. They will speculate as we did about asteroids etc. I wonder if it would ever occur to them that we simply died of boredom.