Monday, 4 May 2020


We are not all the same. So some of us will revert to our “normal” selves, some will go on retreat but for many, changes will happen. Don’t underestimate the scale of this event.

Will we want to live urban lives?

Not so much now I’d imagine. Recently I listened to the 1960s song Downtown written when all I wanted to do was live in London or New York. It’s lyrics rang true then. “Listen to the music of the traffic in the city”. Recently hustle, bustle and crowds have been found out for many.

Will we want to shop with big operators?
Big is the issue. I saw You’ve Got Mail a few days ago. It’s a love story but also a big v. small battle where the chain, Fox Books, beats The Shop Round the Corner. Not so in the future. Small, local shops are the current sales-growth victors. Provided they’re good value, providing service and home deliveries that at least match Amazon they’ll change the landscape. In Brighton the Council is earmarking money to protect small independent shops, pubs and restaurants that are the tourist draw.

Will we want to fly?

Of course but if it costs what it should (and will) when prices inflate … maybe not. £1500 to New York economy?

Will we want to go to work in an office?

Commuting was on its knees… puffing its last anyway. As companies realise that working (mostly – not entirely) from home is more productive the old vision of the trophy Mayfair office will disappear. Home-working and co-working spaces will be appealing alternatives. 

What sort of work will we want to do?

There’s a side effect to the furlough concept. Many people can get by on massively reduced incomes in a  lockdown world. The antiquated “wage slave” attitude might be more apt. Most want to do work that makes a difference, that improves lives. We want to be applauded too.

Will we want to go to church?

Shutting declining operations when the biggest users are the last ones likely to be allowed back (the elderly) was hugely damaging. Reminds me of the story of three vicars discussing how to get rid of pigeons  in their churches.   They consider shooting them, poisoning them but one has a fool-proof idea. “I capture them baptise them, confirm them, let them go and then I never see them again.”
Some smart thinking could repurpose and restore the essential role these communal and spiritual hubs have. Synagogues and Mosques are more on the ball already.

Will exams matter?

No.  Creative thinking is our future. Our education system doesn’t focus on this.

Does marketing matter?

Not as we know it. Advertising, PR and celebrity sponsorship just died.

Does growth matter?

Not in the way we thought it did. What matters is being clear about our values. Wanting to win is normal human behaviour. Just not at any cost.

Am I right?

Possibly not. But think about it…..

We have choices.

1 comment:

John Eustace said...

Time must have stood still, I missed the posting of 27th April, but 'yes please' to The Guardian
Someone has just directed me to books on the difference twixt solitude and loneliness, can't think why, because I enjoy one and don't suffer from the other!
As ever Richard, so much with which to agree. To my mind the biggest change is the reality of a dishonest government and all that brings. The UK Government blame the journalists, but the recent fudge on testing numbers brings the Cabinet clowns into disrepute, not the people who are right to ask the questions. The decision is made, the campervan/motorhome being sourced as I write, dog needs his passport, but the moment borders open, I plan further solitude in warmer climes, c/o Atlantic Coast 2 hours south of Lisbon pip pip