Monday, 7 December 2020


Years ago I worked with someone who was rather lethargic. One day I walked into his empty office and found written on his wall “I feel so tired” …20 times. It was eerie. Rather like finding Jack’s book open in “The Shining”.

I kept a wary eye on him after that. Then he left, started a new company and became extremely wealthy. At that point I felt really tired.

I’m constantly hearing  people lamenting their weariness. What’s going on? We don’t commute or travel anywhere. We had a lovely, lazy summer redolent of the Kinks:

“I love to live so pleasantly
Live this life of luxury
Lazing on a sunny afternoon”

But in the Kinks song all is not well. Tax burdens. Bailiffs. Broken relationships. Boredom and weariness.

Now we’re lashed by unending news and interviews with second-ranking Ministers of State.  It’s like Groundhog Day. We’re all clones of Bill Murray. 

I even know someone who, in a state of woe, stayed up very late listening to the early results of the US Presidential Election when it seemed Trump might pull it off. We’ve become depressingly knowledgeable about politics, Covid, health issues, the NHS.  It’s time to get a life instead of being self-obsessed hypochondriacs. We’re being ruled not by fear of the virus but by all the worries of the world. Like the Guardian we’ve become experts in what’s wrong.

Time to re-energise and look on the upside. I love the fresh air of change. We now live in a world where we can develop a vaccine from scratch in 10 months rather than 10 years. Quantum Computing is changing everything. Last week Deep Mind (part of Google in the UK)  has created  a programme called Alpha Fold that can predict protein shapes. This is the biggest scientific breakthrough in many years. Other scientists are saying this is a development they’d have described as having a feasibility of happening  “not in my lifetime.”  Proteins are the workhorses of life. In a human being there are 80,000 to 400,000 of them. A scientist on the Radio 4 Today programme described protein as being like shoelaces but you don’t know what shape they’ll tie into. If you knew you could anticipate diseases and shape the life of human beings positively. 

I love seeing new enterprise. Ours is rapidly becoming a brave, new world. Getting back to normal was a pretty unambitious aim: normal was not so great. Now we are at last rushing to try and reverse climate change – with even the Chinese setting carbon-free targets. We are changing that face of normal.  The way we do our shopping has changed and soon Amazon won’t be the only show around. Watch out for Ocado. 

The way we travel and why we do it is changing.  We’ll be working from home as well as meeting together and learning new skills. Eating out will return but quality will become a bigger factor. In the lockdown wine sales have held up well but people are paying much more for a bottle than they did last year. Local communities are beginning to thrive. I can’t influence the Senatorial election in Georgia but I might help solve the litter problems in Central Brighton.

The antidote to fatigue is exhilaration not more news. The contribution that Netflix makes to human good is bigger than the Times, BBC News, the Guardian and the Economist.

Back to the Shining.  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. So let’s start to play again. Celebrate, talk, laugh and enjoy. 

Happy December. Ho. Ho. Ho.


1 comment:

John Eustace said...

Good as ever Richard thank you, for the voice of sanity