Monday, 15 February 2021


Well, actually I do but not so much recently. So long as we had the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, terrible infection and mortality figures from Covid and a rampant tweeting Donald Trump we had plenty to worry about and get angry about.

Suddenly Brexit is done, vaccinations are happening and, good heavens, at an alarmingly impressive rate of knots, and in a well organised way, and the Donald is silent and has gone. 

The sun is out and much of the world has snow. It’s chilly as winters should be. The critical issues that have been keeping us awake are resolved or resolving. There ‘s light at the end of all the clich├ęs.

But things are getting worse. Because the little things like breakdowns in IT, a collapse in the Royal Mail meaning a friend called to say his Christmas card from us had only just arrived, a missed item in a supermarket delivery, oversleeping or an irritating paper cut have suddenly become issues.

With lockdown our world has shrunk. Events outside until now kept us aware of where we stood…maybe angry, enraged or alarmed but as part of a greater whole. Now we’ve become more inconsequential and vulnerable. I don’t get angry now; I just get irritated and (word of the week) peevish. Little things prey on my mind.

I tried apathy. But I do care. I don’t want to be alone. John Donne said:

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…” 

 But Brexit has seen to that, Scottish Independence may go further and lockdown, social distancing, masks and isolation have extinguished togetherness further. Goodbye untrammelled travel across Europe, goodbye hugs, smiles and kisses. It’s grumpy time for many.

Lunch is a thing of the past, I’ve forgotten how. I was thinking about Odin’s my favourite restaurant (long since ruined and then closed by barbarian owners) where conversation spilt like wine across the table. Real Masters of the Universe food and wine. Real original thinking. Or was it more ordinary…a fantasy I’m remembering?

Talking of fantasy I see some pundit economists are predicting a third quarter 2021 through 2022 boom in the global economy. Well, I wish. But an awful lot of retraining will have to happen as unemployment figures soar in hospitality, finance, retail, automotive and travel. That lot accounts for 8 ½ million jobs in the UK alone.

The Marylebone High Street I recall in 1960’s was full of gaps, lots of charity shops in prime sites, drear and uninviting. Until now this envy of the retail world was pretty ghastly back then. So, for sure, recovery and boom may well occur but not for some time, I fear, for most of us. The acid test will be whether the start-up revolution about which I’ve enthused really takes off but if it does (and  I wish fervently it does) it will take a while to bed down.

I am neither a pessimist nor an apathetic. I still feel part of this game of life and that I can make perhaps a small difference. And I do have a solution. Given the issue that will drive the economy is not money alone but human energy, enterprise and resolution. So, when we can, I’d ship as many young people as possible to the Democratic United States of America, to New York and say “get a taste of this for upbeat, chutzpah and energy and bring that back here”.  Show how much the Americans care. It’s infectious but in a good way.

1 comment:

John Eustace said...

Odins...Well Richard Hall you do help my memory recall long liquid lunches at that wonderful establishment, thank you. I look forward to the day when we might get together at Pollen Street Social. I suspect one might be inclined to book now in the hope to get a table early in the time frame.
stay well, write on