Monday, 5 July 2021


“So this is Summer
And what have you done
Another year of Covid
And a new one just begun” …

My apologies to the late John Lennon and Yoko Ono for bowdlerising their Christmas song protesting against the Vietnam war; yet another story of governments getting it wrong and where heavy handed might was neither right nor successful.

This coronavirus is nothing like the horrors of carpet bombing and the lunacy of war. We just need to adapt and get used to a new infected world. This pandemic in various forms will be with us forever. Napalm is not the answer. We are prone to get ill occasionally from flu, colds and much more serious ailments like pneumonia, malaria and norovirus. The more we get out and about the better the immunity we’ll build.

Staying at home isn’t the best prescription. 

For a few more weeks we‘ll still have limited restrictions. Get out (masked), lunch (distanced), travel (only if necessary), shop (are you sure?). Anyway shopping now looks like an increasingly rather muted affair. No Debenhams, Top Shop, Miss Selfridge and so on.  A blighted high street. 

Another high street gap appears as Gap are going exclusively online, John Lewis and M&S are closing many high street outlets. Online is king for these big retailers. 

But, wait a minute; not just the big ones. The corner shop has suddenly been reborn as a series of local delivery operators are being created. These deliver in minutes. And they’re  full time legitimate employees (none of your Deliveroo gig economy). In Brighton ‘Beeliver’ has started – wine, cigarettes, last minute grocery necessities or supper party ingredients – all delivered within the hour.

 A brand called Dija (Dija Vu?) is being heavily backed by investors to be a ‘unicorn’ billion-pound brand. The Guardian, as so often and rather ironically a trailblazer in detecting capitalist trends, recently wrote an article describing this as “democratising the right to laziness.” But it might be better seen as “revolutionising convenience”.  Tesco Express and Sainsbury Local are likely to be the biggest losers. Too slow. Too inconvenient. These new, disruptive convenience-delivery operators also make working from home even easier.

This is yet another example of enterprise unleashed by disaster. Covid has as many winners as losers. And those losers are often architects of their own demise losing their way in terms of stock, style, pricing, customer service. Their failure has been accelerated not created by Covid. 

Despite the dreary weather during June the football has cheered some as has Wimbledon. Yet as we watch a half-full Wembley – it looked pretty packed to me – perhaps the spectators were just fatter – I wonder how this reconciles with government guidelines. I think government wonders too. Still, come what may, with gritted teeth and with fingers crossed the shackles are being removed in a fortnight and then we’ll mix, mingle and have fun again. The government seems finally to have realised lockdowns don’t work – look at Scotland.

Chances are some will party to stay up with the others but many will find their instincts are to stay at home and watch Netflix. Meanwhile BBC and ITV are looking like the Woolworths of broadcasting whilst the streaming services dazzle and shine.

One thing we’re learning is that if you aren’t good enough you are going to struggle to survive in this new cruel world.

Talking of ‘cruel worlds’, watch “Princess Weiyoung” on Netflix and you’ll agree Eastenders and the rest are lost causes. 

Chinese TV like Chinese food is delicious. As soon as you’ve finished watching one series you’ll want another.

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