The schools are shut for half-term, there are no trains to Manchester and it rained most of the day. Hebden Bridge is back in lockdown almost by default. It’s a depressing time, a silence hangs over the place that is unnatural and wrong.
This is Leeds railway station, at what should be peak time on a Saturday morning.
You may think this desperately depressing scene is justified and necessary. I do not. When a crime has been committed the good investigator first asks — cui bono? It means ‘who benefits’? And who does benefit from all this — if we are not travelling, not spending money in the same places we were spending it last October, seeing friends, partying in nightclubs, going to Elland Road or wherever? I name Rupert Murdoch, Jim Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt and all their kin as people with the most profoud vested interest in keeping us locked up through the spreading of fear and this year’s sudden, digitally-driven enhancement of what Michel Foucault called the carceral state. If I’m wrong, sue me. If you don’t like it, defy it.
This idea of ‘underuse’ has been a recurring theme lately — but there are obvious reasons for that, and it is going to become even more the case now that uni have decided that, after all, they would rather not teach face-to-face, ‘at least’ until the end of October. Which is, conveniently, after everyone’s arrived and paid their rent. Don’t blame me — I oppose the decision, and rather vehemently too. But it seems this opinion is now in the minority.
Pubs now have to shut at 10pm, and so with no nightclubs or alternative venues available for anyone wanting to carry on with their evening, everyone now mills around and gets into taxis and buses at the same time, thus compressing all those infective agents together instead of spacing them out more. And if you think this idiocy will be repealed soon, recall that the licensing restrictions brought in during World War One remained in place for eighty years.
Meanwhile, your friendly local high street is becoming a ghost town; if your place looked much different from Hebden Bridge at 10.50pm this evening (or on any given evening), then I would say that’s unusual.
Saturday 1st August 2020, 11.25am (ish) (day 3,264)
It’s been nice to come down to London for a couple of days, the weather’s been good and I have met friends and had decent exercise. But there’s been something eerie about it, unnatural and wrong. Difficult to do much else today than post another picture of somewhere that should be very busy on this day and time under normal circumstances, but instead, echoed like an empty cathedral.
London is, without a doubt, one of the two main financial centres of the known universe, and also a city that should be heaving with tourists at this time of year — particularly on a gloriously sunny day like this.
And it’s dead. We’re in big trouble. Ignore the politicians — they can’t think more than a week ahead.
That ominous crumbling, shattering sound you hear from behind closed doors is your local economy. This square, on a Saturday morning, should not be inhabited only by ducks. And even they’re missing their usual benefits. These two were responding to a rumour that bread was being handed out by the old bridge.
My home town would definitely be a worse place without the Hebden Bridge Picture House which has miraculously remained alive throughout the last few decades and thus neither become a Wetherspoons nor a faceless corporate Vue-style operation with no leg room and supplying shit hot-dogs that cost a fiver. Long may it reign. Although it is nevertheless true that the movie we went to see tonight was pretty cruddy (Hereditary – not as good as reputed….).