Our 23rd wedding anniversary. I took Clare to a non-league football match and she took me to see Paloma Faith. I have no idea who got the better of the transaction. Photography opportunities were better at the gig, even if musically this is not my thing. A couple of thousand other people seemed happy enough with it all, though.
It’s been a long time since I went to any kind of live theatrical performance. The last time one was depicted on here was probably 30th December 2018 (The Producers, in Manchester). In large part we can, of course, thank two years of The Great Fear for this, and that also explains why there’s been no Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival since 2019. But this has returned, tonight was the finale, and as they needed some ushers (glorified fire marshals) I got to put on a suit and go and see it for free. We were allowed to take photos only at the end, so here’s the one chance I got. This woman, CeCe Sinclair, was the MC, and a bloody good job she made of it. She did it while not wearing much, but that’s burlesque for you. A better-than-average Sunday evening, anyway.
Since the start of the Great Fear it’s been the cities, like Manchester, which have felt the most alien and empty. Shoppers have come back, but not yet tourists nor office workers. Whether or not those latter groups will return, and how, is still an open question. But this stage, being built for the Manchester International Festival is, to me, a sign of optimism — yet there are still so many lockdown-loving lunatics out there (most obviously in the Labour Party) that we may never be sure of anything again. Covid ain’t going away, anyone. We will be catching it, ‘testing positive’ for it, for the rest of our lives. Get used to it.