So, amigos, how are you coping with this Chinese Virus?
And before you say it … I’m not being racist, I’m just being honest.
The joke doing the increasingly irritating Twitbook rounds pretty much nails it. If you haven’t heard it already, allow me to enlighten you:
‘Why are the Chinese no good at cricket,’ asks an Indian man. ‘Give up? Because they ate all the f***ing bats.’
Anyway, before I share my fascinating daily routine with you, let me give you a piece of advice. If you’re thinking about getting round to writing that novel during The Lockdown … you know, the one you always threatened you’d write… forget it.
A recent Guardian article featured the exponential curve (where have we heard that before?) that submissions to agents have become.
And if you can’t be bothered to read it, allow me to summarize it for you.
Aside from the volume of submissions, Phoebe Morgan, editorial director at HarperCollins, advised writers on Twitter to steer away from Covid-19-based plots. “I know this is my personal opinion and I am only one editor, but I am advising my authors not to add pandemic into contemporary novels,” she said. “My reasoning: I don’t think anyone wants to remember this when they’re trying to escape. Fiction is fiction.”
There you have it. Word from the proverbial horse’s month.
So then … you’re absolutely gagging to know this, I’m sure … just how am I spending my Lockdown days, here in sunny Grodkow?
My overriding emotion at finishing the first draft of Saving Dave was one of impassive apathy? When I penned the words “The End” in Losing The Plot, I was euphoric; I summoned my good friends to the Moet … we had some drinks, we went for a meal, and then we had some more drinks. I basked in a warm sense of fulfilment even bordering on pride, until my editor came back with the first edit.
But with Dave, it’s oh-so different. We’re in Lockdown … we can’t go anywhere, and so my celebrations were about as wild as Sir Walter Raleigh’s when he’d completed the first draft of History of The World, Volume 1 in the Tower of London. For the record, the reason there was no Volume 2 is because he was executed before he could pen the words “The End”.
And that’s not because I’m not – in any way – unhappy with Saving Dave. Permit me to blow my own proverbial trumpet – it’s a damned good read and I really think you’re going to love it.
Then, after a few days – particularly when the Polish government forbad us to leave our homes other to buy beer, vodka and other essential supplies, my enthusiasm for writing evaporated altogether. I was in a state of anecdotal limbo, hovering in a fog of lethargic slothdom, one pointless day sliding seamlessly into the next.
‘Praise The Lord for that’, some of you may well say.
But, amigos, I’ve finally pulled myself through the torpor and ‘nothingtodoness’ of Lockdown, given myself a ‘jolly-good-talking-to’ and hence, I am sharing my Lockdown daily schedule with you.
10:30-11.30: Get up. Why so late? Nothing else to do. Eat breakfast. Watch Covid-19 news. Swear at doom-wallowing hyper-negative media twats and turn TV off.
12:30-13:30: Spanish lesson. Muy bien … Que tal amigos?
13:30-14:40: Read book (currently The Perfect Wife, by JP Delaney [not bad, but not a pageturner]), doze in the sun, try to do some writing … even if it’s only a blog.
15:30-16:30: Sneak out to shops (incorporating an illicit roof-down blast in the car around town) for supplies, mainly of alcohol. This only happens every few days, but is worth inclusion in my hectic schedule. On non-shopping days, this hour is re-assigned to more reading/dozing in the sun/re-writing of blog.
17:00-18:30: Exercise – usually one hour on exercise bike followed by circuits in garden, or an hour in father-in-law’s basement gym (adjacent to his basement whisky distillery, avoiding father-in-law’s offer to test new products).
19:00-20:00: Second Spanish lesson. Otra ves? Perfecto!
20:00-21:00: Beer time. Beer time activities include: Chess lessons (not a great combination) The Times (2) crossword, and watching Paradise Island (reluctantly) on Polish TV.
21:00-23:30: Wine time. Dinner is served at some point during Wine Time.
10:30-11:30 Get up and do it all again.
Amigos! Should you find yourselves with nothing to do … or, of course, you may be among the fortunate few who are using this enforced holiday productively, please do share your daily schedule. I’d love to hear it.
I’m going to close by saying a word of thanks to all those – throughout the world – who are working so hard to keep this shit together.
As Paul McCrapney said: ‘There will be an answer … let it be’.
In my next blog …
How would your ultimate hero have coped with Lockdown?
Richie Malone puts himself in the shoes of his mentor and role model, Hank Moody, and considers how the great man would have coped with social distancing.
“I pop a cassette into the Buick’s stereo. It’s the Ramones. I turn the volume up high and roll down the windows. The highway air tastes of fumes, but it still feels goddamn good to breathe.”
Hank Moody, God Hates Us All
Chic@s, Let’s make this interactive! Tell me how your ultimate hero – either real or fictional – would have got through these dark days.