Bedroom Storytime

So, after all of this is over, we are all just going to go back to normal, right? We’re all going to be just fine, yeah? Day one back to work, shaking hands, get the bowl of chips out to share, totally borrow someone’s pen, casually touch the handrail without thinking, all back to normal, right? We’ll all be jumping back into crammed airplanes, crowding into cinemas to watch the latest blockbuster, squeezing in shoulder to shoulder at the local bar? It’s only been a few weeks, or is it a month, I am forgetting, but if this whole thing ever comes to an end, I don’t know what the social and mental hangover will be. As for the very real current events, well those numbers just keep getting worse, and that’s already a lot to think about. I look at the date of the sketch above, March 29, and think about how much worse it has gotten just in the two weeks since then. And yet, while March felt like the longest month, April is already half over and I don’t know where that went. Perhaps because so much of it was in the Current Routine of not going anywhere, and knowing that this will be the case for the next few weeks for certain, as the shelter in place order has been extended until May, and we’ll very likely be here for another month or two. This timeline sucks. Above, I’m on my bed, watching YouTube videos about maths (with Hannah Fry, who being similarly British also calls it maths, which is of course the right way) (actually I pronounce it ‘maffs’ because I’m from Burnt Oak). Maths it turns out is very interesting. I don;t remember it being quite as interesting when my old Maths teacher Blindty was drilling it into us, old-school. It wasn’t really my subject. I liked (surprisingly I know) Art and Languages most at school, though I did enjoy History (except when I was spectacularly not very good at it at A-Level) and English (although I had a teacher who told me I would not pass the GCSE; turns out she was wrong, and I ended up getting a Master’s degree in it). Still, if she saw my writing now she’d probably say the same, and the way I ramble on I can’t really blame her.
view from bedroom

And so I’m continuing to draw the house. I’m also occasionally looking out of the window. We had some great storms pass through recently, dropping a lot of rain and making me feel much better about being indoors. I looked out of the window last Sunday and sketched the view. I don’t spend as much time looking out of the window as when I was a kid, when I’d stare at the sky above my part of north London, but now I mostly see trees. You can see the head of my guitar in the bottom corner. I bought that in December 1996 at Macari’s in Charing Cross Road. It’s my dearly beloved acoustic, but I don’t play as much as I used to. I really should. Should I though? Maybe not. I was never that good at it. I enjoyed music more when I was younger, and had a good ear for picking things up. I let that slide too much years ago, and ah well. It’s funny, while This Whole Thing* is going on we might all feel a lot of pressure to start doing all of these things we should be doing, start playing an instrument, learn a new language, make hilarious quarantine videos with the whole family (people were doing that after like one day, weren’t they?) but there’s so much anxiety I can barely do anything at all some days, except what I usually do, which is work and draw. And drawing really helps. Lately I have started a new drawing project, to fill an entire book with google street view sketches of the whole of Britain. Problem is I am already finding it hard to decide where to draw and what to miss out. The book can fit at most 60-something sketches, so I’m capping it at 66. It’s a mystical number in Britain after all. I’ve just reached Devon. There’s a really long way to go until John O’Groats…

*I realized that “This Whole Thing” is what I have been calling this whole thing. That’s my name for it. I have been writing down a list of some of the phrases I have heard or read. Strange Times. Odd Times. Unusual Times. Extraordinary Times. These Difficult Times. Uncertain Times, Unfamiliar Terrain. Unprecedented Times. Living Through Something Extraordinary. The Current Health Situation. The Current Virus Thing. Twenty bastard twenty. (I made that last one up).

5 thoughts on “Bedroom Storytime

  1. Tina Koyama says:

    In some ways, I don’t think we’ll ever go “back to normal.” I think “this whole thing” will be like the Great Depression was for my parents’ generation, which affected them throughout the rest of their lives (they never stopped being frugal, and they taught me never to be in debt). Kids will roll their eyes, “Oh, there’s grandpa talking about that nasty, germy pandemic again.”

  2. unironedman says:

    66? Magical? In what way? I ask as our local bus service here is the 66 into town, so I’m curious. (In the curious way that in a venn diagram of ‘ologies’, numerology neatly fits within bollocksology entirely.) Apart from that, how’s the Hohner? Play much? You shouldn’t start just because of the global pandemic. That’s a really poor excuse to play guitar. Play guitar because it’s damn cool and the chicks love it (sorry if my good lady wife is reading this, but ya know, I was cool back in the day when I had long hair and a Gibson Les Paul strapped to my chest). By that metric, of course, you should also take up smoking but that’s a really bad idea. Just on the guitar though; hot tip: get a capo and stick it on the second fret. Makes your guitar easier to play. You can even tune the strings down a full tone, and then the capo on 2 brings it all back up to concert pitch.

    I hope Tina is right. I hope we don’t go back to normal. But sadly I think we will. I guess two simple barometers of this will be the US elections in November, and how the UK deals with Covid and Brexit. But if I see an app on the appstore about ‘how to recalibrate your life after the virus’ then I know we are all doomed. Doomed, I tells ya!

    Keep sketching anyway. Your street view sketch project deserves to be a best-seller.

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