Plague Diary #12

Categories: Blog

Thursday? Yes, it’s thursday. Days, weeks, they don’t really have any meaning a this point. It’s ridiculous. I can’t even do this diary every day, just now and then, it seems as pointless as the days of the week are right now.

It seems as though the lockdown in the UK will go on for another 3 weeks. At least. I’m partially not that bothered: I’m in no hurry to return to the office, but not being able to go out anywhere is really getting to me, and to Francesca. Our days are basically a routine of: wake up, go to desk and work until 4pm, go for our alloted walk for outdoor/exercise time, come home, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed. Repeat. I’m sure this is the same for everyone as well, and how well we each cope is going to be down to what we fill our time with, and to an extent what our work is. I work as a software developer, and normally it’s an interesting, challenging, sometimes fun, job. Right now it’s a stressful job. I have been dragged off my normal project work, in languages I mostly enjoy working with and know, to look at code written a long time ago in a piece of shit language called Delphi 6, which dates from the 90s. Kind of Borland’s answer to C++, if I remember correctly. It’s a bag of shite, and although I spent about 5 years working in it, I’m moved on, cleared that out of my head to make space for more relevant information. This is all to hand over work to a 3rd party, and there’s a deadline ticking, and I’m basically spending my days learning how this software works, so I can tell other people how it works, and then never look at it again. A great use of my time. Meanwhile my normal project is going nowhere.

I’m irritated. The more I think and write about it, the more irritated I get.

So move on.

I have picked up my reading of Deleuze again, which paused a few months ago, probably because of the holiday period. I’ve been slowly working my way through A Thousand Plateaus, and have read his books on Kafka and Francis Bacon. Yes, Felix, he helped with some of that stuff too. Recently I found a series of lectures on YouTube given by the philosopher Todd May on Difference and Repetition, Deleuze’s main piece of work. It’s a multi-series, filmed before a class as they work through the text, and so I’ve decided to follow along, and do the reading. I don’t understand everything Deleuze wrote, he’s a difficult, complex philosopher, but like Nietzsche, who he draws on a lot, someone who affirms. Deleuze celebrates creativity and diversity. His philosophy is radical and positive, in the best possible way. I find him a motivating influence on both my life, and my creative output. Since I picked up his books again, my mood has improved considerably.

Our televisual addiction has turned to a re-watch of Russian Doll, for me the second viewing, for Francesca…the fourth or fifth? I think she’s referring to it in her PhD thesis. It’s a great series – smart, funny, well written, and while not a unique premise, does it in a new and interesting way. There’s a lot to dig into as well, lots of symbolism and things that benefit multiple viewings to really pick up on. How they’re going to do a second season, I don’t know. It doesn’t need it. Why can’t everything be like Watchmen and know when to quit?

Additionally we have been binge watching The West Wing. Neither myself or Francesca watched this when originally on, and we’ve seen the odd episode on repeat, but it’s something that needs to be stuck with to get the characters and the intricacies of US politics. Why have a couple of lefty people from the UK have developed a keen interest in what is arguably a very patriotic American television series about the White House staff? Maybe because it presents a version of the US President that we could all do with, no matter what your nationality. Someone who isn’t a fucking lunatic. Someone progressive, liberal, and humane. Someone charasmatic without being a narcissist, or a populist. In short, someone like Obama. For as very far from perfect as he was, fucking hell, we could use world leaders like that about now. And I am, for want of a better word, an anarchist.

Watching The West Wing prompted a discussion about 90s television, and about how it seems like it was much more hopefully and progressive than shows are now. Star Trek, The West Wing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, versus Breaking Bad, The Wire, the new fucking awful Star Trek, with its terrible characters and violence.

I’m an old man shaking his fist at the clouds.

I’m washing my hands.