Notes from the back line.

I’ve written nothing for over a week. This is not a good sign. I mean, I may be working from home but that doesn’t mean I should just put writing on the back burner altogether. I would like to be able to tell you what I do for a living but I doubt you’d be that interested even if I did, and as these weeks of isolation stutter past each other I’m even beginning to doubt what it is I do anyway. I could tell you that I road test every rectal thermometer that goes to the NHS but I suspect you’d think I was fibbing though at least you’ll remember me next time you’re in hospital with a fever. So whatever it is I do I’m doing it, remotely, and that works just about fine, but what about the rest of the time?

 

Well, for starters I’ve stopped watching the news because the news has reached its lowest possible denominator. There is nothing strictly new about the news, it’s just more of the same and the only thing that alters slightly is how many more bodies there are and how depressing it all is. It definitely makes me glad to be working in some capacity, I may be lazy but the thought of doing nothing with my time fills me with dread; that will have to wait for that big, stained chair in a care home, but I’m kind of hoping I don’t get that far. What I have been watching instead is generally crap – repeats of Big Bang Theory from the corner of a corner of a corner of an eye while the rest of my brains buggers about on a laptop emailing this and reviewing that. And then a few films which have sort of held my attention, the most recent of which have been:

 

  1. Extraction (on Netflix) where the fella who plays Thor plays a drunken mercenary with a haunted past and a death wish and proceeds to explain his own predicament by killing as many Bangladeshi soldiers as it is humanly possible to. It is thin of plot and fat of bloodshed and bone crunch and has a laughable death toll and, to my shame, I enjoyed it rather a lot.
  2. 21 Bridges (Amazon) where the chap who plays Black Panther in the Marvel films is transported into the body of a New York cop who can’t seem to stop shooting people, perhaps because he has plans to take the Thor part in a remake of Extraction, maybe called something like Blackstraction. Again, the plot is thinner than an After Eight mint but there are some moments of guilty pleasure to be had. The cast is good, though also, predictably, somewhat wasted.
  3. Ready Or Not (can’t remember) which is a daftly distracting horror comedy kind of a film, I suppose like Sleuth or Clue but with a bit more claret. It is quite well done, comfortably silly and suitably ego free and it didn’t make me look away like the next film.
  4. Wind River (again). I watched this on a plane to Australia, or on one back from Australia. It stars Jeremy Renner as a man whose main job is shooting wild animals in Wyoming and getting on well with the indiginous American Indian population. Despite watching it twice I’ve never really worked out who employs him but it doesn’t matter because it is a fine, fine film and would be my recommendation of the week (if that was a thing that I do weekly). It is cold and white and bleak but there is a faint yet purposeful warmth pulsing away beneath it all. It does however have one scene towards the end that is very disturbing and very hard to watch and even the second time round I couldn’t watch it with full retinal commitment. Just warning you, but don’t let it put you off.

 

In other departments I have been trying to reorganise my CD collection, which is more of a task than you may imagine. To save space I have been taking each disc from its rigid case and putting it into a plastic sleeve with all the essential paperwork that comes with it. This does indeed save space but I have run out of sleeves and am now waiting for more from Denmark, which as we all know is the go-to Scandinavian country for plastic CD sleeves. The problem is that I have literally thousands of the fuckers and so am trying to think of ways to dispose of the cases that are now stacked up around the house, making it look like the home of a particularly low goal hoarder. Slowly, slowly, I am finding places to offload them that won’t choke a rabbit so if you need any you’d better be quick. You don’t even have to ask nicely.

 

And then we come to the running. Again. In order to stay slightly healthy I try to not have a drink until six (pm) and take a few (usually a few is two) days off a week and to not eat as much and as often as I’d like and then on the other side of the bedside lamp I am getting up most mornings and going off for a run. I still call it running but it’s a very slow motion version of the traditional sense. I was worried about my knees but now it’s the hips that hurt, and as Shakira would doubtless agree if she read this – the hips don’t lie. The fields are all wet and muddy now so my new trainers are new no more. It’s raining now but this morning the sun glimpsed out from behind a cloud and lit up those fields, fields that have turned from a dustbowl Steinbeck brown to a chewy, hopeful green in a blink, and that sun felt like a glimmer of hope. A flash of gold in a prospectors pan. And then it went away and when I got home the grim reality kicked back in. The devil is out there somewhere, always is, and he’s probably watching with interest; which is more than I can say for God. So now is the time to take the little flashes of gold and try to forget the rest. And if that means watching Chris Hemsworth killing everyone in Dhaka then that’s exactly what it means.

 

G B Hewitt. 30.04.2020

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