Hope in the time of the apocalypse

Back in the 1980s we thought we were going to die all the time. Literally, you’d wake up, hear something on the radio about how some mad old bastard in the US or the Soviet Union nearly exterminated all human life last night but you’d get on with it. We’re now in 2020 and things are awful. We’re in the middle of a pandemic which sees a large chunk of the planet isolating while the reality of the future is starting to dawn on people that what we did prior to lockdown isn’t coming back. There’s a new future dawning and it won’t be a good one.

Yet there is some hope out there. People are still doing good things, society hasn’t fallen apart and this is a chance to assess what we’re doing with ourselves and the world. The other option is being scared and waiting to die which is frankly, not an option so find something that gives you hope be it watching a load of Star Wars films, whittering about comics or anything that keeps you grounded because til a vaccine is found and distributed things are never going back to what they were.

Hope prevails as long as you let it.

Another day in the ongoing future dystopia

I’m now in the fifth week of lockdown and to say there have been bad days is an understatement as like most people, my mental health is shagged, my sleeping patterns are a mess and days and days of isolation where I literally speak to nobody face-to-face is taking a toll. However the other option is death. I prefer the toll being taken as something might be done to help them, death however is hard to come back from.

As it stands realistically 45k people are dead thanks to Covid19. As yet, the UK government aren’t being hung from London Bridge for how badly they’ve failed to deal with this but this isn’t a functional country with our descent into Orwellian nightmare.

I’m trying to keep organised and busy but that often ends up meaning being slumped in front of Netflix or Amazon Prime, sleeping or wondering where the day has gone. There is however a chance of working from home soon which will at least focus the mind somewhat. At least it means getting off being furloughed and my job being secure at the end of all this, assuming of course we ever have days ever again where we’re not living in the shadow of Covid 19.

And on that note stay safe. Next time back to the cheerier content.

Apocalypse anxiety

One of the things about this time of quarantine is the bad days.  The good days aren’t fantastic, as after all we’re in a time of massive upheaval with a killer pandemic that will likely kill me should I catch it but if I can get through a day without sitting on the couch in a blind panic with my heart pounding so fast it feels like it’ll break, then things are peachy.

Bad days, however, are hell. Crippling anxiety, chest pains, headaches and not even able to go outside for my approved one session of exercise a day.  Yet I’m still somehow surviving all of this and compared to those putting their lives at risk this is nothing but the damage this is going to have for not just me, just everyone (well, apart from those loons who think it’ll never affect them and we don’t need these measures) for decades.  The damage to people’s mental health will be something we’ve got to deal with, especially for those unable to mourn right now because of social distancing, and the disturbing confirmation that corpses can still be a source of infection.

So I get through the day as best as I can, as pretty much anyone can in these times. Whatever the new normal is after all of this for millions of us things will be tough as a sort of planetary PTSD affects us all.

Til then comics and other stuff is keeping me going and I’m trying to stick to that sort of blogging but things do need to be said at times, and this is definately one of those times.

Let’s go crazy

As I approach my second weekend in isolation as the Coronavirus pandemic gets worse, and worse, it dawns on me that at no time in recent human history has such a single event effected the planet in such a way. The toll on people and their physical and mental health is going to be massive with people living the rest of their lives with the trauma we’re all experiencing right now.

When I hear people say this could be over in a few months, or realistically when a vaccine is available I tend to think the smarter ones are trying to avoid what we’re going to have to deal with at some point, which is the grieving and dealing with whatever you thought normal before this won’t be around after this. For myself I know I’m having severe anxiety and I’m not infected. God knows what the doctors, nurses and other NHS staff are putting up with, not to mention the family and friends of those dead.So I, and others, seem stuck between melancholia and hysteria.

Truth is we’ll dealing with this for years, in some cases for the rest of their lives. Once the scale of the pandemic becomes clear we’ll not put up with what we were before this because it’ll be trivial. We’re going to be very different after this so let’s have a conversation now about how to make things as best as possible for people after this.

The silence of cities

I think the thing I can’t quite deal with is the relentless silence. I live in Glasgow which is a pretty big city, and it has been ghostly in the five or six days since the UK went into lockdown. Sure there’s still a distant rumble of cars and trucks on the M8 but it isn’t relentless. There’s vast periods of nothing with the occasional dog barking, or tinny sounds of television bleeding through walls. Human contact is virtually gone.

As many of us approach our first week in lockdown it becomes clear the world before Covid19 isn’t coming back. That world is dead, and what comes next is anyone’s guess because when Covid19 is over, we’re entering a depression that’ll make the one of a century ago seem like boom years.

This temporary silence is a quiet before the storm. Soon, death tolls will increase, jobs will carry on being lost and until a working vaccine is made any sense of ‘normal’ is out the window which means at least a year barring a medical breakthrough but you can’t effectively put a country/planet under house arrest without serious consequences, so be prepared. Things aren’t going to get better quickly and we’re in for a very, very long haul.

You can save the comic book industry!

The coronavirus has essentially made clear the American comic book industry stands now on a precipice as the main distributor of new comics, Diamond, has suspended deliveries til whenever this all gets safe again which at best, is going to be July. If we’re lucky! Diamond are laying off staff, while nobody knows what’s going to happen as this week is the last week any new comics will definitely be published and shipped to shops. Thing is many of those shops won’t be able to sell them as they don’t offer an online buying or delivery service, so you can pretty much say those shops will not survive this.

I’ve seen several major crashes in the comics industry. By far the worst was in the 1990’s where shops crashed like ninepins as the speculator boom faded away, then the crash in the late 2000s ended up being a blip. This however is worse.

So what can you as a fan do? Some shops like Gosh and Page 45 need to be singled out because the world is a worse place without them, and because they provide a wide selection of comics outwith the spandex stuff but in this time, if you can, support your local shop. There might not be new comics to buy but this might be the time to see if they can dig out back issues for you, or pick up a trade or two. Anything to keep money flowing otherwise that shop you rely on for your weekly fix is gone and it ain’t coming back because the post-coronavirus world is going to look different to what it was only a week or two ago.

Good luck to all shops out there. It will be hard, some of you will go but as long as the community sticks together then that number will be smaller than it could be as long as people support them by buying what they can, when they can. I’m going to help by throwing out some recommendations in another blog of stuff to buy, but please use your local shop where you can.

Here’s to the new normal

I’m on day two of the official lockdown and so far I’m fine, partly because I’m off work on full wages expecting to get set up to work from home probably next week. What is clear is the situation is becoming more real that things aren’t going to change soon, and that we’re effectively in a wartime situation which leads us to see how people react to this.

Mostly people are doing what they can to help, but panic buying is still rife, as is black marketeering not to mention companies which clearly are nothing like an essential service forcing staff to come in putting lives at risk. Plus young people thinking they’re invulnerable can think again.

Reality is starting to dawn that this is the new normal. We’re locked down til June at least but by then thousands of us won’t be around, so this is a small sacrifice to make in order to save as many lives as possible.