Diary of a Booker Winner (in waiting) – 13

April 25th 2020

“Society is no comfort, to one not sociable”


Alcohol sales up 31%

Visits to A and E down 50%

Increase in the record for the oldest person to have a UK Number 1 single: 45.5%  

(Captain Tom Moore ousting Sir Tom Jones)

Other Numbers:

Dubious Disinfectant Debates: 1

Home Testing Kits available after 15 minutes of website opening: 0

Contact Tracing Apps efficiency, privacy and security debates: Numerous

Latest Slogan:

Test, Track, Trace

New Vocabulary enjoyed:

“Dosomethingitis” (Governments and others who are eager to show they are being proactive).

The 23rd of April passed with even less of the usual minimal fanfare. It was of course the somewhat lesser-known even-lesser celebrated Saint George’s and William Shakespeare Day. The commemoration of England’s patron saint coinciding with the birth (and death) date of its most celebrated Bard. I wondered, in a sci-fi go back in time to grab a few celebs and bring them back to face a contemporary crisis kind of way, what those two would make of it all?

After a bit of research, I concluded that Shakespeare might have been happy enough – the quote at the top of this piece is his and so are the two below

“I and my bosom must debate awhile, and then I would no other company.”

“I myself am best when least in company.”

Miserable so and so. But I guess a lot of creatives might have some sympathy with such an attitude. That said, its remarkable how many artistic types have complained that the lockdown has coincided with a (rather ironic) lack of productivity. Myself very much included.

Anyway, what of Saint George? His was a trickier attitude to determine. Especially as I got waylaid thinking along the lines of ‘you only get what you ask for’ – after I discovered (thanks to Wikipedia) that:

In 2011, a campaign to make St. George’s Day a public holiday in England began on the UK government’s e-petition website. It received 4,266 signatures, not achieving the 100,000 signatures required before the deadline in August 2012 to qualify for a debate of the matter in the House of Commons.

Hmm, if only 95,744 more people could have been bothered to logon and tick a box… Sometimes it’s hard to be proud.

Further reading revealed:

The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn also promised to make St George’s Day one of four new Bank Holidays in his party’s 2017 election manifesto.

Hmm, maybe if that had been highlighted more during their campaign…

Anyway, what’s not done is not done so back to Saint George – the historical facts were a little dry (borderline boring) so I quickly changed tack and focussed on the myth. A Dragon breathing fire and a princess in peril and a taming then a slaying. You know how it goes. And it didn’t really grab me. And I soon realised this was one of those research projects that was destined to conclude with a notable lack of profundity. And that saddened me. For a moment. But then I grasped for the positives and decided “Oh well, what else would I have been doing?” And such attitude cheered me – surely we should be kind to ourselves in these curious times and avidly avoid self-criticism. After all, tomorrow was another day with nothing in the diary. I would surely do better.

And now I definitely did have something urgent to do – it was rapidly approaching 8pm and it was a Thursday night and so it was communal doorstep applauding time.

I needed to get dressed.

H. B. O'Neill

H. B. O’Neill is a London born writer inspired by the City and its myriad opportunity for comedy, pain, drama and adventure. He is a prize-winning poet and short story writer, a screenwriter, playwright and author. His much-anticipated novel According to Mark is due to be published soon.

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