When I read about somebody with millions of followers on Twitter or something, I think it’s just a modern take on public relations – whether it’s Jim the Twister physio or the real Donald Trump if there is such a thing, the Big Orange Nightmare. So when annalog likes climbed to 100, I was excited. But the figure now stands at 160 and I have just done a jig in the garden. Thank you, all of you, all those who have written and all those who have read annalog.
It was agreed from the beginning that annalog would be as it is – no PR, no social media, stand or fall. The other day, when I was talking to Bunslove (sweet toothed friend) he remarked “there was nowhere for people to talk.” A couple of days later, another quite different person echoed him. And AZO (All Zoomed Out) appears to a coming indisposition, if not quite a mental problem. (Am I the only person who finds this terminology oddly dated – like the Victorians covering piano legs with frills in case “nice” women were embarrassed ?)
The need to talk is not met by annalog, well only somewhat, tone rather than talk, aided and abetted by those who want to read something that sounds as if it comes from a person not a committee. We’d do better on radio but then beggars can’t be choosers. And no, not podcasts, because that still wouldn’t offer the one thing that is invaluable and that is exchange.
Podcast is like mobile phones, everybody’s doing it, but that doesn’t make it right or good – it just means that’s what is available. And this morning I read my first “chip” at The Times podcasts (which I have never listened to) but I bet it’s right – the inability to pause and punctuate.
The numbers and the desperate need to mark this up as better or bigger or higher or more fabulous than that get in the way. What we need is contact and contact at this Covid moment is in short supply.
I don’t think it would fix everything. I think Covid has frightened the bejasus out of a lot of us in quite a subliminal way which many of us would prefer to deny or dismiss, but significant numbers have just begun to face as evidence of the outcome, as surely as antibodies and not quite tested enough vaccines. We’ve always said man was a social animal. It is now increasingly difficult to put together notions of sociability and safety.
Safety is like beauty – it is in the eye of the beholder. There is currently a big soft dark dry stain in the corner of my bedroom which is under the terrace of the upstairs flat. It is possible that some moisture has got through the skin between the floor of the terrace and my roof. It is possible that I have been the recipient of unexpected muck via the airbrick in that corner, though I do clean, honest I do. What is sure – rather than possible – is how unsafe this makes me feel.
I imagine the roof falling in, a row with the owner to obtain repair, the expense of redecoration – and then I think of 300,000 people homeless on the streets of Beirut, many more on the streets of the United States – with a desperate lack of basic sanitation which will lead to infection in short order. I think of migrants trying to cross the Channel from France in the belief that the UK will be better. And how badly that is being dealt with. I think of children separated from parents, I think of the falling away of all that was known in the desperate desire to escape from all that is dangerous. That safety isn’t my safety. I am shamed.
One of the reasons I so loved Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me is because the writer sees her job as a teacher to find language again for kids who have been silenced by terrible events. Language doesn’t feed you or put a roof over your head (even one with a questionable stain) but it does give you some aspects of yourself. And without a sense of self you can’t fight loneliness,ill health, unemployment, homelessness, loss and the massive change all around us.