We are now at the end of week 2 of lockdown. And we are ready to start the Easter break? That sounds and feels very strange. I can’t quite get the ‘end of a long term, time to relax’ vibe going.
There has been loads of stuff online and in social media this week designed to help us all cope with this very strange situation. At TRC, we’ve talked a lot over the recent years about mental health and well-being. Hopefully this will have prepared us all, as a community, and the wider student body to recognise that we do need to look after ourselves and, when we need help, that there are ways and means of accessing that help.
Some of the really good stuff out there has been that support we all might need in managing the different ways and locations which we now are required to spend our days. It’s been useful to read posts about setting and establishing routines and the like.
The online and social media world can be disorientating and dangerous too. I really do hope you are managing to sort the true from the untrue, the real from the unreal and that you are accessing substantiated facts rather than conjecture or down right lies. It’s hard, I know. We all find our own sources but mostly (and maybe this says something about my age) I rely on the BBC – a dose of the Today programme early, a couple of looks at the BBC news website and the 10 o’clock news – it seems any more than that is too much, for me at least. I am aware of people who are taking the approach that there is nothing left to hear and so are switching off all together – that’s what they say and then I see that they are very active on the social media sites. And there are the others who are almost 24 hours news gannets – this group seem, too often, to get themselves into a doom whirlpool and can find / see no way out.
The thing about the Principal’s blog is that you can choose to read this or just press delete – it really isn’t mandatory. I really do know and accept that many of you won’t be that bothered but I did commit to revealing something of myself – a window into my world. And so in the words of Jesse (from the Fast Show), this week I have been mostly… ploughing on with the Spanish – and I am so pleased to have the link to Linguistica (I needed to ditch the Michel Thomas discs), you’ll have seen my first ever attempt at a fruit cake – it’s all gone now I’m afraid and I’m using the hour a day when we are allowed out to run and run and run – plodding rather than racing.
The days and weeks will pass. This will pass. Let’s all try to do what is right, what is required of us and make the most of lockdown.
‘History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.’ Maya Angelou
As I’d committed to revealing a little of myself you’ll have got that I have a strange penchant for British comedy and sitcoms, from an earlier age. Comedy connections over the next few weeks.
Last week it was the apex of radio comedy: Hancock’s Half Hour. This week Steptoe and Son. The writers of Hancock (Ray Galton and Alan Simpson) were sacked by an increasingly paranoid and fragile Tony Hancock. Tony’s career didn’t survive this petulant act and he suffered greatly with his mental health. Galton and Simpson were given a free run by the BBC. Steptoe and Son emerged. Great British sitcoms must have discomfort, some pain, characters mildly grotesque but strangely real and familiar and, they must above all else, have characters who are trapped – trapped by their location, their family, their associates, their situation, their lives.
This is a classic episode of Steptoe and Son. Usually the episodes were two headers. This brings in two other characters and allows Albert and Harold to see their lives through the eyes of others. Interestingly (if you’re me, that is) this is the second time Leonard Rossiter played a character in this sitcom – in 1964 he’d played a shifty welsh character in The Lead Man Cometh. This episode, The Desperate Hours, is from 1972.