Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The comfort zone

I'm not one generally given to hysteria, but I can't be alone in currently finding the news absolutely fucking terrifying. I can only imagine how horrific it must be for those of you who already suffer from anxiety. It's obviously critical that we try to minimise coronavirus' physical impact on people - but this whole episode must be taking a devastating toll on mental health too.

But enough of that.

On Sunday, Jay Rayner justified continuing to talk about and write reviews of restaurants in the present circumstances, arguing that not only do we desperately need "light relief" but that it's vital to "cheer lead for businesses like these or they won't be there when a semblance of normality returns". What's more, "These are unusual times; there is no space for the negative review".

I was also struck by this tweet: "As the world shuts down and people turn to film, television, music, podcasts, and books for entertainment and comfort and sanity, I hope most take note that we do, in fact, need the arts."

In light of that sentiment, and heeding Rayner's argument, I'm going to be attempting to avoid dwelling on our present predicament and instead to only publish posts that celebrate culture and the arts, starting tomorrow. (Not a dramatic change of direction, admittedly, but making a written commitment feels important.) I'll be doing so not out of an ignorant or frivolous disregard for the seriousness of the situation, but as a way of helping to lift spirits (my own, if no one else's) and simultaneously showing support to all of those whose creative endeavours really make life worth living but whose livelihoods are under severe threat.

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