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I’m not a big going out person. I like a coffee out. And a breakfast. But mostly, most of the time, I’m in.
So lockdown has surprised me. Not with any hardship, there’s no hardship for us, but by the loss of rhythm. I lose where I am in the week. It turns out that I measure out my weeks with the mileposts of a regular breakfast out with friends on Friday, fish and chips on Friday night, coffee out on Saturday morning, Match of the Day (not out) on Saturday night, coffee out on Sunday morning and a bath on Sunday evening (also not out). With these things gone I flounder around in the week like a broken time machine.
And I have no idea when to bath. Government - where’s my bail-out?
I like people who are early to take things seriously. They notice, a bit before everyone else, that some phenomenon isn’t just a fad and is actually worthy of serious attention. Please Like Me does that, paying proper attention to the culture and commerce of influencers.
Exploding Topics is sort of similar. They track emerging things. Not like ‘trend spotters’ but like a trivial early warning system. Their newsletter is bite-sized. No links to long reads. And you feel like you’ve heard about something new.
Here’s an idea that seems appropriate for now, about mediation retreats: “Experienced retreat-goers, it turns out, have a term for this phenomenon. They call it a ‘vipassana vendetta’. In the stillness, tiny irritations become magnified into full-blown hate campaigns..” Oliver Burkeman The Antidote
And people who are good at zooms/hang-outs reminded me of this bit of Olivia Lang: “..she ran the conversation like a world-class tennis player, serving generously, returning every ball.”
Also appropriate for now, some Emily Dickinson: “There is no Frigate like a Book / To take us Lands away”. Though, actually, lately, we’ve been watching a lot of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I like Jürgen Klopp’s sign-off: Please look after yourselves and look out for each other.
(There are 581 of you. In 581 the Emperor Maurice wrote the Strategikon. It’s good that there was an Emperor Maurice.)