The Mourning After

The death of Queen Elizabeth II will dominate the headlines and much of public attention in the next few weeks. Doubtless, more think-pieces, op-eds, and columns will try to analyse the national response from any and every conceivable angle. But I wanted to get out this morning and be among the events as they happened.Continue reading “The Mourning After”

Slava Ukraina

I spent about three hours at the demonstration in Whitehall today, joining hundreds of Ukrainians as they protested the Russian invasion. No words can really express the atmosphere: deadly serious in their desperate appeal for help from the international community, passionate in their belief in those defending Kyiv and other cities; but gracious and clear-sightedContinue reading “Slava Ukraina”

Signs of the Times

Without any hard data to back this up, I suspect that one of the few economic beneficaries of the pandemic may be the graphic design and printing sectors. In the last year, we have been confronted with a profusion of signs, placards, stickers, floor decoration and other material intended to remind us of the measuresContinue reading “Signs of the Times”

Feature: Social Distance

As we emerged out of lockdown, one of the striking changes for many was the profusion of signage and other reminders to change one of our most basic instincts – to be close. The change started in February, as we were advised to keep 1m apart (still the WHO standard). But shortly after, government adviceContinue reading “Feature: Social Distance”

Feature: Masks (II)

“Ritual is intimately connected with the mask, either in the wearing that hides the true face, or in the adoption of a public face.” – Subhash Kak, ‘Ritual, Masks and Sacrifice’ (2004) “Masks are boundary objects, mediating between ideas of contamination and con-tainment, purity and pollutions, and life and death. Since the outbreak of COVIDÔÇÉ19,Continue reading “Feature: Masks (II)”

The New Abnormal

We live in a changed world, though we may have hardly moved all year. Our work, our leisure time, our homes and our streets have all been changed by the experience of COVID-19. Some changes are positive – lockdown led me to start getting milk delivered, for example, reducing waste and excess packaging. Although IContinue reading “The New Abnormal”

Feature: Conspiracy

“…foundering halfway between the abyss and the peak, they drifted rather than lived, given up to aimless days and sterile memories, wandering shadows who could only have found strength by resigning themselves to taking root in the soil of their distress.” “Some predictions were based on bizarre calculations involving the number of the year, theContinue reading “Feature: Conspiracy”

Feature: Masked

Of all the features of everyday life affected by COVID-19, none has been more contentious than the wearing of face-masks. Although a recent study by King’s College London (‘Becoming “Covid-Secure”‘) suggests that mask-wearing is becoming more normal and more accepted, there is still a significant proportion of people who are either unconvinced or simply unwillingContinue reading “Feature: Masked”

A trip to the pharmacy, 31 March 2020

31 March 2020 (17:30): I went to get my prescription earlier. Bizarre and stressful. So many people wearing masks and a leaden hush even on Camden High Street. People casting suspicious glances at each other and mostly attempting to make space. Or, as in the case of these two men, pushing past obstacles. I hopeContinue reading “A trip to the pharmacy, 31 March 2020”

Feature: Discarded

The way objects have been left on the pavement has been an interesting and unfortunate side-effect of the pandemic. Scientists are concerned that the growth in use of single-use masks and gloves, in particular, is creating a wave of “Covid-waste”, but I’ve seen hand sanitiser and filters as well. None of these products are biodegradable,Continue reading “Feature: Discarded”