Normally, writing the September edition of this column would be a flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants affair as I would be having to file my copy in the middle of the Edinburgh Fringe. Obviously not this year.
Due to Covid19, this year’s Fringe was cancelled months ago as the whole thing was considered to be a health hazard. Of course, anyone who has ever been to any of the free shows in the festival will be well aware that a number of venues always a health hazard. Audiences crushed close together in places like Cabaret Voltaire or Underbelly would quite frequently voice the fear of what might happen if the place went on fire. Ironically, a fire in any of those rooms this year may have been a good thing, as it would have totally destroyed any traces of Coronavirus on hard surfaces.
In 2019, I did a hundred live gigs in August. In the same month this year, I have done three ‘virtual’ gigs, most of them in the house, in my home office, looking out at the house across the road. That is how I have been doing my comedy since the start of lockdown.
I was doing such a gig back in early April and noticed that the guy across the road was washing his car. The next day, I looked out of the same window and saw the guy across the road washing his car. The following day, I looked out of the same window and observed the same scenario. This went on on a daily basis until the end of June. Every day, I looked out of the window to see the guy across the road washing his car. Day after day, I looked out of the window to see the guy across the road washing his car.
And that to me summed up the utter tedium of lockdown, the desperate lengths to which people would go to alleviate the utter tedium of their daily lives. Namely, that someone would fill in their meaningless days by looking out of a window to look at someone else washing their car.
Like most people, I binge-watched whatever television was available online, but I realised that things were getting out of hand when I found that I had reached series fifteen of Silent Witness, and was envious of the corpse as it appeared to be having a more interesting life that me. In fact, in common with a lot of people, I have suffered periods of depression and harboured suicidal thoughts. Indeed, one of the things that kept me going was the knowledge that I would only get ten people at my funeral.
In case anyone is wondering why the Scottish Government limited numbers of people attending funerals, I can reveal that this had nothing to do with concerns about potential spread of the virus. It was in fact brought in to stop fights, However, anyone who has been to a Scottish wake will know that you can still get a pretty good rammy with only three people in the room.
However, normality is slowly returning. Thankfully, I can now get a haircut at a barber’s shop after four months of cutting my own hair. Doing the haircut was hard but having the haircut chat with myself was harder still. ‘Staying in again this weekend? Going nowhere on holiday this year?’
However, now it seems we are returning to something closer to normality. For example, Scottish football has resumed. Not only that, but normal service was very soon resumed by a number of players behaving live like utter eejits. The actions of the ‘Aberdeen Eight’ and ‘The Celtic One’ threatened the very fragile return of the game. While most of us were not surprised to see professional players behaving like irresponsible children, many were somewhat gobsmacked to discover that the Celtic player in question was not Leigh Griffiths. In fact, like most other Celtic fans, I was amazed to find out that Boli Bolingoli could prove to be an even bigger liability off the pitch this season than he was on the pitch last term.
What form of normality the Scottish Conservatives are returning to is anybody’s guess. After six months of anonymity, The Human Potato with High Blood Pressure otherwise known as Jackson Carlaw came to the sudden revelation that he was utterly shit at the job. How he didn’t realise he was utterly shit at his job six months ago we will never know. What is even more of a mystery is the Tories’ faith in the new leadership. Do they really think that football referee, Douglas Ross (otherwise known as Rangers’ twelfth man), is going to pull it back for them? I think they may have vastly overestimated the masonic vote in Scotland.
Vladimir McTavish may be performing live in a venue near you before the end of 2020. Who knows?