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COVID 19 From the Sofa

By Alice Wade

You’ve just woken up. You’re immersed in darkness with only a pungent smelling mattress beneath you. You’re ten feet under in an estranged bunker of horror, crumbs are piling and there’s forks all around… With only an increasingly boring internal monologue for company, where is this I hear you ask?

Sorry, no, there’s actually no underground bunker… 10 Cloverfield Lane came out in 2016. We’re four years on and that stench in the air seems, coincidentally, to be coming with every movement of your body. Perhaps, trapped in darkness for weeks without even a bodily rinse is what’s inspired you to wake up? It all sounds suspiciously like a psychological thriller, designed to keep you hysterical for fear of the creepy crawlies in Area 51 braying down your bedroom door one night. But alas, it seems we’ve passed the ninety minutes of screen time and the mood hasn’t changed. Only now, the fantastical world of conspiracy has exceeded beyond the edge of the telly and it’s just outside the window.

With a bombardment of news articles spewing out different information on corona virus every day, it’s hard to stay seated in the sane lane of life. The green light on normality is gaining on us and looking less like a green light and more like an empty bottle of beer with each piece of tabloid speculation. Particularly, following announcements that will see us locked in for at least another three weeks, motivation or god forbid, inspiration, are both becoming as equally vague and speculative. But what’s the remedy to these corona blues?

Researchers are growing increasingly concerned for our mental well-being as people remain trapped in indefinite quarantine. Reports from last year suggest that only around 5.1% of us worked from home and with our habitats shrinking, it’s hard not to feel totally blue when the external world has shrunk to the size of a three-bedroom terrace. Honey I shrunk the … whole country, says a rather knackered looking Boris. Perhaps a further, more terrifying prospect is for those we have been left to isolate alone. Young Minds found that 80% of young people with a history of mental ill health found their conditions have worsened since the coronavirus crisis came to the UK. This feels an unsurprising consequence to the desperate uncertainty that this isolation has brought. Plunged into magnolia coloured padded cells, with the door locked and key thrown away, our Wetherspoons nation was never prepared for this.

Similarly, compared to countries like France and Italy who are issuing a full lock down, it seems we must be obliged to feel grateful for the opportunity to exercise every day. But I would ultimately question how wholeheartedly positive the wake of this home fitness revolution really is. With friends and family casually mooching off for 5km runs and gurus doing luxury squats in their private gyms, it’s a wonder any of us are managing to stomach a movement beyond a heavy exhalation. Without advocating a life of complete sloth, perhaps more can be done to balance the weight of guilt and borderline body shaming alongside the privileges of freedom.

However, I must say, we’re not in a Roman invasion and, despite the rather hairy political dynamic of the 21st century, Trump hasn’t declared a war just yet. We’re watching this historical landmark from the comfort of our very own sofas with exclusive, cinematic views from all around the world, accessible at the touch of a fingerprint. As uninspiring as the sight for the immediate future is, we’re breathing out this horror day by day. If there’s anything we can learn from Orwell (bar an excess of defeatism) it’s that crisis calls for more than crumbling into submission. Cry for creativity and expand your TV screen for an easel or a sheet of blank paper. Ignore the internal cynicism and the frighteningly welcoming arms of depression and insanity and believe, the world has conquered before. Though I can’t claim there is any solid remedy to this ailment, I do believe we can humour ourselves with art and creativity. In this time of desolate loneliness and crippling boredom, I look towards some of my favourite authors, Margaret Atwood and Zadie Smith, in the hope that in the future, we can reflect on this slightly dodgy thriller film, and thank god we kept going, and maybe even made some art along the way.

Image Credit: PA Images from

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