- 17 Apr 20
In the Hot Press 'Stay Safe' Emergency Issue, Irish stars and cultural figures pen 'Letters From Home' – offering their personal takes on the COVID-19 crisis.
The hurricane blows. But it blows unevenly through stranger valleys of difference than those we are accustomed to. Me, I don’t have to live in a city. I don’t have to live in a crowded house or flat. I don’t have older people I need to take care of.
There’s a weird distancing. I mean I know some people who have or have had it but came through. But this distant sense of it all being something happening off in the somewhere elsewhere not immediately in front of me leads to a terrible and stupid complacency. Not exactly a certainty that it’s not going to happen to you, but that it’s somehow nothing to do with you at all. Not that you’re immune – but it’s all happening in a place outside these gates here.
There goes that wanker again. Strolling by without his fucking mask. I want to shout “What do you think you’re doing you selfish prick!” But I don’t. So yeah… just come inside. I was outside the door with the missus and kids clapping into the almost dark night. The night echoes with hoots and hollers. It is touching. No it’s moving. From far off, the hallooing and yelps are as much saying “I’m still here”. “It’s me”.
It echoes in waves as each street or neighbourhood cranks up. It becomes a bit competitive. Someone let’s off a banger and the rooks already settled for the night rise startled in a flurry of black flight. A car horn beeps. Just the once. Out of respect. There is a sense of, well... celebration. Of a great venting. Of a minutes release from the unbearable cooped-upness of being. Of an intuited and inchoate understanding that the imprisonment of the self is unrelieved by only the approximate society of the web and dull alternative amusements of the streaming platforms and their feeble terrestrial antecedent tellys.
We need the physical other of society. We need each other. And so, yes, we clap out of gratitude for the heroic doctors, nurses and staffs, but we also, standing on our doorsteps and balconies and gardens clap for ourselves and the pure, freshly realised joy that we are alive and that in this strangest of times we are at least alone together.
• The Boomtown Rats’ album Citizens of Boomtown is out now.
Read more Letters From Home in the new Hot Press 'Stay Safe' Emergency Issue – available to buy in shops and order online now.