- 18 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.
I’m beginning to forget pre-pandemic life. On the 29th of February, I asked my boyfriend to marry me after a lengthy courtship of two months. As an impulsive yet self-conscious person, I was somehow shocked that our decision received a few mixed reviews and I had forgotten the major detail that I had, in fact, not met his parents. This sparked a week or so of crippling anxiety and hair-loss but, hey, I’m impulsive and I’m in love.
All of the above was abruptly plunged into triviality, along with headlines of changing political sentiment and the possibility of a new wave of government leadership. I don’t think any of us will forget Varadkar taking to the national stage, quoting Churchill and triggering such a rapid 180° turn in popular opinion. My generation has never experienced a global emergency, let alone fully imagined a worldwide pandemic – as seen in films like 28 Weeks Later or Soylent Green, rather than our history books.
I’m currently isolating in the Liberties with my partner. A place that’s usually known for its vibrancy and authentic Dublin spirit, now really is like something straight out of a dystopian film. As much as a certain bleakness is attractive to me, it’s not all doom and gloom. If you listen closely, you can hear distant singsongs from the surrounding balconies and the general essence of unity is tangible. It’s also exposed me to new music. I have a proud, fresh appreciation for what I can only guess is some kind of traditional accordion-led polkas (thanks apartment No.26!).
We’ve managed to make quite a nest for ourselves here on Bond Street. What it lacks in windows, it makes up for in a feeling of community and shared experience. There’s also an abundance of time to improve new skills in kitchen-related activity, as evidenced by the distinct lack of flour available for purchase. I feel like I’m a ‘sim’, slowly graduating from an autumn salad to Cobbler and Eggs Machiavellian. I also have a new appreciation of social media. A person on a screen is now as valuable as if they were really there beside you. A night out in the pub has been replaced with a night on Zoom with a few dozen cans and a larger bag of crisps. (There are upsides!).
We’ve found a new way to communicate and connect as a band, minus the old barriers of balancing work schedules and attempting to manipulate time itself. It’s not all easy: on occasion, the days can seem unending, as monotony rears its tedious head. Thoughts of the front-line workers, while mixed with immense pride and admiration, can also stir worry and concern, having family members who are part of these crucial sectors. But a constant source of comfort is music. Old favourites give us stability and the nostalgia of freedom, while new contributions produced by our artists have become more vital than ever before, lifting and unifying us while also memorialising this extraordinary time with purity and authenticity. I want to deeply thank and encourage you all to continue writing, painting, singing, sowing or doing whatever you feel truly expresses you.
Things that seemed so gargantuan and important, issues that seemed to weigh twice that of the world, now pale beside that crucial and deciding component of life: love. Spread love (not germs) as much as possible during this unprecedented period, and take everything one day at a time... which is how I’ll be taking my engagement. Let’s hope it outlasts the pandemic!
Read more Letters From Home in the new Hot Press 'Stay Safe' Emergency Issue – available to buy in shops and order online now.