Episode Eight of #CargoOfBricks is with the Dublin born, London based commentator on both Irish and British politics, and crime writer. Initially, Ruth started as a lockdown sceptic, so I asked how she had managed what was probably the oddest period of disruption in our post-war lives, and what changed during the lockdown, for her and for the rest of us…
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In a free-flowing conversation, she talks about…
- Although she began defiantly anti lockdown, ‘when the orders came’ she quickly complied. Then, it seemed to her, the world expanded with people who knew exactly what the right answer to Covid was, in contrast to her own growing sense of ‘not knowing’ and which quickly enveloped most European governments, including the UK and Ireland.
- On her daily walk, she began to learn poetry, starting with Davies’ classic lines. Slowing down was the main theme. In St James’ Park she became engrossed in the antics of the wildfowl. In an otherwise empty London, people smiled and became locals often for the first time. It was a reemergence of community where life had been too busy to ‘stop and stare’.
- The shrillness of the media commentary and her normal life, “filled with politics, and ‘now’ and urgency and rush” began to drop away. Newsflows ground their gears in neutral. Confronted with genuine complexity and not actually knowing, she watched the media get more hysterical and gotcha journalism. She was drawn to podcasts on bigger and unexpected themes.
She tells us about bumping into the first Black Lives Matter protest in London and the sheer joy in the young protestors at being together in a just cause and reflects on how the lockdown has been stealing our quality of life and storing up mental health. issues.
So that’s that. See you next week when I will be talking to retired publisher and gentleman of leisure, Barry McIlheney when we’ll be talking about his journey from Belfast’s punk scene to the centre of London’s pop culture.
You can subscribe to Cargo of Bricks, Slugger TV, and our other podcasts on Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts or Spotify, where you can also catch up on previous Covid related episodes with the likes of Ian Parsley, Graham Brownlow and Tina McKenzie.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty