During an unproductive trip to a supermarket this morning and chatting with a young person who recognised me, I told her that ‘these are unprecedented times.’ She dwelled on my words and looked concerned as she stared at me and then asked whether I had ever experienced anything like this before?
My turn to stare.
The big news of the day is that school examinations in the UK have been cancelled and that pupils will be awarded qualifications based on their progress to date and their teacher's assessments of them. I would not have fared very well in such circumstances. In my day, our predicted grades by our teachers were a pivotal part of our applications to university. Back then, A-Levels were graded A to E – and then a grade O (a technical fail) and finally, grade F - for fail and not Fantastic as I remember joking about at the time.
My history teacher and I were not like-minded. Dare-I-say-it but we had history. Ahead of my A level examination, he predicted that I would achieve a grade 'O' and unsurprisingly, most universities took a dim view of my application.
I applied to Cambridge University and as yet, I am still waiting to hear back - and so I assume that it’s a no.
But all these years later – I write today in what are very strange times with the Corona virus being the only thing that anyone is discussing.
Certainly, it is calamitous already and very worrying but also strangely galvanising and unifying as well because it is a situation which genuinely affects us all. Some people are more vulnerable but no one is immune and every single person on our planet is affected to some extent.
There is talk of lock downs and hibernation. With the fires in Australia, the floods in the UK and now this blinking virus, idle talk about the apocalypse is not such a surprise.
Rushing back from Dubai, because in March I happened to have a series of great gigs. The sort of month I needed to kick start my year after its sluggish start. But I needn’t have rushed, since ALL these gigs and those in April and beyond have now cancelled.
Essential services only from here-on-in and even though laughter is important and has a role, it is a much funnier comedian than me who would consider his services essential.
People are panicking and suffering from a heightened sense of anxiety.
‘Step aside, please. Professional comedian coming through…’
I daren’t turn on the news for fear of what I might hear next.
And yet, us humans, we quickly adjust to the new normal.
Worries about my income quickly pale against health worries for my family members older than me. Tom’s filming in Germany is halted – which is bad – but he makes it home safely – which is good. But Paddy has a cough and so I can’t visit my elderly mum.
These are truly unprecedented times.
The stock market tanking is bleak for us all but less tangible than people immediately losing their livelihoods. People in the gig economy: café owners, taxi drivers, waiters, restaurateurs… I could go on but you get my point.
Something I hear fairly regularly is that 'I am OKAY' because of my son is Tom Holland.
The presumption being that should this havoc continue for an extended period of time, then my son can cushion my fall.
This is not something I seek or would ever welcome and why I remain busy on my various projects (as well as my gigs) in the hope that one day, one of them will bear fruit – which is a neat link to The Fruit Bowl – my next bullet in the barrel of a gun I am about to fire - at a target which seems a long way off and is that a swirling wind I can feel?
Of course, our levels of anxiety are heightened at this time as we hunker down and wait; vigilant for any of the symptoms which includes a headache – which rather unhelpfully is equally associated with stress.
Spring might be upon us, but few of us feel that we can enjoy it – when we are told to stay home and fret because not even the experts know what is actually ahead.
But whatever becomes of us in the coming weeks and months ahead – Sam and I will produce more podcasts – we might even include other Holland brothers too, since they are available (assuming I can avoid their people, that is) – I have some FB lives planned - and the Brothers Trust have some fun initiatives in the pipeline also – and designed more to harness team spirit than to raise funds, for reasons already mentioned in this post.
I am concluding this post now and more considered readers amongst you, will want to know how I fared in my history exam and whether my teacher’s pessimism was misplaced.
Indeed it was.
This guy couldn't see greatness before him.
I got a D – which is not terribly good and is better explained by my recent Ted talk which I won’t go in to here.
'D' for distracted is how I like to interpret it.
And distracted not by girls – but by comedy.
I never wanted to be a historian and I always wanted to be a comedian.
And now in to my 50’s – it is the only thing that I can realistically do. But what if I can’t? What if my recent blog is right – and I AM TOO OLD!
Which brings me back to that thing I alluded to earlier; the safety net that comes courtesy of my progeny.
But, you see, the thing is… I am a very proud man.
And as such, I am never going to ask for any help.
...if everyone keeps on mentioning this safety net – then there is a high probability that Tom might get the message and weigh in on my behalf.
I am joking btw – which I hope doesn’t need to be stated – but then again, unprecedented isn’t exactly a complicated word…
Expect lots of content from me and the Bros Trust to come – which I hope might be a help to some of you who are looking to be safely distracted.
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