Today a group of photographers who have come together around a podcast by Neale James and Kev Mullins were set the challenge of completing a self-portrait using a mirror. That required I pick my camera up early and encouraged me to hobble around the house looking for some means of completing the task. Generally self-portraits aren’t my thing, but I was blown away by some of the responses, so decided to give it a go.
Gwyn received another letter telling her to stay at home in all circumstances, and whilst there are plenty of outdoor spaces on our doorstep, she’s adhering to that advice.
Fortunately we have a garden, and some space to sit out and the weather is helping. Of course it doubles up as the gym slash laundry area too, and the lads have been making the most of that this afternoon, the gym at least.
Gwyn and I have been more focussed on pancake recipes, and this morning it was blueberry pancakes made with almond milk.
As always, all this pleasant stuff is balanced by the awareness of the reasons we’re eating pancakes and working out in the garden, and taking odd photos of ourselves and we’ve had a number of circular conversations now about ‘life after lockdown’ and the balance between work and that other thing called life. I’ve been struck by that opposition for some time now and the revelation that much of what seems essential is not.
Capitalism has always been incredibly inefficient, there’s no society that ‘needs’ different groups of people planning how to market different brands of breakfast cereal in different places. Surely the time for discussion of other futures, of simple support for people to live life enhanced by the freedom to create, without that life having to be ‘balanced’ by work has finally come. Universal basic income would be a starting premise and it appears Spain is discussing this seriously. Imagine a world where people might be freed from designing cereal packets to use their creative ability in the pursuit of authentic expression.
I am grateful to all those working to provide care, food, companionship, solidarity and support to those who are struggling, these are the key workers and always have been. I am also grateful for those who produce the culture that many of us are now consuming to help us understand, reflect upon and make sense of the situation we find ourselves in. I imagine any ‘civilised’ society might afford them the small means they require to live and produce freely.