The rich in our society have shown their true colours | Matt Mohan-Hickson
‘When the poor shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.’I’ve been thinking about this phrase, which is said to have been coined by the philosopher Rousseau, a lot in recent weeks.
It first bubbled up into my sub-consciousness when the video of celebrities filmed themselves butchering a cover of Imagine by John Lennon from the safety of their mansions. My first objection, of course, being the woeful John Lennon song choice – Working Class Hero is an infinitely better song.
But my main quibble was there are surely far better ways for celebrities to show that we are ‘all in this together’, like giving food so schools can continue to provide free school meals, instead of torturing our ears.
If that had been the only transgression by the rich and famous – and if I wasn’t cooped up indoors like a battery chicken – I probably would be feeling less revolutionary right now. But alas throughout the crisis it has felt like the money men have been taking turns at cosplaying Dickensian villains.
There is the multi-millionaire owner of Wetherspoons pub chain, Tim Martin, saying he would not pay his staff until the government job retention scheme kicks in at the end of April – while also refusing to pay his suppliers. While Mike Ashley tried to keep Sports Direct open because they are ‘essential’ and then hiking prices on some items by 50 per cent after U-turning. And perhaps the most egregious of all, billionaire Richard Branson – who is so rich he owns an actual island – demanding the government bail out Virgin Atlantic, instead of reaching into his own pocket.
All of which is happening while many of us plebeians are having our salaries cut or even our jobs slashed.
After the Black Death ravaged Britain in the 14th century, the peasants rose up during the summer of 1381 in a bid to overthrow the system of serfdom that kept them in unfree labour.
If the working classes who have been on the front lines of the pandemic are struggling to put food on the table while subsidising billionaires, maybe it is time to think about eating the rich. Metaphorically, of course – I’m not sure one billionaire would feed the nation.
Does time exist? Is everyday morphing into one period?
Nine Inch Nails has a song called Every Day is Exactly the Same, if you’ve ever watched the film Wanted you might recognise it.
It features the lyrics ‘I believe I can see the future, Cos I repeat the same routine’ which has begun to feel ever more relevant the longer the lockdown has gone on.
I wake up, do work, have lunch, finish work, work out or go for a walk, watch some TV and then repeat. I’ve even found myself having the exact same conversation with one of my housemates three or four times now.
If this is what life is like after a couple of weeks of lockdown, what will the future hold? Oh wait, I know it’ll just be the same routine over and over again.
I love watching good shows, but it’s better with people
Netflix, Amazon Prime and iPlayer all have a vast variety of options to suit whatever your personal taste is.
All of which means that it isn’t often that we collectively watch shows together.
However in an unplanned turn of events, I found myself working through the third season of Attack on Titan together with the majority of my housemates.
For more than a week we would sit down together and watch a couple of episodes.
We would share theories about which characters would survive and which we expected not to make it to the season finale. Despite the show’s grim tone, the communal feel of watching it together provided a brief respite from the gloom of the lockdown.