At the age of seven, Ian Dury – the future front-runner of legendary punk and new-wave UK rock bank called “The Blockheads” – contracted polio from a swimming pool at Southend-on-Sea during the 1949 polio epidemic. This led to the paralysis and withering of his left leg, left arm and left shoulder.
Ian said: “there are a couple of ways to avoid death – one is to be magnificent”.
Ian’s story is one of bravery as a young boy, and of winning with the requisite amount of insanity against all the unimaginable odds stacked against him. He had balls, charm, chutzpah, simply did not give a f**k, and raged fearlessly on to become a rock legend.
How does one be magnificent?
An artists’ agent told me this past week that creative people are really suffering now more than ever. I would have thought that being locked away indoors for three weeks solid would be the perfect hunker-down chance to write lyrics, poetry, to paint and sculpt, to think up plots and plans for novels and screenplays, to write opera scores, to create FFS. Even to plan a series of serial killings of your most loathsome neighbours when you get out on the other side. African Idi Amin and Charles Taylor style leaders in South Sudan, the Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia and Liberia should be putting the final planning master-stroke touches to their imminent post-corona genocides.
But back to our suburban real-world – and let’s be perfectly honest – I mean after your hundredth Pornhub video, it does become a bit boring.
But what is really so different now than before the lockdown – you can still, and now with the perfect defence to your partner, be endlessly on your phone trawling through WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram nothingnessness.
What are all the D-list-death-deserving-celebrities doing right now – can’t some TV studio creative genius come up with some “corona big brother show” where the gasping for air corona infected contestants have to endure three weeks of living and dying with themselves? Imagine if we watched an asphyxiating Ferdi take a dump in the garden using facetime as his camera device streamed out to 57 million South African viewers – would he still be in line to win the one million bucks for that rote bodily function which 7.8bn people on the planet can do?
I cannot see the problem of staying at home for another three years.
What can’t I do now – hmmmm let’s see now – I cannot leave the house for a week at a time when I argue with my wife; and I definitely cannot use the excuse of “I’m just popping out to get a bottle of milk”, and then come back a week later, after having spent a week wearing my dressing gown dancing on some Grabouw Vortex trance-party dance floor in the apple orchards next to an Alsatian dog and a 55 year old woman holding a 3-month-old baby at 6am in the morning head-bopping to some repetitive techno jungle beat out of my mind on 100% pure MDMA; I can’t drive to the gym; I can’t eat in a restaurant; I can’t cough and splutter my guts out in a full cinema in this chronic constant coughing-fit I inherited from my late dad; and I cannot get close enough to punch some Jewish old bag yenta in the face in the Garden’s Centre Woolies as we wrestle over the last R 500-for-four packet of Spanish avocados.
But what I still can do – is put things in place to be magnificent – and that is exactly what I am going to be doing every godforsaken second of this lockdown, and I think I’ll start with climbing onto a three-foot step ladder to pick the highest juiciest fruit on my twenty-foot lemon tree, wearing nothing but 12″ stiletto heels and a Joseph’s technicolour push-up bra.
Barry Varkel, an attorney of the High Court of South Africa and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
Author of Nigiri Law and Goy Vey
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