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LockdownTown Oldham Reloaded – Day 1

I’ve been in lockdown in Oldham since 26th March 2020. I’ve been working from home and barely going out of the house because I am terrified of getting COVID19. It’s been difficult. I love being at home but there are things I miss.

Things that haunt my dreams and my daydreams. Today’s particular sadness was standing on a crowded dancefloor, hands in the air, singing my favourite song and dancing.

Constant reruns of concerts and festivals from before we had to stay both apart torment and fascinate me. My whole social life is arranged around going into the city to see a band with my lover. Drinking and laughing and dancing. Singing on the way home and talking about it for weeks afterwards.

Our lives are by no means empty because we have each other, but we miss it. Now we talk about how long it will be – will it ever be?

Yesterday Oldham was put into a deeper lockdown that says that we cannot meet people outside out households. Yet shops, pubs and restaurants are still open and I see people walking around dressed up. There is no live music. How will we live?

Some people are still going out to eat. Some are still going out to drink. But nothing seems the same. I’ve been to the city once since lockdown to donate blood. I never realised how much I liked to browse until I couldn’t. I had it in my mind that i would look around Debenhams. But when i got to the door a wall of visors stared back at me. People in blue gloves and worried faces wondering if I will be the one.

So this is day 1 reloaded. I didn’t keep a journal at first because I was paralysed. I couldn’t read or write for weeks and it seemed like my life was slipping through my fingers. Now, 5 months later, I am calmer and more accepting that life is very different. But a new kind of emotion has arrived in lockdown town today.

It’s a suspicion that there will never be a ‘new normal’ mixed with a dread about the economic future. A new nervousness about spending even a penny mixed with a fuck it attiude about everything.

It’s Saturday and, yes, I’ve been to Tesco and I’ve cooked steak. I sat in the sunshine with my dog and listened to Joni in my yard. But just outside my door there is a seething undertone about whose fault this is that could erupt at any second.