Ding ding, round two for Super Saturday, which in this latest iteration has given live indoor performances the green light. After five shuttered months, venues can reopen their doors – provided they limit the number of people coming through them, enforce a one-way system and place ticketholders several seats apart.
三级成人视频How many plays lend themselves to dialogue spoken across a two-metre void, or concertos to sections barely able to hear one another? How many fans of live art, of which the mood and moment are everything, want to sit in a half-empty room in mid-August? How many establishments can turn around a ready-made production at the drop of a hat, with the extra whack of Covid-compliance costs and only a fraction of tickets on offer? Few, most probably. Perhaps none at all. For while the Government may perceive this move as a long-awaited lifeline to the arts industry, the reality feels more nefarious; a means of stopping the funding given to businesses unable to open during the Covid crisis and letting them wither away on their own nonexistent dime.
Whether something “can” open now means two things: the possibility, and the reality. As the first Super Saturday has shown, staying closed remains a less depressing way to haemorrhage money for many restaurants and bars than reopening to a handful of visitors. Eat Out to Help Out has managed to pump a little life into the increasingly corpse-like hospitality sector, but not enough to change the fact that numbers of paying customers are way down and layoffs way up. How could the arts industry possibly be immune?
There have been 5,000 theatre job losses in the last month alone; the National Theatre, which has axed 400 employees – casual workers, always first to fall through the cracks – will stage its first socially distant performance in “late October”. A £1.5 billion pot has been promised to museums, theatres and music venues – a drop in the rapidly forming cultural abyss. If the biggest players are struggling to keep their heads above water, there is little chance for anyone else.
A visit to the opera isn’t life or death for the average punter, that much is true. But it is wrong to see what is happening to this sector as remote, or restricted to some kind of artistic elite – this is the same industry that employs the actors and make-up artists and production assistants responsible for the programmes we have spent 40 per cent of our waking lockdown hours watching; levity and succour and sheer diversion have come, often, from what we’ve seen on screen.
Now an industry that was in February contributing almost £13 million to the UK economy every hour – a rate of growth five times higher than the national average – is being rendered increasingly unable to produce the stuff to sate our swollen appetites. Stage and film and TV gigs are often interchangeable, for those in the industry; ditto for the musicians who play with ballets or opera houses, and record soundtracks in studios. With fewer roles, and more restrictions on the ones that do exist, the people responsible for giving us respite when we needed it will be left with nothing. As will we.
三级成人视频Britain’s two million creatives have a lot more to contribute than simply adding to the viewing figures of aged re-runs on TV; a subsidy scheme for live events similar to that being provided to restaurant diners might help, even a little – as would more realistic guidelines for those whose jobs demand being in close quarters, better infrastructure for outdoor performances, more understanding that decimating our cultural future cannot be an option. Few theatres “can” – in the Covid-19 meaning of the word – reopen today, and the Government knows that. Now it must choose to do something about it.
Date night, reptilian style
Britain’s cultural institutions aren’t the only things on the rocks: turtles Cammy and Ernie, stars of Sea Life Manchester, have been finding lockdown a rather troublesome roadblock to their romance. The pair were introduced in 2017 and took to one another immediately, raising hopes that they might breed. Yet over the past few months, Ernie’s advances have been given short shrift by his other half, which has led to his behaving “over amorously” with the rocks lining their tank. The “new normal” grows more concerning by the day.
三级成人视频Staff have put their fallout down to the fact they are “both big show-offs and love the attention they receive from guests”. Now they are trying to help patch things up by introducing socially distant date nights for the hard-headed pair, featuring the libido-revving delights of – obviously – sprouts and cauliflower, and providing tension-lifting shell brushes in the hopes of moving Cammy, whose beau has gone from “her number one playmate and partner in crime to number one annoyance”.
三级成人视频If they aren’t yet rolling this service out to locked-down couples of the non-reptilian kind, they should be.
Opera al desko
三级成人视频For those missing the soothing sounds of jamming printers, excessive keyboard hammering and shrill co-workers, good news: a raft of websites have sprung up to answer all of your general indoor hubbub-based needs. Soundofcolleagues.com and I Miss the Office are just two options providing the charms of “the office noise, without the boss yelling at you” for the two thirds of UK employees yet to return to their desks.
Granted, the working from home soundtrack – upstairs neighbour’s incessant guitar playing, children a couple of gardens across bouncing on their trampoline, errant wildlife in permanent conflict/coitus, the children on the trampoline again (why are they on the trampoline again?) – could do with some drowning out. But beleaguered as the last few months might have made us, I’m crossing my fingers that the album that will come to define this period involves a little more auditory titillation than the whirr of a coffee machine.