Notes from the Blunderground
Culture in the time of COVID-19
Hello. I’m here to tell you about a book I wrote last year; a book about lockdown. No, no. Not that book - that was by Laura Dodsworth. Yeah, no… no, that’s not me. Sorry, what I’m trying to say is that I’m not Laura Dodsworth. Is that going to be a problem for anyone? Oh. Really? The only reason you turned up? Right. I see. Well, thanks for popping by anyway. Sorry for any misunderstanding. But do please feel free to hang around and hear a bit more about my own… oh. Er… take care, then; bye bye!
Well, for those of you who’ve decided to stay on a little longer, I’ll be as clear as I can: I’m not Laura Dodsworth, and the book I’m going to be talking to you about is not A State of Fear: How the UK Government weaponised fear during the COVID-19 pandemic. I know, I know. But what can you do? The programmes had already been printed by the time we knew she couldn’t make it. Yeah, a last minute kinda deal. Double booked and she hadn’t realised. TalkRADIO. Again.
Listen, I’m just sorry that you’re sorry.
What’s that? You’ve all read her book, have you? You adore it? Absolutely… er, me too. A terrific book, undoubtedly… yeah, really excellent… or, indeed, as you say, really, really excellent… uh-huh… mm-hmm… no, I couldn’t agree more… it’s great, yeah… uh-huh… no, totally blew me away as well…. a star in the making… so true… yeah, really pleased for her too… oh, so pleased… so, so pleased.
But what say we shelve the topic of Laura Dodsworth’s book just for a moment?
Because, as excellent as it is, I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about my book, Notes from the Blunderground: Culture in the time of COVID-19, and what it was ab…
You haven’t read it? Okay, but you’ve all heard about it though… I mean, you do actually know who I am… don’t you?
Oh. I see.
It’s okay. No, I’m fine. Honestly. Just give me a minute.
It’s just that I’d, er… well, I’d brought some copies with me…. you know, the chapters. From the book I mean. Autographed. I was, ah… hmm… I suppose I thought I might just publish them for you here, for free (initially, at least…), on Substack. I don’t know, I just had this… well, this romantic image, I suppose, of us all getting together to discuss our favourite bits - you know, laughing, joking, stroking my ego. Sort of like a showcase for the modern publishing industry: you were going to fawn over me for my funny yet brave and principled socio-political essays, and I was slowly going to prise a substantial sum of money out of your pockets.
SAGE, Boris Johnson, mandatory vaccinations, medical apartheid, the BBC, the cult of the NHS, the great reset, the Green Agenda, digital currencies, bio-surveillance - there’s nothing I wouldn’t have written about for you, you know. Nothing.
Still. Whatever. I guess it doesn’t matter now, does it? Forget it. It’s not important.
Shall I leave these copies by the door so you can pick them up on your way out, or…? I’m sensing some resistance to that idea. Or… something else…?
Right. I understand.
No, that’s fine. Absolutely fine. Yeah, seriously. It’s all good. Honestly. I’ve brought the car and it’s got a big boot, so please don’t worry. They’ll all fit back in there again no sweat.
So I guess this is goodbye… and yet even though I know that that must be so, neverthless, the salesman in me can’t help but try one last time to nudge you in the direction of the book I was talking about earlier… no, I don’t mean that one. That was, if you recall, the book we’d agreed had been written by Laura Dodsworth. That’s correct, yes.
Laura Dodsworth? Yeah, it’s DODS-WORTH… that’s right, as in, two syllables. One “d.” No, no - not “Doddsworth.” “Dodsworth.” Oh, just ordering another copy on your phone? Excellent. Good for you. Mm-hmm. Yep, still as good as it was when we said so just a few seconds ago. Yep. Absolutely. Oh, the prose style? That was brilliant too, was it? We hadn’t mentioned the prose style had we? Everything else, but not that. I see. Excellent. Uh-huh. Yep. I’ll definitely re-read that bit. Thank you, yes, I’m sure I’ll be able to pick up some tips from her.
But if I could possibly just interrupt, just for a few seconds, and ask you to cast your minds back about a minute or so. Can you remember that other book I was telling you about? The one that hadn’t been written by Laura. That’s right. My book. Do you remember it? The one whose author you’d never heard of and that you’d made sure not to ever waste your time reading?
Yes, well, if you change your mind and decide to give the thing a whirl, just make sure to remember it’s not called A State of Fear: How the UK Government weaponised fear during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sorry? No, I was saying that that’s not my book. My book is call…. Dodsworth? Yeah, as before: just the one “d.” No, as in DODS-WORTH. Dod, one “d”, not Dodd, “Ken Dodd.” Correct. And it’s “Laura,” I believe, not Lara. Uh-huh. Just quickly ordering another copy for a friend, are you? I see. No, no. Please, take your time.
All done? Great.
So, to recall, my book, as I mentioned earlier, is the one called Notes from the Blunderground: Culture in the time of COVID-19. All good bookstores near you are absolutely guaranteed to have a copy. Obviously they’ve all gone bust and had to close thanks to successive lockdowns. But they’ll all have a copy until their respective landlords legally regain access to their premises again, don’t you worry about that. It’ll be perched forlornly on the top shelf of the remainders aisle, its future stretching bleakly before it like some mechanised conveyor belt leading ineluctably to the pulping mill.
Never mind, eh? There’s always Amazon. Have a grumble about it. Huff and puff a bit. Corporate behemoth. Death of the high street. Predatory global capitalism. Blah blah. Whatever you want. Just download your copy, bang another Dodsworth in your basket for all I care, and cough up the old spondulix. Come on. Straight into my pockets, like a good little middle-class pseudo-intellectual. That’s it. Now, take two chapters four times a day. On an empty stomach. May contain nuts. Ask your pharmacist for futher details. Terms and conditions apply. Mind the gap. Failure to provide a positive review may result in all of your homes being repossessed.
Well go on then. Off you pop. That’s your lot. This is a written psychiatric assessment task, not a sixth-form debating session.
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