French Letter


The Slog deals with life’s slings & arrows, but suspects that easing lockdown will give the élite all kinds of problems in its attempt to stifle the reality of Covid19


Yesterday here in France, the first loosening stage of Operation Fear began. I drove, in the hope of stocking a newly created perennial bed, down towards the local garden centre. On the way, I got a puncture. It’s ten years since I had a puncture.

It’s an odd phrase that, in English – “I got a puncture”. Almost is if, like, I stopped by the puncture shop and some bloke with a needle stuck it in my arm. But I don’t want to dwell on the syntax too much, as I know Bill Gates is a firm follower of The Slog and such talk might give him a serious stiffy. Which – at his age – might be something else requiring globally forced vaccination.

Changing a wheel is not as easy as it was. For a start, they’ve made the tyres heavier, the jacks stiffer, the nut screws tighter, moved the ground further away, and increased the power of gravity to deter a person’s ability to rise from back-on-tarmac position to vaguely upright. Also at some point in the last decade, a vindictive goblin crawled under the duvet and injected my knees with sand where the ligament used to be.

But hey – the spare wheel went on. The garden centre was closed, but I went into another shop anyway, purely to enjoy the comprehensively orgasmic experience of walking around a shop that wasn’t selling food, pharmaceuticals, face masks, newspapers or tobacco.

On the way back, I noticed an increasing judder on the steering wheel. I thought ‘Maybe the new wheel needs balancing’…must take it in for a check. As I turned into my local village however, the juddering became more of a hammering. I thought ‘Maybe I need an exorcist’.

What I didn’t think was maybe I have another puncture. I mean, c’mon – tyres hole-free since 2010, and suddenly two holes in one morning? Don’t be silly.

When I exited the car at my place, where the offside wheel had been was now but a mangled tyre only very informally arranged on its rim.

This morning, chum Dave gave me a lift to the car dealership. It had only opened this morning after six weeks in mothballs (most shops here are closed Mondays) and so the owner had a mobile crooked over-shoulder-at-each-ear while his free hand was taking a landline call. The thing that our Boy King Macrony will never grasp is that lifeless tech pays almost no attention to Contrick19 – it continues to fuck up come what may – and so, when mechanics go back to work, the owners bombard the garages with sob-stories. A grease-monkey’s life goes from suspended animation to LSD crowd-rush in a matter of seconds.

In turn, customers loiter at the dealerships while waiting for their cars to be made better. They wander about, face-masks over gob and hooter, and then eventually engage in discussion about what’s what….just as they did before lockdown.

The most striking thing about this badinage was that – in our small-scale research study – nobody had a blood relative anywhere in France who had succumbed to Covid19.

This is entirely borne out by the quantitative stats available for our corner of Haut Agenais: the sum total of cases here is 2 (two) and the death toll is 1 (one). Both sufferers over 80 years old (the deceased was 88, and the person still in intensive care 82) and both caught the virus while abroad.

In the two communes I most frequent, there has been not a single case or death recorded.

Yet the gdp from tourism has been decimated on an unprecedented scale.

We really do need to move away from one-size-fits-all lockdown. More sparsely populated areas – and the businesses largely run by those who have little or nothing to fear from this virus – need to rebuild now…..not in vague futures measured out in months.

As panic measures recede, thousands and then tens of thousands of citizens are going to realise very quickly that lockdown was at best a false alarm, and at worst a set-up of the final stage wherein what cash and assets the 97% have are grabbed by the Gigarich.

Emergency Powers are addictive. The People need to find tactics that will wean the 3% off their incalculably expensive habit.