Blog / 2020

Christopher Fowler
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Great Britain
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How The Trent Became England's Border London is not Britain and Central London is not London; it has always been obvious to me that I lead a rarified life in the middle of what has now become the doughnut hole - London is empty at the centre, dense at the edges. The population is moving out from urban centres to coastal towns, and a good thing too. British resorts are in shocking disrepair after…
30 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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Writing about London is always a pleasure, but I feel increasingly bad about not covering the rest of the country. Here, though, I am at a disadvantage. Nobody in the history of our family, barring my mother's missing relatives, came from anywhere other than central London, so there were no trips to the family homes of other relatives in Hampshire or Shropshire or Devon or East Anglia. They…
48 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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Lockdown has left its mark on many of us. The famous Sunday Times verdict on JG Ballard was 'He doesn't care where he lives because he lives inside his head'. He invited his interviewers to conduct their sessions in the foyer of the Heathrow Hilton. A less conducive place for an intimate chat would be hard to imagine. The author's attitude would have prepared him for the pandemic. When your day…
20 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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The pubs are open in Old London Town for the moment, and they're very quiet - a joy for the drinker, a nightmare for the publican. Workers simply aren't returning to their offices, and that means the central London mental health support services, of which pubs must be the biggest, don't have their custom. Yet it's summer and outside drinking is the norm, so there are plenty of safe spaces to enjoy…
19 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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Yesterday I woke up unable to breathe. The doctor thought I'd caught COVID so I ended up in A&E. After I tested negative for the virus it was decided to look for something else. As the day wore on I underwent a battery of tests. Canulas were fitted, much blood was taken and a CT scan revealed a surprising pre-existing problem exacerbated by my recent health trauma. A specialist was consulted, a…
25 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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HRH likes a tipple, and her choice of poison is of course her own mother's ruin, gin. So it makes perfect sense that the Queen should start selling Buckingham Palace gin, described thusly on the label; 'Lemon, verbena, hawthorn berries and mulberry leaves are among the 12 botanicals hand-picked for the gin in the Gardens at Buckingham Palace, which span 16 hectares and provide a habitat for 30…
45 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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Lockdown is clearly over in people's minds. These are the lovely students of King's Cross living on the BOMAD in sumptuous flats their folks will flip the second they've all finished their degrees in advanced macramé. They're phantom residents as invisible to us as tourists. The stars of the Great Pause have been the enterprising local kids who found ways to keep shops and services running, like…
19 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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The command has come down from on high, against the advice of scientists. We must all rush back to Oxford Street, hurdling the partitions, one-way systems, guards and staff armed with antiseptic sprays to...er, browse for knick-knacks. My mother-in-law in Australia tells me they had near-riots when the shops reopened there, people fighting to get in. The McDonalds branches opened at midnight and…
38 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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I wasn't capable of building models without gluing my eyelids. Like many of my friends, I grew up without a television. My grandmother disapproved of shouting and running on a Sunday, and never bought a TV because she thought it would irradiate the brain and destroy the art of conversation. When she finally succumbed, she hung a cloth over it and put a vase of flowers on the top, as if hoping to…
36 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
Great Britain
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On one level at least, lockdown has not been as awful as I'd imagined. Suddenly there's time to focus and consider what's important, and as Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis pointed out, it had nothing to do with courage or fortitude but decency and respect. The importance of things has reshuffled itself into a new order. Out go fads and fripperies, the luxury of choice, the complaining that…
14 comments

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