Five Go Mad in Lockdown | whynow

Billy Holmes is not sick, but he isn’t well either…


Stage 1, the girlfriends had moved in. It’s easier that way (according to them), but these are the early days of the London lockdown – it’s a decision we might all seriously regret. As we carefully listened to Boris’ dark words during ‘that’ address, it was abundantly clear we were all in this together now.

Repulsed at the state of our digs we were ordered by our female cast to “sort this shit out quickly”. I observed the sudden pandemonium as if I it was episode 1 of a new millennial Channel 4 sitcom.  As the house was rapidly restored, clangs of dishes and cutlery resonated around our tiny south London home, the whir of a broken hoover providing the backing track.

I observed the sudden pandemonium as if I it was episode 1 of a new millennial Channel 4 sitcom.

“Drugs, what about drugs!” screamed one housemate as he haphazardly nailed our old dart board onto the front of a cupboard.  We soothingly reassured him he would still be able to get drugs somehow in the lockdown, although privately we weren’t too sure.

Being self-employed the majority of our work has abandoned us. There was a brief moment of fear and anxiety before a rousing speech from the oldest member in the household. To put it bluntly we were all fucked, but we had each other.

Stage 2, one form of exercise a day. We woke up like many to a suspiciously hot day in March. It was weird, almost uncalled for. Sitting out in the garden that we’re so lucky to have, we speculated how one could go about exercise that didn’t involve joining the thousands of retired red faced joggers on the pavement. As we began a half-arsed ‘home work-out’ (led by my girlfriend who had just lost her job as a personal trainer), it was blindingly obvious we weren’t prepared for endless sit ups and crunches – it just hurt.

Halfway through this disastrous home work out we soon learnt that the offy was an essential business and will remain open, and soon enough ordering in beers became our essential business. Much like this suspiciously hot day, it felt wrong, we felt guilty. I felt guilty.

As we began a half-arsed ‘home work-out’ it was blindingly obvious we weren’t prepared for endless sit ups and crunches – it just hurt

This was the first Tuesday daytime we had ever spent together and so our financial concerns were put to the side as we relished in each other’s company. Reassurance was the glue holding our conversation together. As we nattered amongst ourselves our gabble was interrupted by the battle shouts of ‘Hiyah!’ and ‘Kiai! – Our neighbours had decided to start a group karate class. We watched as our lovable Romanian neighbours punched and kicked the air, interrupted with brief moments of hysterics between them all.

Stage 3, The lockdown comedown. As the first evening approached it dawned on us that routine was not welcome during a lockdown. Our garden table was now the host of a random collection of items left from each housemate; a pile of niche philosophy books 420cm high, a half-painted sheet of A3, a banana skin and a rusty saw.

No cohesion, no relevance to each other, just an attempt of an alternative existence in lockdown. Our brains now fatigued from a day of confusion, laughter and fear – our bodies slumped over the frames of our sofa. As we started up Peep Show the theme song lyrics cemented in for the first time ever “I’m not sick but I’m not well…”.

Rampa  They Will Be