Spooner on… It’s the end of the world as we know it

spooner 414“But what does it mean, the plague? It’s life, that’s all” – Albert Camus, The Plague.

So, the omni-benevolent, balti-fed, absinthe-tippling gourmand and bon-viveur Lord McKelvey Of That Ilk, Seneschal Of The Western Marches, Grand Master Of The Order Of The Golden Bantam, Viceroy Of The Derided Legions Of Ska-Punk and Habitual Cruet-Thief had commanded me to write something about ‘Working From Home’ for the edification and enlightenment of the substantial and ever-growing readership of Decision Marketing, the United Kingdom’s Premier Digital Publication For The ‘Data Driven Marketing Industry’ – or whatever we’re calling it this week. (Please subscribe>)

But now, WTF!

Everyone knows what WFH is like, as everyone is working from home. So, I thought I would take the opportunity to respond to the current crisis in my usual calm and considered manner. Ahem…


As the Bransons of this world bleat and whine about their profits and Bezos watches his share-price climb ever-higher, as we, the isolated billions, order yet more rubbish (and life’s essentials) from his mega-corporation, we are seeing a radical re-assessment of the “worth’” of the conditions to which we have become both accustomed and inured.

Forget, momentarily, the fact that we may well emerge from this strangeness with different attitudes to the way that that we travel and the things that we eat. Forget the fact that we are radically reevaluating the value of certain sectors of society: the NHS; cleaners; shop-workers; public transport operatives; postal workers; farmers; care-workers; and many, many more. Forget even, the fact that certain privatised manifestations of the state are being swiftly swept back into public administration.

What one can dream is that an awareness of the flimsiness of social structures will throw the disparity between the way that the 1% behave and the lives led and attitudes displayed by honourable people in some of the humblest professions into a stark light– and that this might lead to some kind of radical adjustment.

After all, with normal life suspended, how many of the big corporations are giving anything back?

With mass redundancies in the travel, hospitality, service, leisure, arts and public sectors there will be a huge number of people left with nothing to show for their principled response to the current crisis except a P45 and a massive debt.

Will these people find egregious displays of wealth and privilege quite as ‘instagrammable’ in a few weeks’ time?

It may be idealistic but it’s certainly something to engender a little hope in these peculiar days.

With the all-but complete absence of sport from the world’s media and the, frankly, admirable but ineffectual response of the world’s entertainers to Covid-19, we find ourselves in a situation where the traditional opiates of the people are suddenly withdrawn and the whole world is experiencing the shivers and sweats of cold turkey whether or not they are virus-free.

These may be the perfect conditions for change.

Marx and Engels posited that the mill-towns of C19th England would provide the perfect circumstances for revolutionary action.

But mightn’t we find that this great isolation and the focus that it is bringing to bear on basic human relationships will provoke an equally radical change in the way in which we view our Davos-haunting, yacht-flaunting, sex-pest overlords?

If you can’t visit your grandmother because the care-home is in lockdown, how much more will you value the work of the Romanian mother of two on the zero-hours contract who is cleaning her room and caring for her, at risk to her own life?

This THING may have brought out the worst in many bog-roll hoarding, queue-jumping, ignoramuses – but when 450,000 people volunteer to help the NHS in one day there may be hope for us all.

I am probably stir-crazy and in the grip of cabin-fever, but I am choosing to believe that change is coming and that though things may get even bumpier over the next few weeks, that we have never had a better opportunity to demand a more decent world. I’m not calling it radical socialism because that frightens the horses, but I am calling it COMMON SENSE.

When we emerge blinking into the post-corona summer daylight, perhaps we can focus a little more on the things that matter to all of us: fair pay, job security, education, health and social care – decent lives for our children, our elders, our sick and our poor. If a society is to be judged on how it treats its weakest members, we are currently doing surprisingly well in a Covid-19 world.

Taxing the rich to feed and care for the poor and helpless hardly seems that radical right now.


Oh, and by the way, while considering smashing the plutocracy, you may also care to think of the direct marketing opportunities now available to intelligent clients who recognise that the daily post is now a source of great excitement to millions of self-isolated consumers.

You can contact me at Spoon Creative, on Twitter @spoonbiscuit or via LinkedIn – or I’m sure that Lord McKelvey will pass your messages on to me.

What better time to commission some intelligent brand and marketing consultancy for your business, after all?

Though do bear in mind that any advice may include a commitment to smashing the plutocracy. You have been warned.

Jonathan Spooner is consulting creative director at Spoon Creative

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