Last week it was announced that Marmite was limiting sales of its divisive spread because aspiring bakers had emptied supermarket shelves of yeast (one of its main ingredients), baking too much bread in lockdown. And that’s not the only blast from the past we’re revisiting in our government-imposed confinement. Sewing has become a pastime so ubiquitous that there is now a prime-time television show – The Great British Sewing Bee – about darning socks and putting patches on jeans. What’s more, the nation’s current pin-up, Joe Wicks, is a gym teacher. If you were worried about it before lockdown, it’s safe to say it’s happened now: Rock ’n’ Roll is dead. The pandemic finally killed it.
It was back in May when I was stuffing handpicked elderflower into a wicker basket that I stopped with horror and asked myself: When did I become so insufferably twee?
I knew something was afoot when, a month into lockdown, I started browsing the Halfords website. Often the first to scoff at goody-two-shoes friends who cycle home in the rain, I now have my own bike. It was back in May when I was stuffing handpicked elderflower into a wicker basket that I stopped with horror and asked myself: When did I become so insufferably twee?
And it isn’t just me: the lockdown has corrupted us all. Wiggle, the online cycling and running retailer has said its bikes sales in the UK had increased by 192% since the beginning of lockdown.
That’s not all. New anti-smoking schemes are running all over the country, in a push called Quit for Covid. Each week a different friend tells me they’ve given up smoking because they are (quite understandably) spooked by the virus. And due to the current party-ban, my social media newsfeed is no longer filled with fabulous outfits and people drunk dancing; instead there is an endless stream of fish pies and peonies. It’s all so tirelessly wholesome.
Gone are the boozy dinners and long forgotten is salacious gossip; without any stories from evenings out to share, my friends and I now chat about the running app Couch to 5k. Setting the world to rights at two in the morning has been replaced by a long walk with the dog, and an afternoon at the pub and a packet of ready salted crisps has become a slow-cooked beef shin ragu cooked in Le Crueset.
My social media newsfeed is no longer filled with fabulous outfits and people drunk dancing; instead there is an endless stream of fish pies and peonies.
Don’t get me wrong, while I can appreciate the merits of healthier lungs, warm ciabatta and waking up without a hangover, there is little that compares to walking into a room wearing a new top with sequins on, nursing sore feet because you danced badly all night, hearing a friend’s laugh as you walk into a party or discovering a new cocktail bar in the early hours on the morning.
It’s the smugness that comes with the tweeness I find so unbearably trying – and I’m guilty of it too. My phone is filled with endless photos of cows in springtime, I’ve given bottles of homemade cordial to friends and my quest to create the perfect pavlova? I’ve talked of little else.
So, as we come out of lockdown and we find ourselves in a world totally different from the one four months ago, can we set some ground rules? Can we leave behind the public exercise regimes? The endless talk about jigsaw puzzles? And please, I beg, can everyone stop talking about sourdough starters?
Katya Edwards is a reporter for the Daily Mail.
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