The UK is currently in a 'second lockdown'. What this means in practice is: you can still go out freely and meet people outdoors (the rules on this are complex; nobody really follows them) but most of the shops are shut. You can go to a supermarket, or to a garden centre, or to a kitchen fitter. But you can't go to a bookshop. For some reason the local dog grooming salon down the road from my house is open and doing a roaring trade; the hair salons and barbers are all closed. (One aspect of British culture has not changed: dogs are still more important than people.) Parks and beaches are thronged with families enjoying the fresh air, even in the frigidity of November, because there's fuck all else to do. What has been achieved by the government can be summarised as: few of the purported public health benefits of 'locking down', but most of the economic costs.
Richard Condon once said it was useless to try to understand the motives of the kind of people who seek and attain high public office. You might as well try to understand the motives of reptiles or space aliens. They want power. That is all you need to know.
Walking to work through the centre of town each morning, I see people queuing at banks or at coffee shops, or simply wandering aimlessly about in the desolate ruin of what was once a society. This puts one in mind of running a post-apocalyptic game. Not Gamma World exactly; maybe more like something along the lines of Escape from New York but you can still go to Pret or Starbucks.
My walk takes me through the main shopping street and then over a motorway bridge to my office - a deserted wasteland of empty cathedrals of commerce. Technically I'm supposed to be 'working from home' and can only go in with special permission; there are about a dozen of us, myself and some colleagues, who worked out back in October that nobody bothers to verify this and our keycards still get us in the building. We prefer to go in physically rather than 'live at work'. These are my band of brothers and sisters; these are the kind of person you would want beside you in the trenches. Now, one feels like running Cyberpunk 2020.
When the day is done, after hours sitting in the eerie peace that descends on an office building when there are about three occupants per floor, I know instead that what I really want is to run a game of Traveller, or Stars Without Number, or a Thousand Suns. To imagine what it was like to be free, to travel, to explore; how it was to live my life on my own terms, to take responsibility for my own conduct and my own goals, and to accept death and risk as the consequences of life truly lived. To imagine liberty.