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Fashion

'People are panic-buying cocaine': the drug dealer, spaceman, therapist and others on life after coronavirus


The Nasa astronaut

Chris Cassidy, the next spaceman to launch, won’t get a sendoff

At Star City, a small community outside Moscow city centre, we are in the final weeks of quarantine, leading up to launch to the International Space Station on 9 April, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. My two crewmates and I will spend six months on the ISS, coming home around October.

We are all trying to navigate the uncertainty. The quarantine has been largely the same as usual: as a crew, we still keep our distance, and I am relatively isolated in my living quarters. The difference now is that other people are doing the same.

To my knowledge, there has never been any sickness on the space station. It would be unprecedented to have a virus like this on board. We have lots of medicine, but there is no vaccine. It would be something significant to deal with.

The biggest change for me is that my friends and family won’t be at the launch. Nor the US support team and operational group. It will be kind of quiet.

The other difference will be when I call my wife and family from the space station. We’ll be talking a lot about how things have changed since I left: can you move around, are your plans cancelled? I think I’ll be asking more questions about their lives than they are asking about mine in space.
Sam Wollaston

The psychoanalytic psychotherapist

Therapy can go deeper on the phone

I am self-isolating because of my age – I’m over 70 – and last week began to offer patients telephone or Skype sessions, with email access in between. This way of working is a huge change from being face-to-face or on the couch in a consulting room – a lot of visual and bodily communication is lost. Normally, as soon as I open the door, I get a sense of how the patient is feeling that day. Over the phone it’s more difficult, but I can hear something in the tone of voice. Not all the indicators are lost. Silences carry a different weight and patients are saying more than they might if we were actually in the room – I suspect I am, too.

New themes are emerging around the possibility of loss, particularly not being able to see family for some time, and there’s a huge sense of anxiety, which most of the population is probably feeling. People are having to think very carefully about their own autonomy: who am I? What do I do here? Who will be there for me? Who can I be there for? Of course, the conflicts patients brought to therapy beforehand will remain or intensify with isolation or illness. There will also be some creativity and resourcefulness emerging.

I am more acutely aware of the discrepancy between those who can and can’t afford therapy. For those whose financial circumstances are hugely impacted, I have substantially reduced my fees – I don’t want anybody to stop having therapy because they can’t afford it. What I’d suggest to people who can’t, particularly those feeling very anxious, is to set up phone calls with one or two trusted people to share feelings and listen. SdeR

The illustrator’s take: Igor Bastidas

Illustrator Igor Bastidas

A Venezuelan artist living in New York, whose illustration appears at the top of this piece, Bastidas says: ‘In the midst of this collapse, New Yorkers and the rest of the world are looking out for each other. Maybe when this is over, we will have a whole new perspective on the things we have in common.’

The drug dealer

Some people are panic-buying cocaine

I sell cannabis and cocaine to suppliers in the north of England. I have around 20 guys on the street, with approximately 200 regular customers. We have two main concerns now: sourcing drugs and getting enough money. We expect no more cocaine shipments from abroad for the next six weeks, so prices have shot up. I’m maintaining the same prices I’ve always charged but I’m concerned that, when stock begins to run low, people higher up the chain will charge more or cut the cocaine and decrease its quality. People are panicking – the amounts of cannabis they’re buying is ridiculous – so we are just dealing to regulars now. I’ve told my workers to be strict with what they sell and who to, but they aren’t changing their behaviour much, other than offering to post through letterboxes and accept bank transfers from trusted customers. People running out of money is a big concern, but we’ll always have the regular cokeheads who buy most days.

I’ve been doing this for 12 years and don’t have any dependants – other than sometimes helping my parents out with bits of cash – so I’m not financially worried. My biggest concern is handling money. I’ve been wearing gloves. DH

The City trader

You can’t trade millions while your child is screaming for hot milk

A trader’s life is stressful enough: your work is high frequency, intense and filled with risk. No one wants to screw up and lose a bunch of money for their firm.

We’ve been tracking coronavirus for months, but no one thought it would get as bad as in China. So when we heard we’d either have to relocate to a disaster recovery site, away from our offices, or set up a trading desk at home, we were shocked.

The idea of a disaster recovery site came about after 9/11. The idea was that major investment banks needed to have a building away from their offices so they could keep functioning in an emergency. Goldman Sachs has offices in Croydon; Barclays is in Northolt; JP Morgan in Basingstoke. But they were created as a solution to a terrorist attack, not to a pandemic. In a London lockdown, some traders will struggle to make it to these sites.

Working from home brings a lot of problems. Traders tend not to have four screens on their kitchen table, nor recorded lines to make sure we don’t break compliance procedures. Plus I have kids. You can’t expect to trade millions with a child next door screaming for hot milk. Much of trading involves making fast decisions. We’re struggling through what will probably be the toughest time in our career, and we’re worried about patchy wifi and that our kids will be slowing down the connection by watching a streaming service.

Everyone’s trying to keep their spirits up, with funny photos of people’s home setup – I saw a Persian cat sitting in front of someone’s screens, looking like a trader. But this disruption will affect our ability to get the economy back on its feet, at what may be a defining moment in our lives.

The illustrator’s take: Yang Sio Maan

Illustration of people wearing face masks exercising in a park, with tower blocks behind and cars on the road



Illustration: Yang Sio Maan/The Guardian

Head shot of illustrator Yang Sio Maan

Yang, who is based in Macau, southern China, says, ‘This is the most densely populated region in the world. Since the outbreak in late January, most people have been working from home. But while the streets and malls are a ghost town, Coloane island has never been so crowded. This is the lung of the city, covered in hiking trails, and at the weekend, the traffic gets backed up. People exercise wearing surgical masks: jogging, hiking, yoga, or simply absorbing some vitamin D after another week in quarantine.’

On not touching Dad, by Tom Lamont

Hugging was really great

A couple of weekends ago, for the first time since the 90s, when I was a shoegaze-addled teen who thought misanthropy was quite sophisticated, I waved hello to my dad. He is 75 now. Never one to take more than his share of anything in the past, he’s recently started stockpiling underlying health conditions, and this puts him among the 30 million vulnerable and/or elderly people in the UK who’ll be getting some coronavirus clearing room for the foreseeable future, whether any of us like it or not. I warned him on the way in: “I’m only going to wave, Pa! From the other side of the room!” Overdoing it, making light of it, first with the chorus dancer’s jazz hands, then with the big, all-arm, side-to-side motion, as if I was a gameshow contestant encouraged to say hi to a parent watching at home.

It felt about as silly and contrived as a gameshow, greeting him this way. Not hugging your dad? We chuckled it off at the time. We settled, on different sofas, into our usual routine of company and snacks. I felt weirdly agitated, as if I’d left something unfinished – like when you keep one hand out of bath water, to hold a magazine or a phone, and the rest of your body seems to nag at you: “Submerge the other hand, Tom. Submerge the bloody hand!”

I come from a family that, for the most part, could be defined as Way-Tactile Jew. We kiss each other. We hug. We really get in there. I am not by nature overfamiliar, but this tactility when saying hello is hardwired in me. It has led to more than my share of greetings errors with men who vaguely resemble my father or grandfather, yet who don’t, weirdly, relish the full bear hug on a first encounter.

Maybe for this reason I’ve always been interested in how, physically, we say hello. A couple of years ago, I wrote a story for this magazine on the subject, interviewing dozens of people about their own habits. There was a lot of contradiction, between generations and genders and cultures. Hand slaps. Fist bumps. “A curt nod and a please-move-on-now look.” The one- or two-arm hug. Chaos, someone called it. An 80-year-old told me she was tired of it all. Why couldn’t we just choose a few blanket rules and stick to them?

Coronavirus has given us those rules. Strangers get a wide berth – the government-mandated two metres – so that now we slalom the pavements to get to the supermarket, avoiding accidental incursions by anyone travelling the other way.

Among friends and relatives, the transition has been the hardest. For a while (until about 10 days ago, at the time of writing), the hugging and kissing carried on with a kind of fuck-you heedlessness. No global pandemic was about to stop us grabbing a bezzie around the shoulder, or giving Mum a peck on either cheek. Then, with a creeping sense of the seriousness of things (seven days ago? six?), there was a period of honest forgetfulness. People would smash a wet one on you and then touch their foreheads, remembering. Horribly quickly it became unthinkable. Kissing would be like punching somebody in the mouth. No more arm-squeezes, no wrist-grabs. So there I was, in my parents’ living room, with my back against the wall, waving. “HOW ARE YOU OVER THERE?”

By the end of the visit, I had realised how much we used to communicate around the edges of our talk. You can tease – but without the fond finger-jab on the shoulder, teasing registers as mean. You can suggest a hot drink – but without the palm on the thigh, to mean, “I know you like one around now”, this may as well be the offer of a well-intentioned stranger. There was that sense of something half-done, and when it was time to say goodbye, this feeling clarified into a more fundamental one of abandonment. My dad knew why I was waving at him as if he were a distant parade float. I knew why. This didn’t change the fact that a wave was inadequate.

I worry that when this is over, we’ll all have been reprogrammed not to touch, to fear proximity. I worry that the self-conscious elbow bump will become the standard, and that entering a stranger’s two-metre exclusion zone will for ever be considered uncool. I worry that we’ll never rid ourselves of the sense, bedding deeper as I write, that to do the most natural thing in the world and embrace someone elderly and ailing and who we love might only be to hurry them on their way.

The Guardian magazine model

Winston will miss being in the Guardian’s All Ages fashion shoots

All Ages model Winston



‘All Ages is like a family. ‘ Photograph: David Newby/The Guardian

I started modelling when I was 73. I’m 83 now, though people tell me I look 56. I was introduced to modelling by chance, by my neighbour Lydia, and I’ve been lucky. Coxy, my agent, says: ‘‘There is something in your face that people like.” I’ve been a regular in All Ages for four years, and I’ve worked all over the world.

I’ve had five shoots cancelled so far. All Ages is suspended after this week because we need to self-isolate; work trips to Romania, Sweden and Nigeria have been called off. I was supposed to play a dead body in a film shoot in Germany; that’s off. I’m lucky that, as a retired engineer, modelling isn’t my only source of income. I don’t know what the future holds, but I don’t have too many worries. The one thing I will miss is the company of the Guardian team: All Ages is like a family.

A friend told me I am supposed to stay indoors now, but I do go out, just to shop. I live alone and my daughter comes at weekends to check that Daddy is OK. I’m very cautious. I wash my hands and use Dettol. If I saw a person coughing on the bus, I would stay far away.

Touch wood, I’ve always been lucky health-wise. I eat a strict diet; I like green tea, cabbage, chicken, wild salmon. I’ve been weightlifting since I was 15. In 1997 we extended our garage and put barbells in there, so I can exercise at home.

I saw people fighting over toilet paper on the news. To me that is selfishness, though I’m lucky again there: in the 80s, I bought a dozen packets of toilet paper in a cash and carry, and I’m still getting through them now. HM

The life-drawing model

Getting naked in a stranger’s living room can be cosy

I’m an actor, but like most I am often between roles. I started life modelling as a way to earn extra money and it’s been a good source of income. When coronavirus started limiting public gatherings, I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to model any more, just as theatres were closing and acting work was drying up. But one of the drawing clubs I model for, All The Young Nudes, has begun running a livestreamed class and they asked me to model for the first one.

We did it at an organiser’s home. Sometimes these sessions are cold and uncomfortable – you have to sit on a plastic chair – so it was nice being in a warm room with a fire and a couch. There was a camera operator there to set up the technical side. Around 100 artists then paid £4 (a normal session is £6) to get a link to the private stream, for two hours.

It might seem strange to watch a livestream when you could just draw from a picture, but all the artists I’ve spoken to say that, psychologically, it’s a very different practice: you’re responding to something in the moment (often poses are held for only five minutes) and you’re time-limited. It makes people draw differently, and it still felt like a drawing club because there was an online chat with some discussion of the works, which people posted on social media afterwards.

For me, the only thing the technology changed was that there was a lag on the camera. So sometimes when I changed pose I’d glance at the monitor and see how I’d looked. It made me remember: life drawing poses are not meant to be flattering. And at moments it felt strange, in the way that being alone and naked in someone else’s living room would.

I’m aware livestreaming is more open to abuse than live sessions: someone could be screenshotting me, or they might be at home wanking. It’s important I am not recognised as a model in other areas of my life, and there’s a greater risk of that happening online. I’m placing a lot of trust in the artists. Sam Wolfson

The IndyCar racer

Felix Rosenqvist finds a virtual car race is sweatier than a real one

I was in Florida for the start of the IndyCar Series when they cancelled the whole thing. Two days later, back home in Indianapolis, I put on shorts and socks – no shoes – and got into my racing simulator in my little man cave. Most pros now practise in simulators before each race weekend. It’s a whole business: companies scan tracks and sell them to teams who integrate them into their simulators. I got mine so I could mess around in winter; it’s got a racing seat and pedals, and a 49in screen.

A lot of pros are on iRacing, an online simulation game where you get matched against people with the same rating. I use it a bit, and sometimes I’ll get tagged in an Instagram post: “Oh, Felix Rosenqvist just drove into me!” It’s a pretty cool way for fans to engage with racers, though the best gamers always beat us. It kind of lowers your self-confidence, but it’s different because they don’t need to be brave.

After the Formula One season also got suspended because of the pandemic, a company called Torque Esports organised an all-star e-racing battle. They invited pro gamers as well as pro racing drivers from IndyCar and F1 to compete, including Max Verstappen and Nelson Piquet Jr.

About 70,000 viewers watched the battle stream live. I got to the final and started 12th but finished 7th and was the best driver. It’s weird: I sweated more in that race than I do on the track, because I was concentrating and squeezing the wheel so hard. I was done for the day. Real driving will always be my priority, but this is something new, and these strange times will put it on the radar. SU

The illustrator’s take: Rebecca Hendin

Illustration of woman in blue-tinted room sitting looking out of window with pink flowers and leaves outside it



Illustration: Rebecca Hendin/The Guardian

Headshot of illustrator Rebecca Hendin

The London-based American illustrator and animator, who won 2019’s political cartoon of the year award, says, ‘I wanted to focus on the dichotomy of the horrific news, and the world outside. I’ve been self-isolating, watching through a window with no small amount of sadness as spring comes, and people continue to live their lives. It feels bittersweet at the best of times and deeply upsetting at the worst.’

The Big Brother producer

The Big Brother house, says Rainer Laux, is the safest place in Germany right now

I have to consult with the channel, SAT.1, about what each episode of the show looks like: what games the contestants have to play or what challenges they have to solve. But it’s also up to me to decide what we do when something serious happens outside the Big Brother house. The 14 contestants for the current series went into the house on 10 February, when there were only 14 confirmed infections in Germany.

As a general rule, the contestants are not meant to know what is going on in the outside world. But when the number of Covid-19 cases in Europe began to increase dramatically, we knew we needed to tell them. Cancelling the show wasn’t an option, but if one of the people had told us they wanted to be with their family, we would have let them. At the end of the day, it’s just television.

We didn’t want there to be a great drama; just to give the contestants a sober account of what was happening outside. That’s why we sat the Big Brother doctor, who assessed the contestants, next to the host, behind a glass wall. The German Big Brother container is located near Cologne, in North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state that has seen the highest number of infections and deaths.

There were a lot of shocked faces, and some tears. But 23 hours later, life in the Big Brother house had pretty much resumed as normal.

After the contestants were given an update, there were individual messages from parents, siblings and friends. Luckily, they are all fine. The sister of one of the contestants is in quarantine, but only as a precautionary measure. A lot of relatives begged the contestants to stay in the house. It’s the safest place in Germany right now: you are effectively already under quarantine.

It’s also the only place in Germany that doesn’t need to apply any social distancing measures, or handwashing routines, because we know all the contestants are healthy. The celebrities who were introduced to the house later on were all tested beforehand. If Angela Merkel had wanted to give her corona address to the nation from inside the Big Brother house, we would have let her in.

What would we do if the next contestant to be voted out asked to stay? If they’re voted out, they have to leave the house. Those are the rules. PO

The Jesuit sister

A simpler life might lead more people to God, hopes Jane Livesey

Normally I live a peripatetic life. A significant part of my work, as general superior of the Congregation of Jesus, is visiting communities all over the world – we have about 1,500 sisters in 20 countries – to support and encourage them. But now we’re all in lockdown – I’ve been out once in 12 days – and I can see cabin fever is not unlikely. We’re a small community in Rome, aged mainly from our mid-50s to mid-70s, and like everyone else we don’t go out. People are only allowed to the supermarket and pharmacy. Fortunately, we have space and gardens, unlike most Romans. We’re trying to keep in touch with our communities in the wider world. At least we’re blessed to be enduring this crisis in a time of technology and social media. We’re completely wired up here.

Normally we have Mass daily; not now, but we’re praying more. Faith is important to people in times such as this. For all of us, the crisis is triggering questions about what is important. Having a pope like Francis is wonderful; he sent out a beautiful message: “Tonight before falling asleep, think about when we will return to the street, hug again… We will go back to laughing together. Strength and courage. See you soon!”

It will be interesting to see what happens in the longer term – whether some people turn to faith. Faith is about finding meaning, and everyone is now trying to do that. People are living a stripped-back life and that means they’ve been given time for reflection. This crisis has shown us that vulnerability has something to teach us; suddenly, we’re all vulnerable.

The temptation is to retreat, to look inwards. But once this is over, do we stay behind borders or will we have learned things? We might have opened our hearts in ways we hadn’t thought about before. HS

The round-the-world sailor

You’re safe in the middle of the ocean, says Afshin Ahmadian

I don’t have any sailing background; I was working in finance in London when I saw an ad on the underground for the Clipper Round The World Race. It started in September from St Katharine Docks in east London, with a crew of all nationalities: Chinese, French, Iranian, British, Australian, Swedish and Italian. We went to Portugal, Uruguay, South Africa, across the Southern Ocean to Australia; then we were supposed to go to Sanya in south-west China.

When we set off, there was no sign of coronavirus; we were just happy to be going to sea. Everything was new and interesting – the watch system, the storms, the sunrises and sunsets.

Then the skipper got an email saying the destination would be changing because of an outbreak. That was in February; we thought it was just an isolated incident. On the boat you are quite shut off, just focusing on the race and how to keep yourself fit, fed and hydrated.

When we arrived in the Philippines, I realised the situation in Iran had become severe – for a time, it had the highest number of cases after China, before the Italian situation worsened. My family is in Iran and my girlfriend is Italian; they are OK, but all the countries close to my heart were badly affected.

We were in no danger on the boat: we were in the middle of the ocean and hadn’t been in any contaminated regions. But when we came back to the Philippines, around 14 March, the whole event was postponed. We had five more months to go.

I have a flight booked to Italy, and will move into my girlfriend’s place. We are all hoping that in 10 months’ time we can continue the race. Sam Wollaston

The prison inmate

A hotel-size bar of soap, says Joe Vanderford, doesn’t last a week in jail

I’ve been in US prisons across three states for 33 years. Never in my life did I think I would envy an Iranian prisoner [85,000 were temporarily released this month]. I’m in the Shakopee women’s correctional facility in Minnesota. There have been no commutations or early releases in this state so far. Cases of Covid-19 on the outside are rising: 89 at the time of writing. We don’t know if it’s in our facility yet.

There’s no rhyme or reason to how this virus is being managed inside these walls. One officer travelled to Europe and returned to work. Another went to a nearby state, and hasn’t been allowed back in. One guard says this is all an overreaction, a conspiracy against Trump, and refuses to clean anything. Another is constantly wiping her shoes with hospital-grade disinfectant. When I went for my arthritis checkup, they’d taken most of the chairs out of the waiting room, an attempt to force social distancing. But the trash was overflowing, a rubber glove lying on the filthy floor.

Meanwhile, people are being transferred in from county jails every day, and service providers are coming in from other states. Yesterday, an eye doctor who services a bunch of prisons in the area treated several women here. In the middle of appointments, he was stopped: the Wisconsin system, where he had just seen patients, has people quarantined. He said he had no symptoms, but the women who were treated are furious.

If someone here gets diagnosed with Covid-19, I don’t know where they’ll go. We have an isolation room intended for a single person. They’ve already taken two people up there, with more to follow. One of them had already been quarantined for days in her cell with two roommates who remain in the general population. They’re serving the sick people food on paper plates. In another unit, someone has fallen ill; she was using the open restrooms, which means people go to the bathroom while you brush your teeth. They’re testing them all for the virus. No results yet.

I’m on a biohazard task crew. We have special gear, but we’re short on supplies. They’re rationing toilet paper and giving us each a hotel-sized bar of soap, which won’t last a week with handwashing alone. There’s no hand sanitiser, except in the kitchen. I see on the news the public is hoarding, panicked. As incarcerated people, we’re the bottom of the barrel. Times will just get tougher for us.

Most of my friends are older: women in wheelchairs, women with respiratory conditions, women who spray the door handles without being asked. We’re a village, trying to protect each other. It’s a matter of when, not if, we will be exposed. I’m 52. I wasn’t sentenced to death. But it’s a crapshoot from here on out. JvdL

The musician

We’ll be desperate to dance when this is over, says Frank Turner

My last three shows – in Bath, Aylesbury, Southend – were three of the weirdest days of my life. My tour started on 3 March and the first week was fine. You don’t believe it’s real at first, then the bad news starts piling up and what you can’t contemplate becomes reality at remarkable speed. Every day was a rollercoaster. I’d wake up thinking we should cancel everything, then I’d do a show and think, actually, this is what people want. There was a redemptive feeling in the room.

Usually, my line of work survives catastrophic events because people want to gather and lose themselves in art, but that’s not what we’re supposed to be doing right now. Looking out at a room full of people who were standing close to each other was troubling on a moral level. You ask yourself: am I part of the problem? I mentioned coronavirus halfway through the show in Bath and people got nervous. I realised I wasn’t exactly reassuring them about their decision to come.

Over that weekend, the national mood shifted. I started copping a lot of flak on social media from people who were very angry the shows were going ahead. By the time we got to Southend, we still had 800 people but the mood was really odd. It felt like last orders. Before I went on, I was 95% sure this was the last one; when I came off stage, I told my tour manager, “Yeah, we’re done now.”

The idea of doing a live stream seemed obvious. I set up a fundraiser for my touring crew, because if they don’t work they don’t get paid. As we speak it’s raised £43,000, which is incredible, but it’s a one-off for a specific cause. I’m not sure I could make my living this way. I think when shows become viable again, there may well be a golden period because people will be extremely relieved to be out of the house. The problem is nobody knows how far off that is. My worry is how much of the live infrastructure is still going to be there. All my friends who run independent venues are staring into the abyss right now. It’s catastrophic. DL

The illustrator’s take: Andrea Ucini

Illustration of people under umbrellas sitting at opposite ends of zebra crossing in the rain



Illustration: Andrea Ucini/The Guardian

Illustrator Andrea Ucini

Originally from Italy and now living in Denmark, Ucini illustrated Elena Ferrante’s weekly Guardian Weekend column in 2018. He says: ‘This is a strange and very difficult period, but I see hopeful and strong people, who don’t give up. They are patiently waiting, and staying close to each other, even from a distance.’

The store assistant

Supermarket workers are now the fifth emergency service

People started stockpiling at the beginning of March. The next week we limited everything. But even then, loo roll, kitchen roll, wipes, baby milk and nappies are going in a flash. As soon as we bring a pallet out, it’s gone before we can get it on the shelves. There’s one lonely tin of oxtail soup where there used to be a whole section of tinned tomatoes and kidney beans. Our supply chain is good but they can’t get it to us fast enough.

Of course, if you see an empty shelf, you panic. It’s human nature. This morning there were 150 people snaking around the car park half an hour before we opened. We’re selling more than Christmas Eve every day, seven days a week.

You’re seeing everyday dramas unfold. One minute, there’s someone with the last four packs of pasta and they’re giving two to an older person; the next you’re seeing an 18-year-old mum in floods of tears because there’s no baby milk and she’s got newborn twins. I would say that 90% of people are fine, but I’ve had girls I work with called the worst names you can imagine just for saying, “I’m really sorry, you can’t have that whole trolley-full of loo roll.” There’s been an unspoken divide in this country between people who are mindful of how their actions might affect people who are less comfortable than them, and the small minority who don’t care about anybody else. We’ve got zero tolerance for them.

Morale is really good. The company’s been brilliant. What was a mundane job has turned into a really important social responsibility. We feel like the fifth emergency service. You know those magnetic sirens Kojak used to put on his car? I want one of those for when I’m driving to work. We’re all exhausted, but I’ll do what I can until I drop. DL

The Antarctic researcher

At the bottom of the world, says Mike Brian, there’s always telemedicine

There are 124 people on the Rothera Research Station today and I am responsible for their health, safety and welfare. My first action was to make sure we were not bringing in any unessential staff. We also started screening staff before they depart for Antarctica. We are a small community and live in relatively close proximity. But there’s always a doctor here, even in winter when we go down to 20 people; right now we have two.

When something like this happens, we feel a long way away but well connected. We have good internet access and great support from our headquarters in Cambridge, England. We also have our own dedicated medical unit, experts in telemedicine who can give a whole station advice.

My folks are in Fort William, Scotland, and my father said very cheerfully that it gives him a perfect excuse to spend lots of time in the garden by himself. That and turning down social engagements makes him very happy. Sam Wollaston

The drum’n’bass DJ

Club culture will return with the mother of all parties, says Andy C

The last shows I played were in Moscow and Prague at the end of February. We landed in Moscow and they wouldn’t let us off the plane. Without explanation, a woman with a mask got on and started going up to every passenger and taking their temperature. Then in the airport a whole planeload of people arriving from the far east of Russia were herded into a corner. There were people in hazmat suits taking temperatures before you got to baggage claim. Then the whole airport was locked down. We thought we were going to be quarantined in Moscow. That was unnerving. The show was actually fantastic – a beautiful vibe – but the urge to get home to my family was huge.

At that point my diary was still full. The first cancellation was Ultra in Miami. I should have been in Vienna on 14 March but that got cancelled. Would I have gone if it hadn’t been cancelled? It’s a difficult question to answer now. If I don’t turn up, nobody gets paid, but then the moral approach is to make sure everybody’s safe. If we all work together and heed these warnings, then this is going to be over quicker. My kid got sent home with a cough, so we’re indoors for 14 days.

On a personal level, the next few months are wiped out but my main concern is covering the people who put the stages together, do the lighting, work behind bars, security… It’s savage for our industry. Loads of DJs are doing tutoring online, uploading mixes, doing virtual sets. I’m definitely going to be in the studio a lot more. I’m holding on to the hope that the second half of this year is going to be a lot more positive. The drum’n’bass scene is such a beautiful, communal scene and we will bounce back with the mother of all parties. I was listening to a set earlier and thinking, oh yeah, that’s when we used to go out and rave. DL





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