By John Davison
An Incidental Poem
The Shadow Economy
This poem was first published in the anthology “The Healing Power of Poetry: Poems in the Time of Pandemic” (edited by Fabrizio Frosini) in July 2020.
ISBN-13: 979-8663154338 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Healing-Power-Poetry-Poems-Pandemic/dp/B08C8XFB8W
John Davison is a London-born writer of parodies, poems and lyrics, often on topical issues. He admires unusual puns and wordplay and maintains a Twitter account https://twitter.com/sidsaucer
Changing Track was written from southeast London during lockdown when United Kingdom residents were strongly discouraged from making unnecessary journeys or meeting other people.
An Incidental Poem was written from southeast London during lockdown while United Kingdom venues were explicitly discouraged from hosting musical events unless the music was incidental to other activities and any audience members were “socially-distanced” to minimise the chances of viral transmission and outside a building.
The Shadow Economy is about the (supposed) impacts of the pandemic on those unregulated “businesses” denied rate relief, short-term loans, furlough subsidies and positive consultant support during the pandemic on account of their somewhat criminal status. The persons involved may not all be hardened career criminals. Some might feel obliged to work “beneath the radar” in the so-called “shadow economy” due to financial hardship, unfair dismissal, blacklisting due to past activism, or debts owed to people-smugglers who enabled an unconventional journey across a border or two.
Seeking Redress was written during the summer of 2020 and reflects the sudden cancellation or repeated postponement of community gatherings, entertainments and family ceremonies that characterised the Spring, Summer and Autumn of that year, when visiting a friend or relative in another home was widely seen as a risky activity. The sparsity of written entries in pocket diaries, desk diaries, journals, or wall-mounted calendars also reflected the degree to which smartphones and Cloud-based diaries (that might well be shared with close friends, work colleagues, or family members) have displaced the traditional hard-copies. For many individuals, a visual catalogue of events on Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Tik-Tok or YouTube has already become the successor of a written diary, and many photographs or film clips uploaded there are vaguely captioned. Physical distancing and the home-working option advocated during lockdowns have clearly increased our dependency on such software, portable devices and corporate servers. As normality seeps back into our lives, written diaries will inevitably be seen as a quaint vestige of an earlier, less electronic, era.