SCABs

I C U. ALWAYS. – @GooseyCouture

I C U. ALWAYS.

As I am studying online, via video link to the studio (even though I am only one hour away from Brixton), each morning I have woken up, devoured a coffee and some breakfast and done some bits around the house before logging on. This is time I would otherwise have had to spend on grimy public transport during rush hour. As an online student I’m grateful I can use this spare time to chill and be constructive, instead of on a crammed carriage, with my nose in a stranger’s armpit.

To make the course my focus for the next ten months, I have closed the door on what was left of my social life (thanks Covid), and opened my laptop to a school full of the buzzing, creative minds of my peers. It is remarkably strange meeting so many new friends in a virtual way, who I’m going to be spending so much time with, whilst also being alone in my home. Absolutely alone.

Folks attending the school in Brixton are developing their own camaraderie, friendship groups and in jokes which we’re not really party to as part of the online cohort. Watching this happen isn’t annoying, as I’m quite happy observing it – despite me being the one on a screen, it feels as if they are the ones contained, and I am the one looking in on the school from my freedom. My eyes are the beady cameras which broadcast their movements. My ears are the microphones. I can see all of them, but they can’t see that I’m wearing pyjama bottoms and fluffy slippers. At 2pm.

They can’t see me roll my eyes at something someone said, but I see them roll their eyes. I see someone roll their eyes at something I said, thinking I won’t see that because I’m just a small square on a screen on the other side of the room; but their room is my whole screen. I see everything. I can turn my camera off during a long seminar and not worry about my passively-listening, gawping face showing up on screen. They can’t wind down a shutter. They can’t pretend to be a fruit bat or practise their freestyle disco dancing while listening to a mentor giving a talk.  I mean, who would even do that anyway… I don’t. Where was I? Oh yes. We’re always watching you… with our eyes.

It’s fun making the ‘real-lifers’ paranoid, isn’t it?

Mind how you go.

I’m pretty thankful to be working in my own space – able to retreat into solitary whilst working on tasks, with my own choice of music on the stereo. No one is here to tell me to turn it down or change it, or turn it off all together. No queue for the toilet. Nothing unexpected in the toilet. Endless cups of tea and anything from the fridge… because it’s all mine. I’m a hyper-linked virtual student. Plug me into the mainframe, baby.

If you want to imagine me, think of a really cool hacker in a film who wears velour tracksuit bottoms and nibbles on a chorizo sausage whilst staring into his screen and typing furiously. That’s me, but instead of bringing down foreign governments, I’m working on a way to sell more cat food.

Who knows how the solitary confinement will end? Will I emerge as a creative superhero? Will I crack easily like an egg from a sick chicken? Will I be shouting the lyrics to Aggado out of my window whilst gaffer taping spatulas to my thighs? Probably. In for a penny…

SCAB TRACK: Every Breath You Take by The Police

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