Gil De Ray on David Erdos’s daily transmissions of poetry on YouTube
Routine was one of the first casualties of isolation.
I used to get up early, too early.
Now I lie in bed ’til it hurts.
Part of my new routine is watching the daily Corona Virus Video Diaries of David Erdos. That’s my call to get out of bed.
Erdos, stranded at home, in a bungalow somewhere in West London stares into the camera like a castaway in a disaster movie making an SOS. Or in my imagination, an Obi Wan Kenobi hologram from another dimension.
His mission: to translate the horrors of the every day and the looming dystopia.
Surrounded by books stacked to the ceiling he delivers, in true thespian style, a daily soliloquy that offers in equal measures, a warning and an acknowledgement of the daily insanity creeping into everyone’s lives.
‘It feels like we are being shaken. As dice’
he states in ‘Coronalogical Man’.
Its easy to relate to when essentially everyone is experiencing the same things at the same time. The same nefarious manipulation. The piss yellow stream of propaganda from the BBC and MSM, the madness and paranoia of supermarkets, the bloody neighbours, the well meaning happy clappers, social media burnout, and plain old cabin fever. Erdos captures it all.
He says it will be compiled in a book at the end of the year entitled ‘2020 Vision’. Its difficult to see if that would have the same sense of urgency that these daily missives exude.
He admits so himself in one episode.
But like Conrad’s ‘Heart Of Darkness’ captain’s log, lost at sea, the sense of creeping threat is still as enthralling even when you know how the story ends. And how will this story end? That’s the most intriguing part of his broadcasts. He has two hats, a straw boating number straight out of an episode of Huckleberry Finn and a flat cap from a Dickens slum. Which will he be wearing when the lockdown ends? Part of me would like it to never end. I’m enjoying not having to deal with the outside world. We could at least not let Erdos know and keep him there, broadcasting from his cave like Bin Laden minus the dialysis machine. While we clapped like seals and wished no harm on the Butcher himself, the government’s Corona Virus Bill slipped through an empty Parliament and into law. Condemning us all.
‘The fascist yeast’ that Erdos hints at, the seed he plants, and rakes over, digging it up, again and again.
‘This is Orwell’s world, Ballard’s world…
Though sadly now without either.’
And that is where we find ourselves, bit part players in a drama being directed from afar. Extras with no speaking parts. Like the making of the most recent Star Wars trilogy, the scripts are hidden, locked in vaults with only a select few allowed the privilege of knowing what the fuck is really happening. The Death Star looms, the Rebels in disarray. The evil Emperor Palpatine and the whole bloody Royal bloodline has us in a hex.
Now more than ever, we need to hear the voices of our conscious mess. We need to know they exist. We need proof that we are not all passengers, dressed up like dummies, slamming shots and knocking back cocktails as the Titanic meets its maker.
The ship is going down. And Art may be the only life raft left.