This is a TNB Public Service Announcement. Don’t break lockdown rules, not even if you’re famous.
We at TNB were not aware this message needed to be provided. We were wrong. Recent events throughout the world have demonstrated the need for this friendly reminder.
The most recent example comes from a person who’s been in the gaze of the Owl before: Neil Gaiman. While the Owl focused on the oddity of an author getting a tribute album was called “He’s Right Here“, were it to have been written over the weekend it would have been called, “He’s right here in New Zealan- whoops, no, Los Angel – no, no, London. Oh, hey, he’s in Scotland.”
The fantasist behind Good Omens, American Gods, Sandman, Coraline and Stardust (among others) had been in lockdown with his wife, Amanda Palmer, in New Zealand during the coronavirus crisis. While they were spending time together, Gaiman apparently said something particularly hurtful to Palmer and the pair agreed that he should spend some time off by himself to sort out his issues.
He posted online about the eerie quiet of the airports on his flights, first to Los Angeles and then London, all while maintaining distancing and wearing mask and gloves.
All of this was merely the stuff of celebrity gossip magazine back pages (front pages are reserved for people more famous than authors) until Gaiman took the final leg of his trip, a drive from London to his home in a remote island town in Scotland.
A drive, that is, from a London in coronavirus lockdown to an island town 615 miles away that has limited medical resources and would very much like to keep people who’ve been in the coronavirus hot spot of London away. Even famous people, as it seems that covid-19 doesn’t care if people have some small measure of fame (as Tony Shaloub can tell you after his experience with the virus).
Gaiman has since apologized for his thoughtlessness.
It’s not as bad as the famous people who violated Spain’s strict lockdown orders to attend a conference held by the leader of a telecommunication firm on Monday, though. Spain, which has had one of the worst outbreaks of the virus, has been able to ease restrictions in some areas but has maintained limits in the disease-ravaged capital of Madrid. That city has limited all social gatherings, including work-related, to a maximum of ten people. The twenty-plus individuals who attended the event would likely have gotten a much sharper rebuke from governmental authorities… had they not included the economy minister and the King of Spain.
Such carelessness nevertheless pales in comparison to that of Madonna. After posting a series of bizarre videos to Instagram in recent months, the semi-retired pop star went to a friend’s birthday party, despite the UK being in the midst of a forced lockdown where only essential travel was to be undertaken (ref.: Neil Gamain).
She was in the UK, but the friend was in New York. She flew over for the party, and posted photos from the bash online.
… at around the same time she admitted that she’d tested positive for covid-19 antibodies shortly before taking the trip, and that she might be infected but asymptomatic: a potential carrier. She suspected that she wasn’t, though, because she’d been very sick during the Paris tour dates in late February.
If you’re famous, happen to be reading this, and you were thinking of breaking quarantine just because you’re prominent or influential? Don’t. Just don’t.
Question of the night: Which currently restricted activity are you most looking forward to being able to safely do again?