CORONAVIRUS is the ogre of our epoch and, all over the world, everyone is feeling the spectre as it ambles across continents like a purposeful predator reaping a grim harvest in its wake. The world is dazed as country after country make proclamations whose impact is being felt in almost every sphere of human existence. The markets have crashed and business is trillions of dollars in lost revenue. Schools are closing. Everything and everyone is touched somehow. Corona blues is what has the world down right now.
Rocking the world
Corona is, for want of a better term, rocking the world right now. The entertainment industry is one of the casualties of this virus. It is dispersing crowds. Flight travel is part of the mix and, yes, travelling in itself is now discouraged. Yes, crowds are the fodder of this business, as well as its mainstay.
Without crowds, the Cape Town Jazz Festival will have to be postponed this year. As will Coachella in the United States and Glastonbury in the United Kingdom. Incidentally, Anheuer-Busch In Bev, the manufacturer of the now tragically named Mexican beer Corona, reportedly lost £132 million (US$157 million) in its worst financial quarter in a decade. The loss is due to a massive drop in sales, according to international media reports.
The falling demand is mostly in China, where corona first showed its horrible face to the world. China is a huge market for manufacturers of goods, as well as a source of goods. Few people are daring to go out and frolic in public places. Understandably, entertainment joints are praying for mercy.
Corona’s CE is quoted as saying, “Our business is all about going to restaurants, to nightlife, going out with friends . . .” You can surmise the rest of it on your own. Crowds are required, but crowds for now are missing. It will be a long, long night before the world feels safe enough to step out and show out for the heck of it.
Harare, the capital, has a busy night life and it is matter of time before patrons start really staying at home. The Bulawayo scenario is somewhat different for local artistes do not experience too much night club action. DJs, rather than music bands, tend to reign supreme on the entertainment circuit. But the contagion of Covid-19 will be affecting mostly Bulawayo groups such as all-female ensemble Nobuntu and Iyasa, which earn their bread through tours round the world regularly for long stretches.
Hollywood hurting too
Idris Elba, one of Hollywood’s foremost leading black actors, just released a video message admitting to having tested positive to corona virus. With his girlfriend Sabrina in the background, Elba makes the announcement. He is not yet showing the signs of the disease such as the fever and the sore throat.
I suppose people’s physiology differs and that is very important for us to ruminate over. I mean, we might all be infected. But I digress. Tom Hanks, another Hollywood icon, is also down with the virus. Global media report that an unprecedented shutdown to stem to spread of the coronavirus involving movie cancellations, suspension of concert tours and other public baiting activities is being effected right now. Social distancing is one of the new catch phrases.
The usual buzz of TV productions and red carpet dos is just for now on pause. The lights on Broadway are literally going to be off. Sports matches are being suspended. An NBA player tested positive for coronavirus and the league has put games on hold.
Let it be known that in all this, the artiste and sportsperson are among some of the more obvious casualties of this scourge. From coast to coast, the entertainment juggernaut has screeched to a halt. I imagine that the Disneyland theme parks have had to close their doors. It is really a time of carnage and the worst part of it is that, no one knows how long this cloud is going to be hanging over our heads.
Still more baffling is the fact that circulating on social media are excerpts of a book titled The Eyes of Darkness by one Dean Koontz “written in 1981, which predicts that in 2020 a disease such as the one tormenting the world will appear”.
Someone should find this Koontz and sit him down so he can tell him which god intimated this to him. There are other “prophecies” along the same lines. But what was eerie for me was the clip of a 2011 movie called Contagion, starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others, mentioning the coronavirus as spreading from China.
How is this possible? So many questions right now, but what is clear is that life is now imitating art. We are literally living inside of a Hollywood nightmare. I do not know how long “they” intend to keep us hemmed in. I do not know who “they” is. Something is coming over the world and this may merely be the start of it. The struggle is to retain perspective and balance as the media.
Apparently,the disease is getting to all and sundry. Indeed, Nadine Dorries the health minister of the UK was reported to have contracted Covid-19 as did the Vice-President of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri. Still, rogue regimes somehow see dark opportunity in this time to quell dissenting voices. The adage that says every cloud has a silver lining is yielding its truth to those who see prosperity in adversity. Zimbabwe is yet to impose restrictions in terms of visitors who can knock on the country’s doors. The reason given is that we have no reason yet to do as much. But we are not in an impregnable fortress.