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Paul Armstrong’s Why Are We Always Indoors? is a slam-dunk account of the COVID-19 pandemic from mid-March 2020 to 21st June that Boris Johnson devotees might want to avoid, but should definitely read. On the other hand, readers enraged by the likes of PPE shortages, Dominic Cummings’s Barnard Castle road-trip eye test, and track and trace bungles will find a kindred spirit in Armstrong. It certainly packs potent personal and political punch.
This London lockdown diary began life “as a way of recording daily reflections on the most bizarre football close-season ever known, and to fill the long hours of lockdown” but, “as events beyond our four walls grew darker, so the focus drifted from whimsical musings on football, TV and music to a growing unease with how a dreadful pandemic was being handled.” As so much has shifted, flipped and flopped since the author began keeping this journal, reading his account of the experience some seven months later is a vital reminder of what we’ve been through collectively. Alongside prescient reactions to governmental decisions, the author recounts experiences many of us will relate to - being horrified by reports from Italy. Taking daily walks that felt “like the pre-titles sequence in a zombie apocalypse movie”. Clapping for carers. The existential strangeness of having to psyche ourselves up to go to the shop. Fans of the author’s memoir Why Are We Always on Last? will also love the football and music musings and anecdotes.
While right now (October 2020), no one knows how or when the pandemic will end, Why Are We Always Indoors? ends on a fittingly bittersweet note, pointing out that while we don’t know “whether we’ll taste the true freedom we once knew ever again”, we can “take comfort where we can and hope for happier times. We know there’s trouble ahead but, as Irving Berlin said, ‘While there’s music and moonlight and love and romance. Let’s face the music and dance.’ And, for now at least, there’s football, too.”
Why Are We Always Indoors? (...unless we're off to Barnard Castle) is a personal chronicle of the strangest and darkest football close season in modern history. Having studied politics at university, Paul Armstrong spent much of his career running BBC TV's Match of the Day, then wrote the memoir Why Are We Always On Last? which was published in 2019. In March 2020, he embarked on a journal of London lockdown life against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. This eventually spanned the 105 days between MOTD's Premier League highlights being removed from the schedules and returning in June. Musings and anecdotes about sport, TV, music and life under lockdown became increasingly overshadowed by the mounting tragedy, and a sense of despair and anger at how the crisis was handled at the highest level. This was informed by a lifetime of studying and following politics and by a network of contacts from television and sport, and in various other affected walks of life. A first-hand account of a slice of living history, conveyed with dark humour and a sense of urgency and immediacy.
Publication date: 10/08/2020
Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd
|Publication date:||10th August 2020|
|Publisher:||Pitch Publishing Ltd|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, Sport, The Real World,|
|Categories:||Memoirs, Social & cultural history,|
Paul Armstrong edited the BBC's flagship Match of the Day programme for 15 years, having previously worked across BBC Sport's programming and in other areas of television. This is his second book, a memoir, Why Are We Always on Last? having been published by Pitch Publishing in 2019. He lives in London with his wife, Amanda, who is also originally from Stockton-on-Tees.More About Paul Armstrong