Mackindergarten: Lock and let die 

Overweight bear … heading for the woods, obviously (photo: US Air Force)
May 2nd, 2020 5:09 am| by Adrian Mackinder
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It’s been a busy six weeks for Adrian. In between working and looking after his two young children, he’s finished a book, celebrated a birthday, put his flat up for sale and even had time to compile some diary entries for his CPH POST column – almost as if the man was born to be locked down. But don’t be fooled, as a closer inspection reveals a man increasingly on the edge, ever drawn to the limits of his existence.  

March 11 
With Denmark now on lockdown, the mask of civilization starts to slip. The happiest people on Earth turn and eat each other. The welfare state transforms into a police state. Strings of Danish flags will be replaced by barbed wire. Hygge becomes hazmat. Quarantine zones erupt with hideous violence, with once-decent folk ripping each other to pieces over a single pastry. The seas boil, the skies fall. Christiania becomes a huge prison – a deep, yawning chasm pulsing with broken, seething, angry, drug-fuelled Danes. Blood lust will be satisfied via live prime-time competitive entertainment, played out on stolen TV sets powered by rats. From this fallen city, heroes will rise who will lead us from this nightmarish Babylon to a place of sanctuary … That’s what I’m hoping anyway. 

March 14 
As we begin two weeks in total lockdown, it’s vital to stay calm. Here are five top tips on how you and your family can make the enforced isolation more tolerable. 

  1. Read the dictionary out loud until the inevitable collapse into violence. Savour every punch. 
  2. Keep the kids occupied by signing them up to work multiple shifts at the supermarket. In Minsk.
  3. Hide in the fridge until your partner opens the door, then scream ‘OH CHRIST NOT YOU AGAIN. STOP TELLING ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE!’
  4. Recreate key scenes from ‘The Battle of Algiers’ using whatever food you have left in the cupboard.
  5. Teach yourself how to defeat a bear. Trust me, it WILL be useful.

March 16 
Whatever happened to quicksand? It was a big deal in the ‘80s. People got stuck in it on TV all the time. Now not so much. 

March 17 
Look on the bright side. Because all meetings now take place remotely via video, we can have a good old snoop into people’s homes. 

March 18 
How hard is it working from home with kids? Put it this way. It’s taken me 48 minutes to listen to a song that lasts just over four. 

March 19 
What I want to know is why are there so few cases in Russia and India, which border China for thousands of miles? And how can a country like China, with over a billion people, and traditionally underwhelming hygiene and food preparation records (relative to other developed countries), have contained this so quickly? Why has their economy now recovered suspiciously quickly while Europe is on its knees. Are the Chinese now rapidly buying up shares, assets and investments in Western stock while we’re busy staying inside? And why-oh-god-please-help-me-I’ve-been-stuck-inside-for-three-days-and-I-need-some-evidence-based-facts-before-my-addled-mind-lumbers-further-into-paranoid-conspiracy-theories. 

March 20 
Six months of dark, grey Danish winter. Now glorious sunshine, we all have to pretend we’re in ‘The Shining’. 

March 28 
With the world going to hell in a handcart, only a fool would try to sell their home, right? We’ll I’m that fool. If you know anyone interested in a piece of prime Copenhagen real estate so desirable and at such a bargain it would make Lex Luthor collapse with joy, then please share or recommend. 

March 29 
A belated thank you to all who took the time out of your busy schedule to wish me a happy birthday. Those of you who know me will be aware I have trained my whole life for this lockdown. 

I grew up glued to the TV. I don’t much care for being outdoors. I enjoy my own company. I know how to keep myself amused for weeks on end without leaving the house and I have no great itch to do anything physical other than pour a fifth gin. I could have ridden this out without breaking a sweat. 

In fact, when the pandemic lifts, I’d probably be the one person asking for another couple of days to prepare myself for interacting with society.  

March 31 
Just sent my finished book to the publishers. Thanks to all who made it possible. Am now going to stay in and get wrecked. 

April 3 
Right now I’d happily start an aggressive and destructive drugs habit just for the stint in rehab #lockdownwithkids. 

April 9 
I went for a run today. An actual run. I actually ran. And I was bad at it. Just terrible. Caught a glimpse of myself as I wheezed past a shop window. I looked like an overweight bear standing on its hind legs for the first time. How can this be? How can someone be bad at running? It’s a basic human ability. We evolved to run. Fight or flight. I can’t do either. Here I stand, a miracle of evolution. They should make a Netflix documentary about me. About my shocking inability to rapidly move my limbs. And I wasn’t even wearing heavy tweed or holding a sherry. So I shall continue this endeavour until I have mastered the art of swift movement. Wish me luck. Donations welcome. 

Easter Sunday 
It’s so important to remember why we celebrate Easter. How, two thousand years ago, Jesus was sent to prison by a military court for a crime he didn’t commit. This man promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade to the Lost Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, he survives as a soldier of fortune. If you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find him, maybe you can hire … Jesus. 

April 15 
Here’s a thought. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or scared. Stop watching the news. Stop reading articles about coronavirus. It’s not helping. It really isn’t. It doesn’t make us feel good. The press don’t thrive on making us feel good. Never have. Never will. 

Currently there are too many stories floating around about how terrible things could be – rolling-news padding that serves as filler in between what scarce real news there truly is. And by ‘real news’, I mean information that will move things forward. And trust me. We’re so plugged in, anything productive that we need to know, we WILL hear about. Vaccines, antibody tests, the dead rising from the grave, you’ll be notified. In the meantime, absorbing endless charts of death or journalists and politicians politicising a pandemic will only trigger and fuel anxiety, anger and blame. 

Truth is we’re all still in stasis right now. That’s about it. Nothing has changed. The virus is here. It’s not going away. Many people are getting it. Some are dying. It’s horrible. We must be vigilant. So it goes. Anything else is purely emotive click-bait. So while we wait for things to progress, let’s just keep talking, stay in touch, and find the funny side wherever we can. So here’s the fish-slapping dance. 

April 19 
You know you need to exercise when you see a ‘before/after’ gym ad and think: “I’d just be happy with the ‘before’ pic.” 

Adrian Mackinder


British writer and performer Adrian Mackinder (adrianmackinder.co.uk) and his pregnant Danish wife moved from London to Copenhagen in September 2015. He now spends all his time wrestling with fatherhood, the unexpected culture clash and being an Englishman abroad.