Six Damn Fine Degrees #40: Pale Rider by Laura Spinney

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

Welcome to some sort of grim hat-trick. This entry might well be a part of our sadly ever-expanding series called Corona Diaries; it is also a revisit of what I once wrote for The Rear-View Mirror about Laura Spinney’s book Pale Rider; and the concept of six degrees carries a very cynical note when thinking about contagion, way back in 1918 when the Spanish Flu hit, and again today, for glaringly obvious reasons.

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The Corona Diaries: The beginning is the end is the beginning

For a while it looked like we were over the worst. Well, when I say “we”… Let’s put it like this: in many places, numbers were going down, cinemas were opening up, people were wondering if we were returning to something akin to normalcy. I mean, I’ve been back to the Best Little Cinema in the World often since it opened its doors again in May. Work colleagues are going abroad on vacation. Isn’t this what normal looks like?

Remember when Mege posted this photo in his Corona Diaries entry in May 2020?

Or is this just what it looks like when people decide, as the finishing line comes into view, that they’ve had enough, and it’s the last bit that sucks the most, so why don’t we skip it?

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The Corona Diaries: Coming up for air

This is Matt again, so don’t expect the artsy playing with structure you get from Mege. Things here have been looking up for a week or two now, pandemic-wise. The numbers are great, almost disconcertingly so; listening to This American Life or Radiolab podcast episodes describing the situation in New York, for instance, feels like listening in on a parallel universe where COVID-19 struck fast and struck hard, while here, in Switzerland? Well, since we’re all about damn fine cups of culture, let’s put it in cultural terms: I’ll be able to go to the cinema on 6 June.

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The Corona Diaries: Virtually isolated

Warning: There may be spoilers for the video game Red Dead Redemption 2 in the final paragraph.

Dear Diary, it’s Matt again. How have you been? Going out, having a cappuccino, a glass of wine, going to the cinema? What, me? No, I’ve been a total homebody. Barely left the house, except for the occasional brief stroll. Though that’s not entirely true: I did leave the house – just virtually.

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