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VIV JONES, London at Contact Agency

reflecting isolation


F WORD: How have you been dealing with the whole isolation thing? VIV JONES: I love alone time, but everybody needs to communicate and connect, especially right now. I have been spending my time ringing, texting, Facetiming - physical isolation doesn’t have to mean isolating yourself emotionally.

F WORD: What have you been doing to occupy your time and mind? VIV JONES: I’ve been exercising a lot. I have a lot of pent up energy. Working out and going for walks or runs in nature with my dog have both been great outlets for that.

F WORD: How are you feeling about the COVID-19 pandemic? VIV JONES: Personally, very frustrated; as a finalist at Cambridge, I’ve lost those precious final months with my friends, in a city I have called home for 3 years. On top of that, there is so much insecurity about our exams right now which is incredibly stress-inducing. A lot of students and young people are sitting with that insecurity. Beyond my own situation, I feel concerned for so many individuals and families out there, especially due to the asymmetrical impact of the pandemic. Inequality is rife in the UK, and the effects of the pandemic will run along those lines of inequality.

F WORD: What are your thoughts on how our government and the world is dealing with it? VIV JONES: I’m incredibly concerned about so many who are being left particularly vulnerable. The government was slow to act on mortgage payment suspensions and has yet to commit to rent payment suspensions. There is little to no security for freelancers and the self-employed. A lot of people have lost their jobs and many small businesses are going under. After 10 years of austerity, with massive cuts to public services including the NHS and welfare provisions, I think the government is not only massively unequipped to deal with the crisis but has also shot itself in the foot by weakening the public sector so consistently for a decade.

F WORD: What would be your perfect soundtrack for this time? VIV JONES: I’m from Leicester, so I play a lot of Kasabian. But right now, I’m after something a little more mellow; my favourite artist is Rainsford, her voice and sound are beautifully chilling.

F WORD: Can you suggest a movie/series/or book we should check out during isolation? VIV JONES: 'How I Live Now' is a movie and also a novel by Meg Rosoff. It’s great for some dystopian, apocalyptic reading! I also saw someone recommending 'Camus’ ​The Plague'​, which I think would be a great classic to re-read right now.

F WORD: A hopeful statement to encourage others: VIV JONES: I came across this quote from Simone de Beauvoir the other day, which I thought was poignant and moving in these times: “Then, suddenly, History burst over me, and I dissolved into fragments. I woke to find myself scattered over the four quarters of the globe, linked by every nerve in me to each and every other individual.” (Simone de Beauvoir, ​The Prime of Life​). This quote describes the outbreak of the Second World War, and Beauvoir was to experience isolation under the German occupation of Paris. However, these words, written decades ago in a different country and facing a different crisis, strike home today. Indeed, if there is anything that can imbue hope, it is the realisation through this global crisis that as individuals we are all linked and connected. We need to realise and remember those connections - not only to friends and family but to all of humanity and the earth. If we hold on to one another, we are not alone.

F WORD: Favourite F-word: VIV JONES: Fellowship.


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