ALEXANDRA SHULMAN: Now pull on those big-boy pants – and get that jab

Now pull on those big-boy pants – and get that jab, writes ALEXANDRA SHULMAN

Recently, I’ve felt my life measured out in emptying coffee grounds from the day before’s pot. What’s going on today? Ah yes, the coffee pot needs cleaning out. Again.

It’s the dead hand of repetition that has floored me in Lockdown 2, the inability to shake things up and go out and find something new.

And then – ta da! – comes news that not one, but three vaccines are going to be available. 

A thoroughly unscientific multi-generational poll shows more than 50 per cent of those I asked about this would not take the vaccine. At least, not yet. Maybe not at all

And, for those not spooked by those developed in China and Russia, there will be more. Although these can’t wipe out the virus, they will immunise against the severity of the disease just like the regular flu jab.

So we can return to a previous world, one that now seems like Shangri-La, where we can meet each other, hug our family, go to concerts and theatres, eat in restaurants, work in offices.

I had imagined that most people would feel as excited as me. There are many subjects where I may take a perverse stance – whether it’s worth spending £30 on a bottle of olive oil (actually, yes) or whether walking is the world’s dullest form of exercise (yes again).

But I thought the offer of a vaccine would be a no-brainer. What’s not to love about a discovery rooted in the world’s best pharmaceutical research that will rid us of the shackles of tier restrictions and lockdown, and put an end to the creep of fear enveloping all our lives? Surely everyone must buy into that?

Yet, as in so many things, it appears I am wrong. A thoroughly unscientific multi-generational poll shows more than 50 per cent of those I asked about this would not take the vaccine. At least, not yet. Maybe not at all.

I thought the offer of a vaccine would be a no-brainer. What’s not to love about a discovery rooted in the world’s best pharmaceutical research that will rid us of the shackles of tier restrictions and lockdown, and put an end to the creep of fear enveloping all our lives?

On hearing Monday morning’s news of the success of the Oxford vaccine, I thought how wonderful it would have been to have volunteered as a guinea pig in the trial. You would have helped alter the course of history.

Yet surprising numbers of people are going in the opposite direction, waiting for a substantial number of canaries down the mine before they accept the jab.

Some are inherently anti-vax, a stance remarkably common among a wealthy, obsessively weight-conscious, New Agey crowd. I offer you Elle Macpherson, partner of anti-vax proselytiser Andrew Wakefield. 

But more are just generally dubious about the safety of these rapidly developed vaccines, think they may have had Covid anyway (although they aren’t sure) or just have some other woolly objection.

Well fine, but it’s a somewhat selfish view. Vaccines are only efficient – as they were in wiping out the horrors of polio and smallpox – if they are taken up by the great majority. The scientists have done their job – now we need to do ours.

To paraphrase the immortal words of Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney, it’s time to put on those big girl or boy pants and stick out your arms. This is not only about you.

Only Einsteins can watch Netflix

Our digital age is wonderful but heavens it’s difficult to manage.

Last week, I was helping an older friend figure out how to watch Netflix on her television and how to choose a laptop.

This should be simple but as I sprawled on her floor trying to read the miniature typeface on her broadband hub – explaining that she needed to know her password because that was ‘a bit like a phone number’, only making her even more confused – I became incredibly frustrated.

Not with her understandable bafflement but about the complexities of a system which for so many people is alien and impenetrable.

How long will it be until we reach the stage where you just plug something in and off it goes, like a kettle, without having to deal with the uploading, downloading and installing that most of us don’t really understand? 

For the oldest generation, these terms are as difficult to grasp as Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and remain a huge barrier to them being able to access the world we all now need to be part of.

‘Il faut souffrir pour être belle’ – you must suffer to be beautiful – is a well-known fashion motto and one I don’t subscribe to. Apart from when it comes to bare legs in winter.

I was reminded of this by the Instagram feed of my colleague Jo Elvin, editor of You magazine, where she posted a picture of her bare feet in a pair of white sparkling shoes, declaring she wasn’t covering them up until hypothermia struck. I feel the same.

The first thick tights of winter are a bleak, bleak moment, signalling months ahead of being encased in a sausage skin. And thick socks poking out of trouser hems are death to dignity, making you look like a fell walker or possibly the Queen stomping over the moors.

But others love the embrace of top-to-toe coverage. In her new book Quite, Claudia Winkleman writes passionately in praise of all things wintry and cosy: ‘I don’t believe in summer. It’s all toes out (not fine). Winter is twinkly lights and capes… black jeans, and dishevelled boots.’

Yet keen viewers might notice that on Strictly she’s all bare legs, skinny heels and ankle bracelets. Of course she is. Because this a woman who knows about glam. And you won’t find a glimmer of that in your 60 deniers.

Beckham kicks off a brand new sport

The news that David Beckham was considered for Sports Minister introduces a great new parlour game. 

How about the phenomenally rich James Dyson for Chancellor of the Exchequer, genius J. K. Rowling as Minister for Education, and rocket man Richard Branson Minister for Transport. Hours of bathtime fun.

Nicole’s nailed her Wintour wardrobe

I’ve no idea whodunnit in the gripping Sky Atlantic thriller The Undoing. But I’ve got a good hunch that the inspiration for Nicole Kidman’s range of extravagant coats is Anna Wintour, who’s rarely seen out on the Manhattan street without some beautiful, staggeringly expensive number belted tightly around her waist.

Time to burst this particular bubble

If I owned a bath product company I’d definitely be thinking about renaming bubble baths. After all this, ‘bubble’ is surely a word we’ll never wish to hear again.

If I owned a bath product company I’d definitely be thinking about renaming bubble baths [File photo]

Source: Read Full Article