The full version of Present Continuous, a book of lockdown essays/prose pieces, excerpts of which first appeared as a pamphlet with Phil Baber's The Last Books earlier this year, is now out from Ghazal Mosadeq's Pamenar Press, with grateful thanks to Ghazal and to Hamed Jaberha for his work in typesetting and design.
Copies available here.
Present Continuous was written during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic between March 2020 and April 2021 in Lewisham, London. Part I was written between March 2020 and June 2020: the movement from spring to summer, from the first announcement of a national lockdown to the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the United States and the death of Belly Mujinga in the UK. Part II was written during the autumn and winter of 2020 and 2021, during which time a “second wave”, peaking in December and January, prompted a second set of lockdown restrictions. Part III was written in Spring 2021, as restrictions eased and the issue of police violence raised its head once again with the murder of Sarah Everard and the early debates around the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill—as of April 2022, passed into law as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act—with its further criminalisation of protest by a government more viciously racist and repressive than any in recent memory.
Over two years since the first declaration of lockdown, and following a seemingly endless series of virus variants and subvariants, an apparent shift from ‘pandemic’ to ‘endemic’, and a kind of exhaustion of vocabulary and will, I hope these essays provide some kind of record, not only of a particular moment in time, but of the tendencies going into and moving out of that moment, as we move forward into a future more uncertain than ever; not just where ‘we’ were in 2020 and 2021, but where ‘we’ are—or might be—now.