Each week I’ll be asking someone what their corona-experience has been like, from their lockdown life to the new habits they’ve picked up. This week Norman Cook gives us a peek into his jigsaw-packed, Rising Damp sort of world…
When did you first know this was going to be a big deal?
When Coachella got cancelled I realised it was real… Before then it was theoretical…
What was the first concession you made to the pandemic?
Closing the Big Beach Café (in Hove) was really painful. We had gone down to serving through the ice cream hatch, but realised that people were still congregating outside and it felt wrong in my gut. So I had to sit the staff down and tell them we were closing. This was before lockdown started so we could have stayed open, but it just felt uncomfortable.
Did you panic-shop and if so, what did you get?
When we closed the café we had to dispose of all the perishable food so I had no need for food shopping for the first few weeks. The kids quickly got fed up with Mr Whippy ice cream for every meal.
Who is in your house?
My daughter, Danny from the café and his daughter, my lodger Miss Jones (I am Rigsby). An extended, dysfunctional household.
Do you even get dressed any more?!
I do get dressed but it’s pretty much the same outfit every day. Function rather than fashion.
How are you stopping yourself going mad?
Intense jigsaw puzzle action. I’m knocking out 1000 pieces a week.
What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve done in lockdown?
We’ve started putting up obscene messages to those walking past us on the beach.
If you could be locked down with any three people (living or dead) who would they be and why?
Duncan from Little Fish Market for food. Charlie Brooker for conversation. Halle Berry for love interest!
What ‘normal’ thing do you miss the most?
My job isn’t what most people consider ‘normal’ but I do dearly miss entertaining people in big sweaty congregations. That abandon soothes my soul.
What have you done during lockdown that you’ll keep doing once it’s lifted?
Climbing up on my roof every Thursday night and blowing vuvuzelas across the harbour is gonna be a tough habit to break.
Are you doing any volunteering etc?
I’m putting together a show for the NHS key workers and blue light workers at the Brighton Centre in October. I’m not raising money for the NHS (that is the government’s job). It’s just a way of thanking those who are working so hard for us, using my limited skill set.
What music takes your mind off the crisis?
I make a weekly lockdown mixtape which we give away every Friday on my social media channels. Teatime for kitchen raving. It helps me stay connected with people through a shared music community.
What’s the first silly thing you’ll do the minute the restrictions are lifted?
Probably cooking in the kitchen at the café, naked except for my mask…
Catch the Friday teatime Norman mixtapes, free every week