On yesterday’s walk I ran into a young singer and a photographer clearly planning a photo or video shoot on the shoreline. They chose what I thought a rather odd place for it: rather than the dramatic backdrop of the bulwarks under the terrace next to Pelican Stairs they were on the sandy bit of shore by the steps behind the apartments I can never remember the names of. I could hear the singer saying he wanted to do some things close to his roots but he didn’t want to do any Afro-beats. He wanted to do trance music. Then I walked off. Wapping is very yuppie-white. A few Indian and Pakistani families, though I think most of the young urban teens I see walking by are actually from Shadwell. It was exciting to see a young Black artist sharing the space I use to collect shards of pottery and stare at boats. Tried to get to bed earlier last night. Managed 11:15 but read until just past midnight. I can feel my body alive and wanting the attention of pleasure but I can never seem to settle on a fantasy that feels right: they take odd turns or develop plot lines that don’t lead towards sex. Maybe I’m starting too far back: I usually try to start from why they’d be in the room with me–a chance encounter, a series of flirtations leading up to the intimacy I crave. But I’m either asleep or my mind has wandered on a different tangent by the time we get to the undressing bit. I haven’t felt very lonely in lockdown, for the most part–I rather like my quiet secluded life, it feels natural to me. And honestly not very different to the normal pace of my existence. But yesterday I felt it. The quiet repetition of a thousand evenings just like it. Tied to my computers, multiple, unable to switch work off at the end of the day because of trying to get the approval for my research paper to go through hto the conference. Instead of truly settling in to my free time I was tied to the desk, shuffling over to the work laptop occasionally to check progress. It made my world feel small. For me, the loneliness isn’t about lack of contact with others: I have a rich and vibrant network of friends and family. It’s more about feeling unable to connect with myself or others because of the intrusion of work–or rather because of the choice that I make to prioritise work over other important parts of myself. And then filling in the waiting with “junk attention”– scrolling on social media with no intention to engage fully, just for something to do. Watching a TV show I’ve watched a dozen times already to fill a background space. Checking my phone while eating. But what’s in the foreground on an evening like that? It feels thin–lonely.