‘They’ say life imitates art. I guess if televisual fare is art, then this is a truism, with the gamut of channels and cheap fly on the wall shows and documentaries making art out of life.

During lockdown, many of us who have not, historically, viewed the television as our primary source of go to entertainment vehicle have, courtesy of boredom and bad weather, finally succumbed and jumped aboard. Personally, I do not feel anymore intellectually nourished than before, although I reckon my random facts output in future pub quizzes will prove a winner.

It seems as if there is little escape: I have constructed a home gym, of sorts, in the shed with a bike, a turbo trainer, a heater and a sweat towel. I bought a phone holder and now, to save getting all competitive on Zwift, I while away an hour a day cycling on Netflix and believe that I have watched all that is worth watching. The only rule I have is not to view any ‘dubbed’ programmes. I just cannot get to grips with any shows where the voice is lagging a second or two behind the lip movement like Heidi from my youth.

So, after the new output has been devoured, some of it good and some shoddy as blazes, I found myself visiting old classic films (for anyone under the age of 40: what you would now call ‘movies’) and I thought I would reacquaint myself with Groundhog Day.

Image: Columbia Pictures

Image: Columbia Pictures

Now, for those of you not in the know it is a film starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, when her star was at its highest and poor Murray, a weatherman, wakes up repeating the same day where he is reporting from the Groundhog festival (those crazy yanks huh?).

Now it is true, great movies live, yet, sadly, this is not one of them and thankfully they did not make a Groundhog Day 2, largely because there is little mileage with that particular concept, albeit the Home Alone franchise somehow made it work.

It did however get me to thinking as to where it fits into our current lives, as we traverse the Covid pandemic and all that entails, and the main premise of the film wasn’t too wide of the Corona mark.

A groundhog

A groundhog

Have you ventured out of your burrow this year?

Waking up every day to the same alarm clock at the same time as we trudge wearily to the same bathroom and kitchen, before travelling to the same place of work leaves us with little variation. With the ban on socialising and mixing still in situ, or many having given up on trying to work out the rules, or whether friends are playing ball or nay, as we hibernate and hide in the confines of our homesteads exacerbating the groundhog dayness of our existences.

We come downstairs and the cat is lying behind the door waiting for his early morning belly rub before hassling you relentlessly for some Whiskers in jelly. Working from home gave us the ‘bonus’ of watching Piers and Suzanna attempt to rip an inept politician, such as the fragile looking Gavin Williamson, a new orifice, before the second cup of tea and the usual process with regard to paid employ.

Now really, lockdown and enforced home working is not that different from going on site: the daily routines, although different from before, soon become embedded and all we are but doing is moving from Groundhog Day 1 to 2. So how to relieve this monotony as we grow ever older and more set in our ways and routines? I guess it’s by having a huge, life changing epiphany: a complete change of career, if finances allow, or a change of environment, if possible. We could gain some advice by watching old Murray and seeing how he broke the cycle. Embarrassingly, I must report I fell asleep by that point as I just couldn’t take any more. The holy grail is out there, but I won't ever be watching Groundhog Day again, so it’s as you were and more of the same, thank you please.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher