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The Wednesday Waffle issue #29: One year on, still here, still locked down - seeing the future...

It's New Comic Book Day! Welcome to the Wednesday Waffle! As ever, you can



Today is a landmark day for us here at Desties. Time is relative, and the way we measure it is ultimately subjective. On that basis I hereby declare that today is March 382nd 2020.


Sometime around lunchtime exactly one year ago today - the Seventeenth of March 2020 one of the managers at The Everyman Cinema came downstairs to let me know that as a result of the emerging pandemic they'd been instructed to close that afternoon. (My recollection is that it was 2pm, although I wrote 3pm in the blog post, and it seems like a lifetime ago now so I have no idea which is right...)


This is what we wrote at the time:


"The Everyman Cinema Harrogate is closed. Which means we are too - at least, the shop is not open to the public. The current plan is that we reopen on Wednesday 1st April (no, the date is in no way lost on us) - but I think it's reasonable to treat this as an aspiration rather than a fixed intention. We have no idea how this pandemic will pan out and so all plans must, for now, be considered 'fluid'."


With the benefit of hindsight the very idea that we might only have been closed for two weeks is hilarious, and our suggestion that plans "be considered 'fluid'" seems positively prophetic.


Here's the thing though. At the time, the prospect of not being able to open the shop seemed like a disaster - I genuinely wasn't sure that we would survive a two week shutdown. Turns out Desties is more resilient than I thought - in large part thanks to you lot.


But now we can see a clear end to all of this. We won't be able to open with the other "non-essential" retailers in April, but we will be back under the stairs when the Everyman is able to re-open in May, which means it's a good time to stop looking backwards and cast our eyes forward to a post lockdown, if not a completely post Covid future.


So. As we emerge blinking into the light, what does the future hold?


Well, there's obviously still a bit of uncertainty about events, and I for one will still be working on the assumption that plans will remain fluid for some time yet, but at least we can have plans again. So, here's the timetable as it currently stands:


We're not entirely decided on our hours, so we're not going to announce them until nearer the time. But the cinema will be permitted to open on 17th May, and assuming they do we'll be right there with them. That's the bit we can more or less control. Other comic related events are rather beyond our control, but there are some cool things planned.


Like almost everything else on the schedule, Free Comic Book Day sort of didn't happen last year. Having been traditionally held on the first Saturday in May it fell in the middle of the first lockdown on both sides of the Atlantic.


The decision was made to spread the release of the FCBD titles across the summer, but it wasn't the same as having a special day dedicated to spreading the good word about sequential art.


There clearly wasn't too much confidence at FCBD headquarters about May, so like so many other events this year, it's been put back a bit and we'll be celebrating the big day on Saturday 14th August when - fingers crossed - the Covid situation will be pretty much under control.


As al