What if?

It occurred to me today to wonder what would it have been like if a pandemic such as this were to have happened 40 years ago, in 1980?

There were about 3 billion less people on the planet. The modern industrialisation of China was barely underway. There were computers in a handful of homes but they couldn’t talk to each other. Communication was by radio, television, and newspapers — all of these being curated sources of information. The Cold War was still very much in evidence.

I’d like to say that the average member of the public in 1980 would have had a better sense of the impending threat — but if true, was that because of the curated information, the lack of the far-reaching social media misinformation, or the greater common sense I believe persisted at the time?

The vast majority of us would not have been able to work from home or remote-school. What would have happened to the economy? Would it have rivalled the Great Depression of 1929 more so than the later crash of the stock markets in 1987?

It’s an interesting thought experiment that, in my brief analysis (that word may be a reach), suggests the spread would have been better contained but the lasting impact may have been far greater.


My wife and I sit down at 7pm most nights to watch around an hour of television. This is our main viewing time of “in depth” screen time. For the longest time, our fare was UK cop/crime shows — Luther, Line of Duty, Broadchurch, and many more. When we started running out of that genre, my wife suggested something I wasn’t keen on, but I humoured her and gave it ago.

The show in question was Le Chalet. It is a French crime thriller about a group of young adults who venture into a remote town in France only to find themselves in the middle of a dangerous mix of history and mystery. Produced by the France 2 network it is, unsurprisingly,entirely portrayed in the French language. We watched on Netflix where English subtitles were included. It took me probably a few episodes before I both got hooked into the story line, and also got into the flow of the subtitles. We both really enjoyed it.

Since then we’ve watched a few more shows not from the usual fare of UK or American settings. Ängelby is a Swedish thriller also set in a remote town but this time with a supernatural angle. Or is it?

Then there was Dark which, although voiced in English, is set in a German town. Once again our intrepid cast are in the midst of a mystery for the ages.

Our latest series is Disparue (The Disappearance). Once again from the French 2 network and in French with English subtitles. We are once again hooked and I have to say the acting on this one is really drawing me in. Despite having to read subtitles, we really have a feel for the characters as they go through their ordeal.

Next time you’re looking for a new series to watch, check all your TV services for something a little different, and don’t be afraid of subtitles. Of course, if you’re reading this as a resident of mainland Europe, you already know.

That concludes this edition of Echoes. The comments are open, but will be moderated for civility. Alternatively you can hit me up on Twitter, where I go by @zkarj.

Header image sourced from TheTVDB.com.

Categories: Echoes


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *