14 August 2023
Recording of the week: 40 Days and 40 Nights
Three years ago the UK was emerging from the first of its three national lockdowns, imposed by the government in an effort to curtail the spread of Covid-19. In March 2020, BBC Radio 4’s PM programme launched Covid Chronicles, inviting listeners to submit accounts of their lockdown and pandemic experiences. Some of these submissions were broadcast on the programme, and the full collection has found a home at the British Library.
One of these submissions – ’40 Days and 40 Nights’ by Becky Clayton – is a humorous creative story, exploring the negative and positive effects of the lockdown from the perspective of a narrator in conversation with her housemate, Satan. Whilst Satan gleefully describes the chaos and destruction wrought by the pandemic, the narrator argues that a lot of good has come out of the lockdowns too, much to Satan’s annoyance.
Content warning: this audio clip contains strong language and adult themes.
Becky Clayton submitted this recording to BBC Radio 4 for the PM programme’s Covid Chronicles segment. The full Covid Chronicles collection will be available at the British Library later in 2023.
Becky’s story features as a collection item on the British Library’s Covid stories web resource. The resource offers insights into the Covid-19 pandemic from a multitude of perspectives, as documented in the many Covid collections now archived at the British Library. The resource features eight articles on a range of topics, from the experiences of NHS staff and patients to the impact of the pandemic on young people and communities. Becky’s creative story features in the article ‘Creative responses to the Covid-19 pandemic’, authored by Dr Ernesto Priego.
This week’s selection comes from Madeline White, Curator of Oral History.