It was THE SOUND of 2020: every Thursday in London at 8pm there was a huge abstract roaring noise pouring out of the capital’s homes: shouting, whooping, cheering (and some jeering tbf), accompanied by the screaming of babies and the relentless clattering of pans and other household utensils. It was like some weird, ultra-brief stage of the Tour de France, only without bikes or Frenchmen in tiny caps, or George Orwell’s Two Minutes’ Hate, only about thankfulness.
Clap for Our Carers, the brainchild of Dutch yoga teacher and Streatham resident Annemarie Plas, was a galvanising weekly moment of togetherness showing Londoners’ solidarity with frontline staff from the emergency services, healthcare workers and others putting their lives on the line during the first spike of the pandemic.
A lot of people were sad when it stopped last autumn. The more far-sighted maybe thought it was slightly premature to suggest that the NHS had done its bit and we wouldn’t be having to thank them en masse again any time soon. Hey ho.
Well, whaddaya know? Clap for Our Carers is back, only this time it’s been rebranded as Clap for Heroes, and is intended to also salute anyone who’s life has been disrupted by the pandemic, including key workers, the NHS, parents and people shielding. It will kick off this Thursday (January 7) at the traditional 8pm. Plas told the Evening Standard: ‘I was waiting to start it up for the anniversary in March but life is full of surprises and we entered another lockdown on Monday. We want to include all the heroes of the NHS who work tirelessly round the clock and all the jobs around that. The heroes include parents with children who have had their schools closed after one day and will now have to juggle work with childcare.’
Unsurprisingly, given the general mood right now, the resurrection has already been branded ‘irresponsible’ in encouraging people to go outside and mingle (if ‘unprecedented’ was the snore word of 2020, ‘irresponsible’ looks set to become this year’s). Twitter users have been quick to say how much they’re not into the idea this time round, suggesting a pay rise might be a better way to say thanks to key workers and NHS staff. Plus it’s bloody freezing out.