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The vital human need for social life

Blog | By Harry Mount | Apr 02, 2020

The closed Phoenix pub, Cavendish Square, London (Credit: Harry Mount)

The late Stephen Spender, the poet, once told me his ideal day was "To spend the day on my own, writing, and have something to look forward to in the evening."

However much we may like our own company, the self-isolation brought on by the coronavirus crisis shows how crucial that something to look forward to in the evening is. Those evenings in the pub; the apparently pointless drinks parties; the seemingly agonising dinner parties. They all seemed so frivolous.

But, once they're taken away, as they have been, you see how vital to human existence encounters with our fellow humans are. Yes, thank God, people are isolating with those they are closest to – their families. But humans need to interact with their larger tribe - if only to give them something to talk about and, at our worst, rejoice in gossip, not always kind, about our fellow tribesmen.

Once this miserable time is over, bring on the awkward dinner parties!