In a conscious effort to prove late Saturday evening’s needn’t be boring on Planet COVID, after watching a dramatic Huddersfield Giants v Warrington Wolves rugby league game, I watched a Sky Arts documentary about Dante’s Inferno…… And, yes I’m being facetious!

This feature telling of Dante Alighieri’s 14th century poetic narrative, mainly concentrating on prose relating to the poet’s interpretations of hell. The piece including brilliantly shot, but understandably stark, montages of the film director and artist’s interpretations of the Florence born writer’s epiphanies. Many shot in monochrome to enhance the dark and macabre redolence of the subject matter.

That being said, the documentary didn’t contain anything as remotely scary as Ben Murdoch-Masila’s third minute tackle on Matty English in the Giants v Wolves game. Warrington’s 120kg wrecking ball challenging the young Giants forward so robustly it resulted in a ten minute game stoppage, while English was revived on the pitch. A time where, as he lay prostrate, I’m sure I witnessed cartoon-like birds flying in circles around the youngsters dazed bonce.

The Sky Arts production (that’s the Dante documentary, not the rugby league game) going on to relay the nine circles of gradually worsening torture of the damned, whilst venturing deeper into the underworld. Those spheres of damnation translated into English as:- Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery.

Prior to continuing, I’d like to clarify the nine elements broached in the last sentence were Dante’s vision of hell, not a typical pre-pandemic Saturday night out in Wakefield…… Although, coming to think of it!!

If truth be told, I concur with eight of Dante’s suggested darkly poetic rings, however I’m at a loss at the inclusion of Limbo. There’s obviously the jeopardy of flashing one’s genitals while partaking in the Trinidadian dance, which challenges contestants abilities to navigate under a low bar. However, it seems inequitable in severity when compared to the other eight significantly worse human traits.

Limbo – It’s not that evil!…… Is it?!

While viewing Dante’s thoughts on the underworld, which medieval theologians proffered was made up of Hell of the Damned, Purgatory, Limbo of Patriarchs, and Limbo of Infants,, I mulled over how a contemporary view of hell may evolve. 

Thoughts playing out with the following mischievous notions of how an updated Dante’s Inferno on Planet COVID may look:-

  1. Face Masks – The unwanted enforced wearing of a face mask in Tescos gluten-free aisle…… Or, indeed, any aisle.
  2. Glass Bottle Disposal – The dilemma of disposing of lockdown wine bottles without neighbours posting Alcoholics Anonymous leaflets through your letterbox. Due to similar alcohol indiscipline from fellow lockdown revellers, a task hindered by difficulty in locating empty bottle banks.
  3. Failure to Celebrate Success – Watching the success of a sporting amour and not being able to celebrate ‘properly’ due to social distancing.
  4. Muddled Leadership – Witnessing the blatant leadership untruths, governmental mixed messages and callous nature in which the pandemic’s been addressed by the hierarchy of some nations.
  5. Diminished Hygiene – Wearing the same clothes for a week, growing scruffy beard (even the women) and now utilising the shower cubicle as storage space for stockpiled toilet rolls. A dilemma heightened on the occasions deodorant’s unable to mask the stench!
  6. COVidiots – The worldwide self-centred, who, through their selfish behaviour and dismal of social distancing edicts, have in some cases contributed to the manslaughter of many thousands of fellow citizens.
  7. Sight Loss – A curse of spectacle wearers who experience lens condensation when adorning face masks, rendering victims sporadically sightless. A inconvenience resulting in my recent inadvertent drive to Barnard Castle with impaired sight.
  8. Despair – The feeling hundreds of thousands of family members have felt at the loss of loved ones to this insipid, indiscriminate pathogen. Grief significantly worsened by the fact they’re unable to afford the deceased a dignified goodbye and sendoff. 
  9. Dominic Cummings