Why Are We Always Indoors? (…unless we’re off to Barnard Castle) is a personal chronicle of the strangest football close season in modern history.
In March 2020, former Match of the Day editor and author of Why Are We Always on Last? Paul Armstrong embarked on a journal of London lockdown life against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. This riveting diary spans the 105 days between the shutdown of MOTD’s Premier League highlights and their return to the TV schedule in June.
Musings and anecdotes about sport, TV, music and life under lockdown become increasingly overshadowed by the mounting tragedy, and Paul’s despair and anger at how the crisis is being handled at the highest level. His views and observations are informed by a lifetime of studying and following politics along with a network of contacts from television and sport, and in various other affected walks of life. Why Are We Always Indoors? is a first-hand account of a slice of living history, conveyed with dark humour and a sense of urgency and immediacy.
Why Are We Always Indoors? provides a compelling and thought-provoking insight into life during these strange and difficult times. Anyone fancying a read of the publication is promised a first-hand, unflinchingly honest and darkly humorous account of the coronavirus lockdown in London through the eyes of Match of the Day’s former editor as well as birds, biking and rock ‘n’ roll, lockdown-style – that is, feeding goldfinches, half an hour on the new exercise bike and searching for the perfect lockdown playlist and guitar repertoire.
The book also contains how Paul filled the void with a new set of sports: side-stepping the coughing joggers, the TV box-set marathons, dropping the baton in the regular Zoom cross-country relay, being blocked by Peter Shilton (unlike Maradona and all German penalty-takers) and bemoaning the government’s own goals while kicking their messaging into touch.
And a document that is one for future generations to look back upon this strange time, a live social history, chronicled in real-time, of a still-unfolding global event that will be discussed and dissected for years to come.
Paul Armstrong edited the BBC’s flagship Match of the Day programme for 15 years, having previously worked across BBC Sport’s programming and in other areas of television. This is his second book. His first, a memoir entitled Why Are We Always on Last? was published by Pitch Publishing in 2019. He lives in London with his wife, Amanda, who is also originally from Stockton-on-Tees.