CROWD envy, Christmas and why the show simply must go on were the Covid-related topics discussed by columnists and contributors in the newspapers.

The Guardian

Dan Hancox said images of a sell-out crowd of nearly 50,000 unmasked fans watching the Queensland Maroons beat the New South Wales Blues on Wednesday night looked as ‘if [they were] beamed in via satellite from an alternative reality.’

“For many of us, this disorientation is mixed with a deep envy – a longing for the multi-sensorial assault of crowd participation and a desire to explode like coiled springs from our months of social isolation and distancing,” he said. “People have missed far more important things than football matches during the pandemic – births, marriages and deaths, chief among them – but there is a poignancy to the absence of crowds of strangers from our lives, all the same.”

He said many people feared and loved crowds at the best of times, with them triggering everything from mild anxiety to agoraphobia and PTSD.

“It’s worth considering why, in the spring and summer of 2020, tens of thousands of people across the country chose to join crowds – mostly at protests, but also illegal raves and block parties – despite all the dangers of a fatal pandemic,” he added. “For that matter, why do people join crowds even in normal times?”

He said the pull of the crowd was to be subsumed in something bigger than ourselves.

“It is something fundamental about what it is to be human. The innate instinct for crowd participation is like a muscle we haven’t been able to exercise – but one that is there all the same, and will never waste away.”

The Daily Mail

Jan Moir said the burning question of the week was is it too early to put Christmas decorations up?

“It may buck tradition, it may go against the festive grain, but surely the sooner we get our halls decked with spirit-raising holly and ivy, the better it will be for everyone?,” she said. “Early-onset decorating is an act of defiance this year, a howl against the restrictive encroachments and the worries of 2020. So yes, get your jingle on, why wait?”

She said celebrities were quick to get in on the act, with Dame Joan Collins posting a photo of her tree on Instagram, and Jane Fonda and Martha Stewart joining the festive fun.

“Actress January Jones has posted a selfie posing by her Christmas tree, holding a giant Santa doll and wearing reindeer slippers. ‘Judge away,’ she declared, adding her decorations were done on, gasp, November 1,” she said. “In a normal year it would be far too early. Premature baubling and the flagrant display of untimely tinsel is simply not done in the nation’s best streets and avenues.”

However, this has been far from a normal year, she added.

“While we cannot control what happens outside our homes over this festive season, we can command operations inside, where home and hearth have become more important than ever.

“And what is going on inside mine is going to be fairy lights visible from outer space and three trees at least. Parp, parp, woman with baubles coming though. Don’t try to stop me.”

The Daily Express

Harvey Goldsmith, concert producer, said Britain led the world in staging events and creating experiences, part of an £84bn industry of which we can be proud.

“We give people pleasure, we keep them in jobs and we generate tax revenue,” he said. “But we were the first to close in March and we will be the last to reopen. The events industry has had no business for almost a year and no income. “

In his 50 years in the business, he said, nothing compared to this.

“Income has dropped by 95 percent for technical suppliers, 87 percent for ticketing companies, 78 percent for venues,” he said. “Across the industry it’s the same story.”

He said the way it had been treated as appalling.

“One Industry Once Voice is a coalition of businesses and trade associations who all want the same thing: a road map from government to allow us to plan for the return of live events,” he said. “We want to set a target date, with clear protocols in place and for public health officials to evaluate what we are doing and tell us it is acceptable. It is not a big ask. We know we have been missed, we know there is pentup demand - we need to start planning now. Give us the tools to get back to work.”