Tony Parsons started his career as a journalist at the NME before becoming a newspaper columnist.
He’s since become a best-selling crime author and his new book, Your Neighbour’s Wife, is out now.
Currently stuck in lockdown like the rest of us, he’s enjoying dog walks, experimenting with at-home workouts and being a ‘lonely wolf’.
What is your daily lockdown routine like?
It’s very regimented. I get up at 7am, walk the dog, get a takeaway coffee, come home, have breakfast, work through to the afternoon, then I do some admin, exercise and have dinner.
I’ve been freelancing since 1979 so I’ve had to be disciplined or I don’t pay the bills — but before lockdown there’d be more distractions. I’d go to the gym, go on overseas work trips and a couple of holidays a year.
Sitting around in your jimjams isn’t conducive to productivity. Some people are working at 80 per cent and it shows — all these excuses from big firms about ‘it will take longer to get back to you than usual.’ Why? There’s a lot of Covid complacency around.
How has your working week changed?
I’d normally do foreign tours to promote the new book — that isn’t happening. I worked on Your Neighbour’s Wife unbroken for a year due to lockdowns. Distractions like dinner with friends have ended. I’ve embraced the discipline.
Have you been going for your daily permitted walk?
I’ve been walking the dog and I’ve started doing 30 minutes of exercise with weights at home every day. I’ve never done weights before.
My exercise has been built around boxing for 15 years. I’ve stuck to it every day. I’ve never really exercised at home before, as the gym was enough for me.
Have you taken up baking or any other lockdown trends?
The only trend I’ve taken up is remote working. I did Good Morning Britain from home recently when before I would have gone into the studio. It feels like a normal way to work now.
Has social isolation given you any new insights into your personality?
I’m an only child, I spent a lot of time alone as a kid and I’ve been freelance since I left the NME in 1979 but I’ve been surprised I’ve craved company as much as I have. I think of myself as a lone wolf, but I’m also a lonely wolf.
I miss big parties, regular dinners, just sitting down and laughing with my friends.
Which ‘non-essential’ activity do you miss most?
The gym. My mental health deteriorates without it and I’m not the happy, optimistic soul I usually am when I don’t train with my trainer. I’ve put on a couple of kilos.
The gym makes me sleep better, makes me less anxious and more optimistic. After a month without seeing my trainer I feel like I’m physically declining. I love coming out of the gym with the endorphins kicking in.
Will Covid change society?
Yes — we’ve learned to count our blessings. So few of us have experienced war and real sacrifice and deprivation.
This is the first time we’ve felt our lives have been tossed and turned by great global events. If you were born after 1945 in this country you wouldn’t have felt like that before.
After this, people will really appreciate being able to go to school or on a foreign holiday. We’ll learn to appreciate things we’ve taken for granted.
Are you confident the Government knows what it’s doing with Covid?
The great test will be vaccination. They’ve been given this great gift by the scientific community; they’ve done their bit and come up with something that was considered impossible to do so soon, so we’ll see what happens.
The Government has made mistakes — people are flying into Heathrow without restrictions. If they fall short of two million vaccinations a week, they won’t be forgiven.
My Lockdown Survival Kit
- My dog Stan — he’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
- My Fender Telecaster — I’ve been playing it every day and I’m up to Eric Clapton level.
- My books — I’ve been re-reading John le Carré again. It is incredibly comforting.
- My weights for exercise.
- My iMac for listening to music — I’ve been listening to things I’m learning on the guitar. I’ve been trying to perfect Highway To Hell by AC/DC.
Tony Parsons’ new crime thriller, Your Neighbour’s Wife, is out now.
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