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The Handwash Juke Box

posted 26 Nov 2020, 06:24 by Fran Brady   [ updated 26 Nov 2020, 06:37 ]

At the start of the Coronavirus Crisis, we were advised to sing two rounds of Happy Birthday as we washed our hands, to ensure that we kept at it for the mandatory twenty seconds. After a few days and some twenty-five rounds of Happy Birthday, I was losing the will, if not to live, then at least to celebrate anyone’s birthday ever again.

I googled ‘twenty-second hand-washing songs’ and was instantly presented with three pages of possibilities, along with YouTube videos to play whilst carrying out the mandatory process. 

 It surely cannot be long before public conveniences are fitted with the modern equivalent of the old juke box. You will be able to select your twenty-second burst of song before you begin your ablutions.

You might walk five hundred miles to Africa or prefer to trust in the wheels on the bus

You might ask sweet Caroline: ‘what’s love gotta do with It?’ 

Any dream will do but, please, wake me up before you go (go)

In the circle of life, we know that spoonful of sugar can make all the difference to stayin’ alive

For Jolene, Jolene,  it’s a hard knock life when Mamma Mia tells her to beat it

We are a cosmopolitan country and the very flower of Scotland will happily consume a slab of an       American pie and do a reel to a Bohemian rhapsody, demonstrating our karma chameleon credentials


There has been a lot of talk about the good that can come out of the surreal experience we are living through. There was undoubtedly an upsurge in true community care, as people instinctively started caring about housebound, locked-down people, especially those living alone, elderly and/or vulnerable. Children drew rainbows to cheer us all up; millions turned out weekly on their streets to applaud our frontline workers in hospitals and care homes. On our daily permitted-exercise walks, we smiled across the two-metre gap at each other, wry smiles that said ‘we’re all in it together’; and we shared jokes about our dogs not keeping social distancing rules. The birds sang louder, the grass was greener, the rivers were cleaner. There was a kinder feel to the world.


For churches, there has been the encouragement that their buildings might be closed but their churches certainly were not. In times of threat and fear - like war, like pandemics - people remember that we are all spiritual beings, and many look for some spiritual input into their lives. Big city-centre churches have recorded thousands of ‘hits’ for their online Sunday services, and even my own village church recorded six hundred on Easter Sunday. Christmas will probably top these figures.


In spite of the doom and gloom around the economy, and the heartbreak of lives lost and people dying alone in hospital while loved ones grieve alone at home, there are some positives. Will the introduction of a Handwash Juke Boxin every public toilet be one?