Tom Cruise’s verbal missile on distancing is a festive message to remember

Actor Tom Cruise walks the red carpet at the premiere of his new film "Edge of Tomorrow" in Toronto

Tom Cruise who this week stressed the importance of social distancing while making his new movie - Credit: AP

A four-letter tirade of abuse is never acceptable. Foul language devalues any argument.
It demonstrates a lack of control and frustration. However, language apart, this week’s much-listened to audio recording of 58-year-old actor Tom Cruise’s verbal attack on crew members ignoring strict social distancing rules on the latest set of Mission: Impossible 7 is kind of understandable.
He saw red and exploded at blatant contravention of distancing rules put in place as part of a complex carefully thought out set rigorous measures to allow filming to resume and bring people back to work.
His words summed up what most of us think when they see people selfishly ignoring rules, denying the existence of Covid and taking no precautions to protect others.
Threatening to fire anyone who didn’t social distance, Cruise yelled: “No apologies. You can tell it to the people that are losing their f****** homes because our industry is shut down. It’s not going to put food on their table or pay for their college education.”
Remember, this is a world of freelancers reliant on contracts.
There is no safety net of furlough. A precarious industry, but one that provides livings for families worldwide.
Cruise spotted crew members standing close by a computer screen in the UK at Leavesden studios. The film had been delayed by shutdowns.
If it had to shut down again, because of human negligence or stupidity, that one close contact would not just have cost millions, it would cost real people and families jobs and homes.
You get where he was coming from, and it was a good place.
We all want this nightmare to end and normality to resume. Refusing to follow rules, ‘bending them’ or being careless can start a catastrophic sequence of events.
It only takes one person.
We’ve all muttered about people not following rules.
Cruise said what most of us would want to say in the same situation, but a bit less colourfully.
And that brings me to Christmas. Because we can mix three households, doesn’t mean that we should. All those people all using the loo, crammed together in central heating, touching each other and breathing in exhaled particles.
Germany has capped festive gatherings at four, as should the UK.
We’re on the home straight. To throw caution to the wind for a few days will heap more misery on next year.
People are dying without touching or even seeing loved ones for weeks, even months. Insisting on Christmas feels outrageously selfish.
Covid’s rampage has to be stopped. Only this week, it was revealed the number of people made redundant in the UK soared to a record high in October with 370,000 redundancies in the three months to October, the most since records began in 1992.
With that figure in mind, Cruise’s words were kind of understandable.
Everywhere, small businesses, pubs and cafes, are thinking creatively to get around Covid risks sensibly, within the rules, to keep their businesses going and people in work.
Thinking differently to deliver something effectively has been spectacularly successful for so many this winter.
Scandinavia is inspiring dining outside, with tented areas, decked with fairy lights, heaters, and blankets and throws over chairs
Catering geniuses just need a solution to keeping the food warm at minus 2.
And families are looking beyond the sitting room to be together, using gardens normally neglected and ignored after October.
Someone told me this week that on Christmas Eve, rather than the village church Christingle service her family had attended for 40 years, she was creating a homemade service for her grandchildren in her garden.
Tradition goes on despite a pandemic, making new memories and refusing to be defeated.
I love how people are going to extra effort with outdoors lights this year, and the idea of children gathering on doorsteps with jingle bells at 6pm on Christmas Eve feels magical as well as a gloriously defiant sending a big V gesture to Covid and its 2020 limitations.
And the determination and dedication of theatres to deliver pantomime to children has been astounding.
Pantos have taken to virtual streaming, which has made the experience more inclusive by opening the joy of panto to children who might never have seen a panto because families couldn’t afford theatre ticket prices.
More than 185,000 children across the UK have enjoyed a live-streamed version of Rapunzel, the lockdown panto being staged with social distancing at Sheringham Little Theatre and St George’s Theatre in Great Yarmouth.
How else would Norfolk have been able to make such an impact on children far and wide? So simple, yet so effective.
And that feels like a suitable motto to mark the end of the year – simple yet effective.
This Christmas will be about less than more, and realising that less is in fact, in many cases, more.
Less buying frenzy and more time together, less dashing 
around and more time counting blessings and gratitude for what we have rather than what we don’t, less thinking of ourselves and, thinking of what others have lost.
I was hoping a Covid victim would be the me-me-me society. We’ll see after Christmas.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter