Beat coronavirus boredom by punching someone in the face

Being stuck at home is a real bummer if you enjoy a good brawl.

Beat coronavirus boredom by punching someone in the face

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.

We all miss things during lockdown. Maybe it’s a drink with friends, a meal with grandma or the simple joys of punching someone in the face.

Alas, one man in northern France was denied hearing the satisfying crunch of knuckle on cheekbone when he was fined by police while waiting to “smash a guy’s face in.”

The man had reportedly correctly filled in the declaration that everyone in France must complete before heading out during coronavirus lockdown — adding his name, address and the time he left his home in Lannion, Brittany. Alas, he didn’t write that he was going shopping, visiting the doctor, traveling to work or exercising within 1 kilometer of his home, which are all allowed, but instead wrote “aller péter la gueule à un mec,” which isn’t on the list of valid reasons for going out.

At least the frustrated pugilist was on his own, which wasn’t the case when police broke up a massive party in Joinville-le-Pont, on the outskirts of Paris, earlier this month. Officers arrived to discover more than 300 people partying, with around a third of them involved in a massive brawl involving the brandishing of broken bottles, according to the local mayor. Maybe they were using the bottles because it’s a safer option than physical contact these days?

Fighting on a much smaller scale broke out this month in the northwestern English town of Widnes, with footage showing two women beating the holy crap out of each other in the street. The argument stemmed from an illegal children’s party held a day earlier.

“We don’t want to stop anyone from enjoying themselves,” local police said, hopefully referring to the party and not the punches to the head.

Of course, there are many people who reckon the virus is all a giant conspiracy and they should be allowed to party. These people are idiots of the highest order, but has anyone else wondered if leaders are enjoying keeping us all at home so they can get massive TV ratings? Some 29 million people watched French President Emmanuel Macron give his update on the rules on Tuesday evening.

That still fell short of Macron’s own record of 35 million for an April TV address in which he admitted authorities hadn’t handled the pandemic as well as they should have. That’s more people than watched the 1998 World Cup final when France beat Brazil in the Stade de France!

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Can you do better? Email pdallison@politico.eu or on Twitter @pdallisonesque

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Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag (there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).

“Maybe one of you wants to buy Russian COVID-19 vaccine? I personally recommend.” by Vincentas Vedeckis.

Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.