Audience shots #28: It was a dark and stormy year…

The clocks went back, the lockdowns got strict and the wet weather arrived — how have we reacted?

The Beyond Collective
3 min readNov 4, 2020


October 2020, you were a real treat. As if your soaring R rate and new lockdown measures weren’t enough, you decided to send us into November with a week of rain followed by a storm so severe it got its own name.

Greenwich Misery Time

Here in the UK the clocks went back. Usually this only irritates parents whose kids’ precarious sleep routines go out the window and pet owners whose animals can’t understand why dinner is an hour late.

This year, however, you could barely move for tweets complaining that the last thing 2020 needs is an extra hour. Even an airport was upset.

No matter how miserable things get, someone is going to sell something off the back of it. So what are we buying?

There were only a couple of minutes fewer daylight on Monday compared to Sunday but the prospect of a long, hard winter has got more of us worried about the impact of dark days on mood and borrowing one of the treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder — light therapy.

Climate control for the garden

It also looks like a good time to be in the outdoor heating business. Here’s the Google Trends stats for the past five years.

Not surprising, given that the way things look now the only way some restaurants and pubs will be able to stay open is if they have seating outside. But there are a lot more people wanting to heat their personal gardens this year — even primary schools are getting in on the act.

Retailers all over the country reported selling out of patio heaters in October while The Guardian helpfully advised readers about the most climate-change friendly ways to warm up an infinitely large, cold space.

As a nation we’ve also hit a five-year high in our interest in waterproof shoes. Oh the glamour.

The clocks go back, the heating goes on

It wasn’t just about staying warm and dry outside though. There was that momentous autumnal moment — the Switching On Of The Heating.

And once those waterproof shoes were off? Well let’s just say that a pair of slippers isn’t just for Christmas anymore.

And October had one last treat — French fashion house Balenciaga taking humanity’s most comfortable form of footwear and sticking a heel on it.

Message to November: honestly, there’s no obligation to attempt to outdo your predecessors.



The Beyond Collective

Bite-sized people observations from The Beyond Collective, the independent creative group for the Audience Age